Pitching film projects, in itself, an art form. I have taught entire seminars on pitching and there is always room for improvement. The pitch may be the only chance you get to talk to your HNI (High Net worth Individual) and try to get your prospective investor excited about your film project.
While I can’t guarantee your film will get funded, I will say that if you do make any one of the following mistakes (or all of them, yikes!), your chances of making your dream come true are slim to none.
The Top 3 Mistakes Filmmakers Make When Pitching Film Projects
Based on my own real world experience, here the top 3 mistakes people make when pitching film projects. Avoid these at all costs!
1) Not Knowing Your Investor: If you go in to a pitch and have no idea about the person you’re pitching, you’ll be dead in the water unless you can make adjustments and LISTEN during your pitch. So you will want to do your homework.
What kind of project is he or she looking for? How much money are they worth? How much do they want to invest? These are all questions that you need to either know going into the meeting, or find out as you’re doing your pitch. This means, if you are pitching an investor on a romantic comedy and all he or she wants to make is horror movies, it could be the best romantic comedy pitch of all time, but you’re most likely not going to get funded.
Additionally, if you go into a pitch asking for $2 million, but the prospective investor is only worth $4 million you’re going to have a problem! Asking someone to give you 50% of their net worth is not reasonable. And this can also go the other way. If the person is worth $500 million, and you’re pitching a $50k picture, do you think that’s the investment he or she is looking for? They may want to do something as a lark, but they’re will not consider your project a serious way to potentially generate income.
2) Your Project Sucks: Prepping your project is more important than anything else. If you get in front of an HNI and your project is not ready, that’s most likely the last time you will ever be in front of that person. So many people come up to me and ask, “Where do I find investors?” I reply, “Tell me about your film project.” Then they proceed to tell me about their project with a weak pitch, and an unprepared idea, business plan, script, or plan of attack. I then tell that person, “If I found you an investor for your project, I can guarantee you that you would not see that investor more than once.”
I cannot stress how important it is to prep your project. If you start pitching film projects unprepared, you’re not going to get another meeting. Rich people have limited time. Do you think they have time for you to work out your mistakes? No chance.
3) Low Energy: I mentioned the classes and seminars I’ve taught on pitching film projects. In those classes, I have people come up and pitch their projects. Rating the energy and excitement level of each pitch from 1 to 10 (10 being the strongest), most people were pitching me with about a 3 or under. Do you really think the investor is going to pick up your excitement if you go in there with a 3? No way! When it comes to pitching film projects, your energy needs to be an 8 or above!
If you follow the right steps and prep your project correctly, you WILL be excited and you WILL have energy, because you will change your mindset from asking for money to offering a opportunity. And if you’d like more info on finding the money, check out the film finance guide.
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Tom Malloy is an indie film producer. Through the years, he has raised over 25M to fund projects.