How to Generate A Sticky Story Your Audience Will Love

What do you think is the most important element of your pitch?

After listening to thousands of pitches I can tell you that a “sticky story,” not just a story, but one I can easily remember. When you pitch someone it’s an opportunity to spread the word about your film to all their friends, right?

Yes, but only if they can remember it. “Made to Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath says that “too often you are cursed with too much knowledge.” Bringing that wealth of info into a simple sticky story is the key to the perfect pitch.

sticky story

Generate A Sticky Story Your Audience Will Love

A “sticky story” is one where you take all the knowledge you have on your film and transform it into a simple story, one that is easy to remember. The first rule is to keep it simple, find the core of the idea. You may have paragraphs of info; keep taking things away till you can’t take anything else out or you lose the essence.

Find the core.

Think of journalists who create lead copy for articles and you get the story in a few words, they prioritize. So can you.

This sticky story needs something unexpected; this is to be sure you get their attention.

You might ask a question that the film needs to answer. It can be a surprise like a shocking fact or a point of interest they will remember or a massive change in direction for the film.

You need something concrete, like specific people doing specific things or give them some facts. Concrete ideas are easy for people to remember and they create a foundation.

Credible information makes people believe your story. This can be a place for truthful core details and please make them as vivid as possible. We need to see your film from the pitch.

Emotion is next.

I say, “touch my heart and I reach for my pocket book.”

We communicate through the heart chakra, so touch me with your story.

You can do this through one of your characters, let me feel them.

When you pitch me your “sticky story,” I want to walk away with your film in my mind forever.

Then I can tell my friends that I invested or donated to your film and brag about it.

Remember, you have carried this sticky story for several years and your audience is just hearing about it. That’s why brevity and a sticky story are needed to transmit your knowledge.

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Carole Lee Dean is an industry legend. As an entrepreneur, producer and supporter of independent film, her influence has had a positive impact on filmmaking around the world. Most notoriously, 30 years ago, Carole took a $20 bill and created the $50 million a year short end industry. Check out Carole Dean’s upcoming event >> Intentional Filmmaking



  1. says

    Thank you, Carole Dean! Your article helped resolve my thoughts into what screenplay I need to write & film next for my Ghost Walk Saga series of films. My co-producer and I filmed one movie in 2012 to critical review and attempted a second in 2013 with disastrous results, so I am now planning to write the “sticky story” that will both benefit our work and be well received by the viewer.

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