NAILING THE ELEVATOR PITCH

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A formal pitch for a movie or show allows you to prepare ahead and typically gives you a set amount of time to sell your project. An elevator pitch, on the contrary, is a very peculiar approach to selling your film. It’s all about what to say, how to express it, and when to do it… in just a few seconds (usually 30 to 90.)

 

WHAT TO SAY IN A MOVIE PITCH

There are two key things you have to be ready to talk about whenever you bump into the opportunity of giving an elevator pitch – who you are & what’s your film about.

It might seem easy to talk about yourself, or simplifying your introduction to your name and title. Titles don’t mean a thing. Everyone’s a director, or producer, or screenwriter. How do you stand out from the rest?

Find your uniqueness and express it in once sentence. Write it down. Practice it. Make it sound natural. It’s you, after all. Instead of “I’m John Doe. I’m a film director” try something like “I’m John. I make movies I’d love to watch but nobody’s making.” It’s about persuasion and generating appeal. Not about reciting your resume.

Quickly move on to talk about your film. What is it about? Give a quick synopsis, something you’ve rehearsed time and time again, so you can go over the important details without using irrelevant or confusing words. Don’t reveal the ending. Leave it open. Generate suspense.

After this, you’ll typically encounter three potential scenarios: indifference, curiosity or action.

Indifference shows lack of interest, which could be due to choosing the wrong audience, or issues with your pitch. Curiosity prompts questions, usually related to your budget, current investors and/or plans for marketing and distribution (and you also need short and sweet answers to all of them.) Action translates into desire to set up a meeting to discuss further.

 

HOW TO EXPRESS YOUR IDEAS

How you say things is as important as knowing what to say. Your choice of words, tone, pace, diction and volume play a big role as well. That’s why it’s highly recommended to rehearse your elevator pitch till you perfect your technique.

Portray a professional image and try not to sound desperate. It’s a business interaction, and as such, you have to conduct yourself accordingly. Be confident, and believe in what you’re doing.

Avoid trying to say too much in too little time. The fact that it’s a short pitch doesn’t mean you have to rush to say everything. You just need to choose the right amount of words that will convey your idea, while allowing you to pause, emphasize and persuade.

And most importantly, be ready to share your business card. It doesn’t matter the outcome of your pitch. Offering your card shows respect and positions you as a professional. Even in the instance you’re faced with indifference, that same person might remember it later and decide to give you a call.

WHEN IT IS THE RIGHT TIME

Once you’ve perfected the art of delivering a compelling elevator pitch, you might feel the urge to over share it. Even if it takes just a few seconds, there are situations where it’s better to hold it, hoping for a more appropriate time.

First and foremost, you can’t pitch your project to everyone. You need to have a sense of who’s a potential candidate and why. The objective for an elevator pitch is to find a person whose involvement would have a clear and direct positive impact (we’re not simply talking about investing, but also collaboration or advice.)

As a result, you have to learn the difference between pitching and sharing. An elevator pitch is a sales argument and it’s exclusively intended to gather interest in being part of it. When it comes to colleagues or acquaintances during a festival, meet-up or event, in most instances you simply switch to a “sharing mode,” which is a way more lose approach to pitching, mainly oriented to update someone about your most current project.

Before and during an elevator pitch, it’s fundamental to observe non-verbal communication. If someone’s walking rapidly towards the exit door, he/she’s probably in a rush, so it’s not good timing. Also, look at people in the eyes, so you can determine their level of interest. If they’re gazing around while you’re talking, you never got their attention.

The name elevator pitch comes from actually pitching an idea while waiting for an elevator or moving between floors. The reason for it is simply because, for a minute, you have a captive audience. Considering this, assess potential time and use a shorter or longer version. This is precisely why to prepare variations of your peach, from 30 seconds to a minute and a half. Water coolers, waiting lines or quick encounters at an event usually work well for this type of pitching.

You’re now ready to go and talk about your project. Just remember the three golden rules for a perfect pitch: be confident, keep it short and rehearse it as much as you can.