The quickest way to initially convey the feeling of your film, such as the tone, style and atmosphere, is to compare your idea to previously made recognisable films. You may have heard filmmakers say, “it’s X meets X”, For example, it’s E.T. meets The Goonies, or it’s The Thing meets Halloween. This should only take up a few seconds of your time though, as a cheat to paint a tonal reference in the listeners mind. You don’t want to dwell on comparisons for long as it’s important you utilize the time to pitch your own unique idea.
A Clear Logline
A logline is a one sentence summary of the entire movie, that informs the audience on the concept, character and general story arc. For example, The BFG’s logline is ‘An orphan befriends a benevolent giant who takes her to Giant Country, where they attempt to stop the man-eating giants that are invading the human world’. It’s the best way to begin pitching your idea as listeners will instantly be able to understand the type of story you’re pitching. Loglines can be broken down into the following template:
[THE PROTAGONIST] has to [ACTION/JOURNEY] to stop [THE ANTAGONIST/THREAT] after [INCITING INCIDENT].
You can also re-arrange/remove any of the elements within the template depending on what suits your story best!
Extended Short Synopsis
Now that you’ve skimmed over the main idea, it’s important to expand upon it in a clear and concise manner to show that your narrative has depth. It’s important to still keep this brief – aim for 4-6 sentences. Practice covering the entire essential skeleton of your story, from the inciting incident all the way to the climax. Don’t be shy about divulging the ending! Showing them that you have a gripping third act will drastically strengthen their belief in the story.
The Protagonist and The Antagonist
Now that you’ve got them hooked with the concept, it’s time to dig slightly deeper into your protagonist. What makes them new, different, or special? And why is it important for the story to be told through their perspective? The BFG is told from Sophie’s perspective because she develops a relationship with an unlikely father-like figure in whom she should fear, after escaping the horrors of her real world. This reflects the main theme of not judging people based on their appearance.
If your story features an antagonist, expand upon why they are vital for your story, what makes them truly evil and the stakes the protagonist faces because of them.
The Theme & Why It’s Relevant
To wrap it up, it’s a good idea to summarise the film’s main themes and give them an idea as to why audiences will connect with it. You should also tell them why the idea is relevant – does the story explore a current issue? Is there a strong market for this type of film? Why does the world need to see this film?
Be interesting, memorable, succinct, and EXCITED about your film! Practice your pitch and tell it in a passionate, energetic way. The listener should leave wanting more. By the end of your pitch, they should be asking you for your treatment or the script.
For some creatives, “selling” can be tough, but practice makes perfect – own your abilities, and make the listener believe in your story in the same way that you do. You got this – good luck!
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