During the Studio Pitch panel attendees learned the value and application of one of the most intricate tools in Hollywood, the Pitch. Pitching is basically telling someone your idea for a movie or project. It must be done efficiently, with extreme enthusiasm to convince busy executives that you're worth their valuable time. Pitching is a task everyone from a fledgling writer to a veteran studio executive or agent must master. Good stories move the film business and everybody's got at least a hundred of them.
Kisha Imani Cameron
Executive Story Analyst, New Line Cinema
- Hedge your bets. Pitch to several studios.
- Only pitch if you have a screenplay and treatment available.
- Know what the studios are buying and with whom you should make the deals.
- If you have talent, make sure they are available when you pitch. Studios react to stars.
- Be prepared to follow up if you have not heard from the studio in a couple of days. More than likely, they are not interested.
- Pitch to producers. They can walk your screenplay into a studio for you.
VP Creative Development, BET Films
- BET Films is looking for treatments - looking for material for a majority female audience.
- Know your pitch! You must know what you are talking about or you will be tuned out quickly.
- Make films that you are passionate about. It's a daunting process. If you don't believe in it, no one else will.
Writer & Director, The Best Man
- He did not sell anything until his sixth screenplay. Don't be discouraged.
- Don't fall in love with anything you write. Be aware of its commercial aspects.
- Distribution - if they (execs) think they can make money on it, they do it.
- Contacts and networking are extremely important (he met an exec at a festival that eventually purchased his film).
- Perseverance is extremely important (both he and Malcolm were not selected for the Urbanworld Festival).
Director of Production & Acquisitions, USA Films
- Hollywood is an antiquated mechanism for the distribution of films. If filmmakers are not satisfied, they must create a new paradigm.
- He asked everybody to introduce themselves to their immediate neighbors. This is the essence of the business (I met a studio exec and an Entertainment lawyer).
Exec Producer of Development, Strange Fruit Films
- Be aware of relationships and infrastructure, i.e. who deals with whom and how.
- Your film might not be purchased, but if somebody likes your material they may hire you to write another project.
- Be aware of costs. Research the range and scope of projects the studio or producer creates and the number of films they release.
This Panel gave a wealth of information including how to submit material. It's important to note:
- Studios accept material from agents and attorneys only. There are many copyright issues and this way they can be sure that the author knows his rights.
- If you do not have an agent, request a submission release form. This form releases the studio of legal responsibility and is an industry standard.