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A pitch guide: Live Ammo attendee
By Paul Bryan
Paul attended a Raindance Live Ammo event in February of 2010. Here are his thoughts and tips for newcomers.
I really enjoyed the Live Ammo session. It was my first time at such an event and I came away thinking, 'there's nothing scary here'.
I made some notes that were basically 10 short bullets of learning that I took from the night to guide me when I do a pitch.
This was my take on it...
1) Be Brief
If it takes 2 minutes to say - you are most probably waffling. The best pitches were about a minute long.
2) Stick to Concept
Many pitchers are so in love with their ideas they feel compelled to spell out unnecessary detail such as character names, ages, traits and interests. Pitches should be at the concept level only.
3) Make use of Pigeon-Holes
The panel wanted a fast orientation on the project so that they can pigeon-hole it into one of several business propositions they can understand - so don't start by revealing the story. Tell them ... it's a low budget comedy for the indie market targeting the kind of audience who liked film XXXX. Don't start with ...Jonny is a 28 year old loner who meets an emotionally damaged go-go dancer...
4) Keep it Original
Most ideas are highly derivative of existing work at the plot and character level and so require exceptional execution to find interest from the panel - which is almost impossible to convey in a pitch unless you have an existing reputation in the business. Focus on original situations/settings and the moral pulse of the underlining story.