This week on the podcast, we had The Pitch Whisperer John Livesay and Peanut Butter Falcon’s producer Aaron Scotti. They shared their tips and tools on how you can become an expert at pitching your film.

Keep it Short and Sweet

John mentioned that it was important to perfect your 90 second elevator pitch. “Can you sum up what’s your movies about in such a way that it intrigues people enough to say, Ooh, I’m interested, tell me more.” In a world where people are short on time, “you’ve got to grab them quick”.

He also believes that it is important to “engage from a place of your own passion, tell the story that you love.” Storytelling is what will sell your movie, not your ‘product dumping’. Aaron weighed in that “whether you’re pitching a movie or a product, if you’re product dumping, people feel it. But if you’re telling a story from your heart, people feel that too.” 

“When they tell you something and leave it there with no expectation, I want to know more.”

John and Aaron’s Tips

John’s first big tip is to “reverse engineer your concept, because someone’s going to have to take what your whole movie is and create a trailer for it.”

“If you think in terms of: What I want the audience to think, feel and do. If they saw the trailer for my movie, what would make it irresistible for them to go watch it? And if you have that in your head already, before the movies even shot one frame, it will really help you craft what kind of story you’re telling.”

He has three checklist questions from filmmakers that he works with. 

  1. What do I want the audience to feel? 
  2. What do I want them to think? 
  3. And what do I want them to do after seeing my movie and/ or trailer, or hearing my pitch.

“I think telling the story for the joy of telling the story is your pitch.” This goes for actors too. If you’re desperate for a pitch or a role, you’re probably not going to get it, “because there’s an energy that people feel.”

“If the person in the room can’t see your vision, don’t force it, go to the next person because they’re just going to water down your movie. If you walk around with that attitude, your movie lands in the right place.”

There is a quote from Arthur Ash “The key to success is confidence. Key to confidence is preparation. And this is what filmmakers can do when they’re talking to potential investors know as much about those people, as you can do your homework.”

The Three Bs

John divides the investors/ buyers into three Bs

“There’s the believer, there’s the builder and there’s the bean counter.”

“The believer is someone when you’re describing your vision, your experience, and they’re like, Oh man, I believe this would be a hit movie. I believe this could make a difference in the world.”

“Then there’s the builder and this kind of investors like. Yeah. But would you be willing to change the location? Or could my, can I make, can I, and be involved in some of this, can I help in casting?”

“And then there’s the bean counter. And most people go, ‘Oh, I don’t like the bean counter.’ Um, you know, the good thing about a bean counter personality is if you speak their language, you can get rapport with them. If that investors in the room, that means there is money that they want to spend.”

Collaborative Conversations

If you’re open to collaborative conversations and suggestions, “it’s like a breath of fresh air for someone who’s got smog all day.”

“Keep things conversational, as opposed to ‘now I’m presenting, now I’m pitching’ and I become a robot or stiff. The more relaxed you are, the better it is. You have to practice your opening, practice your closing, and then figure out what are the three key things.”

His Last Bit of Advice

“If you’re doing any kind of pitch in front of people. You’re given 10 minutes. Whatever it is, it needs to be three things: Clear, Concise and Compelling.

  • Clear: “The confused mind always says no, if I don’t understand what your movie’s about, I’m not going to fund it. I’m not going to be in it. I’m not going to work on it.” 
  • Concise: “The goal of having a great story is that other people can remember it and tell your story to other people.” 
  • Compelling: “It’s touched your heartstrings in some way.”

“Just remember, you’re story tellers, it doesn’t stop with the paper. You’re still telling the story to sell the script.”

You can listen to the full podcast here, below.

You can find John on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and more about his course here, and you can find Aaron on Twitter and Instagram.

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