Every year, we here at the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival bring in industry pros from the city, the province and the country to hear your ideas and maybe — just maybe — hand you a development deal.
This year we’ve got Mongrel Media, Telefilm Canada, Bell Media, Super Channel, NLFDC, CBC, Best Boy Studios, Pope Productions and you can also pitch interactive projects to companies such as Other Ocean Interactive, iThentic, Clockwork Fox Studios and the NFB/Interactive. In order to make the most of your session, and of the pitchees’ time, we’ve tried to streamline things a bit and make sure that everyone goes in prepared. We’re asking interested people to submit a one-pager for their project so we can share it with your requested pro and be sure you’re meeting with the people who can best serve you.
Our Face 2 Face Pitch session is one of my favourite events. Standing there in that room, with all of those ideas flying around, all of those beautiful brains churning away, all of that nervous energy buzzing and sparking, is an incredible experience. Everyone’s on, everyone’s talking, and everyone wants to know what you’ve got up your sleeve.
And though it seems white-knuckle horrifying, it’s actually not that bad. I’ve done it and I survived. But for a second opinion, here’s Ross Moore, who’ll be blogging about the Festival over at Jealous Opinion.
So, you’ve pitched at the Women’s Film Festival?
Yeah, I think it was two years ago.
Who did you pitch to?
I pitched to Pope Productions and Best Boy and it might have been somebody from Superchannel.
Was it terrifying?
It was a little nerve-wracking, yeah. But really, it’s only as intense as you make it to be. Because really, they’re just people, they’re just there doing their job and, for the most part, everyone is very friendly. They’re there to have a conversation, so as long as you keep that in mind and don’t put too much pressure on yourself, you’ll be just fine. They’re not really putting any pressure on you. They’re there to hear your ideas.
So you didn’t start crying or anything?
Haha, no, I wasn’t crying during the pitch, anyway.
Did you get good feedback, though?
I did. I mean, you can’t expect someone to just say “Yes!” immediately, and then you’ll walk out of there with a multi-million dollar deal. You have to walk in expecting just feedback and, at best, you might get a soft “maybe” or a business card or something like that. If you go in with those types of expectations, and just really listen to the feedback, you can learn a lot. Hoping to land something, I think, is not really the point. You’re putting too much pressure on the moment, and on yourself, when really it’s just more of a learning experience. It’s like an audition. As an actor, I try to audition for as many things as I can, for the practice. The more you practice, the better you are.
I’ve heard that about pitching, that it’s a skill and you need to continually cultivate that skill.
It is, and the more you practice, the more natural you’ll be. And I think that a key part of the pitch, that you need to be natural. It’s not about memorizing your pitch, it’s about knowing your idea through and through.
The film industry to me seems to be so much about knowing people and connecting with people and being able to put the right people together. Does pitching help with that aspect of it?
I would say so, yeah. When I was pitching to Best Boy, I talked to a producer there, and I pitched him a couple of ideas and he was really receptive and gave great feedback. But then I ended up doing a bit of work with Best Boy and we already knew each other, so that was handy. Then conversations would come up and he’d ask me what I was working on, and I’d bring up things that we were talking about that day and that conversation would continue, which was neat. Then, when Closet Monster was shooting, I got an email from him asking to help out with auditions. So it is all about those connections. It’s about making it a conversation because you are trying to ignite what could be a friendship or a professional friendship, at least. If someone doesn’t necessarily like your idea, you still want to exit on a high note.
And you still want them to like you
It’s worth the fear?
Definitely, definitely. It’s sparked a fire beneath me now, I think I might try to pitch a few ideas this year.
To set yourself up with a pitch session with one of our pros, please visit www.womensfilmfestival.com/face2face to read the guideines, more about who you can pitch to, and to fill our your applicaiton. Deadline to submit is Friday, October 10th at 12pm. Any questions? Give Jenn a call at 754-3141.
Ross Moore is an actor, writer and filmmaker based out of St. John’s, NL. Visit his blog Jealous Opinion for Festival updates, or find him on vimeo.