The pitch is the gateway to the next phase of the process. A concept is pitched, as is a property. After the video is finished, its trailer (aka preview) is a pitch for the distribution of the video. A pitch will be issued as a press release. The written pitch is the database metadata info at IMDB.com as well as the blurb for the movie listings.
A pitch is a concise verbal (and sometimes visual) presentation of an idea for a film, generally made by a screenwriter or director to a producer or studio executive in the hope of attracting development finance to pay for a screenplay to be written. Pitches are usually made in person, although they can be made over the phone or, occasionally, pre-recorded on audio or videotape.
A good pitch is generally between five and ten minutes long and lays out the premise, hook and essential beats of the story, along with thumbnail sketches of the principal characters (often including the names of actors who might play the roles), and a clear idea of the genre, tone, likely audience, and budget level.
What you do in class on January 28 and 29 will be somewhere between a concept and a short pitch.
This idea of pitching a concept is not just for arts projects. For many professional projects to proceed in any industry, they go through a series of checkpoints or gateways. Inside the organization, these checkpoints often involve competition. There’s X amount of budget available, and the bosses ask for 2X or 3X worth of ideas to choose from. Outside the organization, these gateways involve venture capitalists, loan officers, and other people whose money or other resources you would like to use.
Your ability to not just survive in a job, but to thrive, may well depend on your ability to succinctly explain your ideas to others.
Demo video archives
Ideas are, in reality, cheap and easy to find. The media capitals of the world are full of folks pitching concepts and properties. Your life is full of pitches (trailers, ads) for the finished songs and movies. Part of the function of the pitch is to keep you from having only one egg in your basket and too much depending on it.
If you fear pitching your stories to agents and producers, you’re not alone. Many writers find pitching difficult. If they wanted to perform for an audience, they would not have chosen a solitary profession like writing….
Working writers often pitch their stories while they’re in the midst of writing their screenplays. Even after they sell the script, they have to pitch it to the director and the actors. All successful screenwriters learn how to pitch effectively, it’s part of the job description.
Pitching a movie or television idea in Hollywood is murder. A screenwriter walks into a room and has 15 seconds to tell what may be a feature-length story to a bunch of grown-ups who listen to stories all day long, told by the world’s most talented storytellers. While the screenwriter talks, the grown-ups check their e-mail, their stocks and their makeup. And when it’s all over, the screenwriter can only hope that the grown-ups will hand over a suitcase full of money and send the writer home to write it all down.
We’ll try to avoid the murder part, but the 15 seconds is real. Make it short!!
After seeing BARACKY II, this was Zach’s pitch from the Fall 2008 semester of GEN 230:
Obama vs. McCain 08 (rocky redone) – The character of Rocky will be played by John McCain and the Apollo Creed will be played by Barack Obama. There will be live scenes from debates and campaign speeches as well as video from Rocky that has faces of each candidate pasted over the characters from Rocky.
The video he ended up with is on the course YouTube channel. It has had over 12,000 views.
Examples of concept pitches
The pitch for a dramatic movie would summarize the plot.
The Women – pitches for the 1939 original and the 2008 remake
The story centers on a group of gossipy, high-society women who spend their days at the beauty salon and haunting fashion shows. The sweet, happily-wedded Mary Haines finds her marriage in trouble when shop girl Crystal Allen gets her hooks into Mary’s man. Naturally, this situation becomes the hot talk amongst Mary’s catty friends, especially the scandalmonger Sylvia Fowler, who has little room to talk – she finds herself on a train to Reno and headed for divorce right after Mary.
Wealthy Mary Haines is unaware her husband is having an affair with shopgirl Crystal Allen. Sylvia Fowler and Edith Potter discover this from a manicurist and arrange for Mary to hear the gossip. On the train taking her to a Reno divorce Mary meets the Countess and Miriam (in an affair with Fowler’s husband). While they are at Lucy’s dude ranch, Fowler arrives for her own divorce and the Countess meets fifth husband-to-be Buck. Back in New York, Mary’s ex is now unhappily married to Crystal who is already in an affair with Buck. When Sylvia lets this story slip at a country club dinner, Crystal brags of her plans for a still wealthier marriage, only to find the Countess is the source of all Buck’s money. Crystal must return to the perfume counter and Mary runs back to her husband.
The pitch for other genres would similarly summarize what the media consumer will see when the project is finished and what it’s appeal will be.