Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ooooh, that was good

The fourth of the MetFilm school evenings, once again with Justin Trefgarne.

We started with a viewing of "La jetée", an unusual and highly influential French short-ish film (about 30 minutes with no dialogue just voice-over and almost exclusively black and white stills instead of moving pictures) - it was the basis of Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys among others. Without going into detail let's just say opinions on the film were divided but nobody was injured. I liked it a lot.

But that wasn't the point of the exercise - Justin then split us into groups of three (luckily there were 21 people in the class) and had us pitch the film to the rest of the class. We had 20 minutes or so to prepare the pitch as "writer", "director" and "producer".

This was a mean trick to play on those who hadn't liked it but the evening was actually about some training in how to pitch - very handy for me as I've never done it and I have signed up for the pitching at the Festival which is now only a month away.

I was teamed up with Jean and Julia, and they liked the film too. We were all experienced in talking to groups, Jean is a photographer while Julia is a copy writer with a good understanding of marketing. I pretended to be the Writer, Jean was Director and Julia was Producer. It was a good combination and undoubtedly had an influence on the end result, modesty* forbids me to say more and it wasn't a competition.

So the pitching began and after each Justin asked for comments and gave suggestions on what could be improved (he's very diplomatic). A clear statement of who we were, the story's genre, a brief description of the story (a teaser), sufficient understanding of the story that you can answer questions, and passion. After all, if you don't believe in it, who else will?

An important thing to understand about pitching is that it will change into a conversation with your "audience" and it's important that it should. So rather than being exhaustive in your pitch, leave gaps in the story so questions can be asked. And when you reach the end: Stop. If you allow there to be silence, the people you're pitching to will fill it.

This really couldn't have come at a better time for me, as mentioned I will be doing it "for real" in a few weeks. I enjoyed it and have a much better understanding which means it's far less scary.

I wonder what Justin's going to do to us next time...

*Modesty is my best quality.

What's on the turntable? "The Henry Suite" by Rick Wakeman from "The Grand Piano Tour" (a version of his "Six Wives of Henry VIII" album)

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