When comes time to pitch your film idea, most industry pros agree you’ll need a killer script, a realistic budget, and a cast and crew that fits the project. In fact, these are all elements that you deal with before you’re in front of a prospective investor. But what happens when you actually get face to face with someone who can write you a check?
Picture this! Let’s say it’s 2 a.m. and you’re at a bar or a dance club. You’ve had some drinks and it’s the end of the night, so you’re tired. As you slowly make your way to pay your tab, you find yourself standing next to a guy who’s dressed to the nines. You strike up a conversation and he tells you he’s a commercial real estate developer and he’s worth $40 million.
How To Pitch Your Film Idea To Investors Like A Total Boss
Then he asks you what you do and you tell him you’re a ﬁlmmaker. He asks, “What are you working on?” Are you ready to pitch your film idea? Can you seamlessly ﬂow? Are you able to shake off the effects of the alcohol and tiredness and start selling this guy on why he should give you $1 million of his hard-earned $40 million fortune? You have to be. There are no second chances.
I know my pitch so well, that someone can wake me up at 3 a.m. demanding: “Pitch your film idea!” And I could take a deep breath and pitch. Your pitch has to be second nature. It must be natural and easy. Your pitch gets you paid, and it gets your film made. It’s the gift you give an investor.
You never know where or when you’re going to meet the person who will invest in your movie. Maybe you’re standing in line at the airport. Or you’re sitting in a dentist’s ofﬁce. You may be waiting for your car to get ﬁxed. You have to be armed with your pitch at all times. Salespeople have a term, “ABC: Always Be Closing.” I use the term “ABP: Always Be Pitching.”
The Pitch Is Your Friend
I had one investor who was a heavy drinker. He liked to call me up at 11 p.m. and ask me to come over to his house. One time I was in bed, ready to go to sleep. He sent me a text asking me to come over and talk about the film. I got up, got dressed, and got ready. When I got to his house, we started doing shots.
After about the third shot, he asked me to start talking about the ﬁlm, and that’s exactly what I did. You see, I take this business very seriously. I’ve seen many weak producers just get trashed and lose sight of the prize. I never do. When I’m pitching a ﬁlm, I could have thirty shots! (Okay, that is an exaggeration…) But I know that making films is what feeds my family and pays for my house. So I took a deep breath, and I started the pitch. I got a verbal commitment for several million dollars that night.
Your excitement is the most crucial element of your pitch. Think about it. You’re asking this person to give you his or her hard-earned money. Do you think you’ll get what you want if you’re just ﬂat when you talk about your ﬁlm? How about if you say something like the following:
“Yeah, well I’ve got this ﬁlm going and it could be pretty good. We think we’ll get a nice cast and maybe make a little bit of money.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I would invest in that project. I don’t want to be associated with a film that’s “pretty good” and will make a “little bit” of money. So let’s change it. How about this:
“We have this amazing ﬁlm going… it’s so exciting! This ﬁlm could turn out to be the next Saw! We’re gonna get a topnotch cast and crew and it’s going to be awesome!”
The Most Important Element Of Your Film Idea
Okay, now I’m listening! This ﬁlm is “amazing, exciting, awesome” and could turn out to be the next Saw! Wow!
Now here’s the thing: Those two pitches you just read might be for the same exact movie! It’s just that the ﬁrst was given by someone who wasn’t excited, and the second by someone who was. You have to believe in yourself and get excited and passionate in order to sell! There’s no better lesson I can impart to you.
It’s tough to deﬁne exactly what needs to be included with your pitch, because there are so many variables. What is your film about? Have similar ﬁlms made money? Who is starring in it? Who’s directing? You’ll have covered all of this extensively in the business plan. And if you liked this article, check out the Bankroll Film Funding Training.