How do you begin pitching to sales and distribution?
You’ve written a script and sent it out.
You’ve waited for a response but it’s been so long, that you’ve had enough time to produce a mood reel.
You send out the mood reel and … it gets a positive response.
The same people who haven’t put aside 90 minutes to read a script have 5 minutes to view the reel.
This is your opportunity to pitch to sales & distribution partners.
Why don’t they read the script?
- Time (this is why the first 10 pages are key).
- You’re new / unproven i.e. not a priority read.
- They’re busy and have a pile of other scripts waiting.
- Unproven – that word again – you’re a new filmmaker and that’s a hard sell however .. the mood reel is an instant visual medium.
- It takes them less time to watch a mood reel than to read a script.
- It gives them an immediate insight into the film you say you want to make
- Although you’ve used other director’s movie footage to create this reel i.e. not your own work; it is your choice of movies; your style – the edit, the music, the voiceover all help to portray the tone of the movie you want to make.
Tips on The Pitch to Sales and Distribution:
- Acknowledge that as a first time filmmaker, you’re aware that financing / backing your movie is hard.
- Think of other movies that ‘inspire’ this vision.
- Be open to all comments on the script – let them feel comfortable enough to critique (they have invited you in – they already see something they like).
- If they’re confused, explain the choices you have made.
- Be collaborative.
- Have thoughts on keeping budget sensible – ask them where a budget ‘sits’ for this type of movie.
- Location: the film might be set in New York City but they might want you to find a location that has a better rebate to ‘double’ for your location e.g. Toronto.
- Cast: be realistic – but also say you’d like to ‘reach’if there is a particular role that would appeal to talent or potential for a cameo with a bigger star
- If you have any talent connections, let them know.
- Tell them that you’ll want to partner with ‘experience’ to support this first feature i.e. a producer; and HoDs – DoP, Editor, line producer etc.
- Ask if the sales company would be willing to produce / EP the movie & work with you.
- When pitching to sales and distribution: Know your script inside out, be enthusiastic about the story and who you see as the audience.