How to Pitch a Movie Idea

August 25, 2017

Generating compelling movie ideas combines inspiration, observation, and imagination. It often starts by observing the world around you, exploring intriguing themes, or delving into personal experiences. Engaging with diverse genres, literature, and current events can spark unique concepts. Collaborating with others, brainstorming, and allowing yourself to ponder “what if” scenarios can lead to the birth of innovative and captivating movie ideas. The most powerful stories often emerge from the intersection of relatability, novelty, and a touch of unexpected brilliance. When you think of a great story, however, how do you pitch it?

How to Pitch a Movie Idea

A moving, persuasive pitch can be the difference between seeing your story idea come to life on the big screen or leaving it in your mind to be forgotten. Few industries are as competitive as film, meaning your movie pitch needs to stand out from the thousands of others. The following are many ways you can bring that pitch of yours as close to perfection as possible.

1. Use the power of emotion.

Just like every novel ever written or song ever recorded, the purpose of a film is to elicit emotion. People want to play games, watch movies, and read books that will make them feel something that they can’t or normally don’t feel as powerful in their own lives. Similarly, a successful story pitch is one where you give the listener a positive emotional experience by convincing them that your idea will either be a hit or something they’d enjoy watching. Instead of saying that you’re passionate about the project, let it show in the way you describe your story.

2. Show your personal connection with the film.

Sometimes, even the best ideas can fall flat if those at the helm of the project are driven only by money or fame. Film is arguably one of the most powerful storytelling mediums out there, and people made some of the most iconic films of all time with tremendous passion for the idea or emotion they wanted to share. In other words, a movie pitch is the perfect time to show your personal connection to the story and its themes. Make it clear why this story needs to be told and why you’re the filmmaker destined to help tell it.

3. Make it clear why your film is unique yet bound for success

While agents and offices do look out for film ideas that are creative and special, it’s not always enough. You have to make sure your unique pitch is also something that will most likely attract diverse groups of people and, thus, be a success. A good exercise to prepare you for this is to write down why your film is unique and a second list of reasons why your film would be a hit in today’s market.

4. Comparisons are OK, but don’t overdo it.

Many people are afraid to compare their film ideas to similar existing films for fear of sounding unoriginal. However, comparisons can be a powerful way of giving your listener a clearer image of what your movie is all about. The trick is not to overdo it or confuse your listener by saying your film is a mix of “The Fellowship of the Rings” and “Game of Thrones” without explaining how or why.

5. Avoid telling your whole story.

When pitching your idea to an office or agent, you’ll rarely get more than a few minutes of time. A common mistake is to waste most of your time by trying to tell your entire story as quickly as possible from start to finish. For one, trying to do so only leaves you with less time to convey why the idea is good. But more importantly, if your story can actually be told in as little as five minutes, then it’s probably not a great story. Do your best to give the important plot points and details without boring the listener while misusing your time.

6. When you think your pitch is done, forget it and return later.

A movie pitch isn’t something you prepare in one night. Just like Stephen King would put away a rough draft for weeks before rereading and improving it, you should step away from your pitch for a while to get it out of your head. Coming back to it with a fresh mind will help you trim off the unnecessary while improving the stronger points. There’s nothing wrong with rinsing and repeating this process until you feel satisfied.

7. Happy with your latest pitch? Now, record and practice it.

Recording your own pitch and listening to it is one of the best ways of figuring out what needs to go and what can be said better. It may seem awkward listening to yourself, but doing so will give you a good idea of how you’re presenting your idea. Do video recording if you’ll be pitching in person to make sure you have the right expressions and looks when convincing the listener to consider your project.

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