If you work in the film industry join the Cinema Jam community Click here!

Categories: Features

Melissa Johanson, business consultant and producer, talks to us about perfecting your film pitch in five easy steps while avoiding classic mistakes.

In an ideal world, everyone who had an idea would be able to realise their dream without help or hindrance. Unfortunately this is not the case in film or many other industries. For most movies to get off the ground, you first need to share your idea.

This sharing, better known as ‘pitching’, is the best way to acquire funding, support and an audience.

So here are five ways to perfect your pitch…


Never wing it!

You must be prepared to pitch your own idea. Never try to make things up on the spot and always have your idea fully developed before even contemplating putting yourself in front of a producer. You really need to understand your concept like you understand the world around you. For the purpose of the pitch, the concept is your world. Know the story backwards. If you are nervous, take cue cards with you. It is better to have something to refer to than stumbling across your words or forgetting important information.


Know who you are pitching to

Research everything you can about the people you are presenting your concept to.

This is an essential part of the preparations. Pay attention to what projects the company has worked on before. The ability to not only deliver your pitch but build rapport is important at this stage. Check out their LinkedIn profile or their social networking profiles to get an idea of their personality. What interests them? What are they talking about at the moment? If the opportunity for chit-chat comes up, use the it to develop common ground. Or, if it is only company data you find, show that you understand what is relevant to the company at present.


Don’t bore anybody

Try and keep your pitch as short as possible. Get it down to under 10 minutes. Only touch on the concept, the characters and the plotline. Don’t go in depth on any of these topics. Less is more when time is money for a busy producer. Your pitch needs to be a summary of your idea but make it interesting for example, highlight interesting character quirks or amusing moments. Draw attention to what it is that makes it stand out from the rest of the films that share its genre.


Leave the attitude at the door

Turn up on time, be polite, and know the difference between being confident about your concept and coming across as arrogant. Never, under any circumstances, criticize the past work of their company.


Finally, practice makes perfect

Practice your pitch until you know it backwards. Keep it natural and speak clearly. Never be in a rush.

Be aware of the time it takes to present as well as making sure that it has an appropriate structure. Practice it in front of mirror, film yourself, force your friends to listen to you and listen to their feedback. They should be able to tell you if they understand the concept, whether they are bored and whether you come across as precious about your idea.

So next time you are preparing to pitch, take on board these hints and really make your idea stand out.


Melissa owns her own business consultancy where she focuses on sales training and consultancy services for start-up businesses and young entrepreneurs. She has also used her invaluable experience in business combined with her passion for film, to present new media concepts to different groups both within the UK and the US including Film 4 and Fox. She is a founding member of new studio Push The Boundaries Productions and is focusing on developing a script for their first major project: MDMAmazing. You can contact Melissa on Twitter via @pushtboundaries.

The Spread

The Spread is the official magazine of London-based film community Cinema Jam. We cover everything film, from movie and product reviews, features, editorials, news updates, interviews, and more. Follow @CinemaJam on Twitter for more updates!

Posted on Jun 6, 2014

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked by *.

Recent Comments

  • Avatar The Green Berets was based off one of the stories from the controversial bo...
  • Avatar everly was a great movie back in 2014. Most of the people rated it as an av...
  • Avatar Salma hayek is a great actress, i cannot forget her perforamance in desper...