How (not) to pitch your film at film club…
I like film and a I like talking with others about films. When I lived in Cambridge I used to be a regular at film classes run from the Arts Picturehouse and we used to go see films together and discuss them afterwards. I’ve been missing that but recently I’ve been taking part in an online group with some friends and tonight is my first pitch.
I’ve not had to pitch films for a while so I thought I’d begin by thinking about what might make a good pitch. As is usual, I turned to the anti-problem to help me solve this — How could I make the worst film pitch in history? Here’s what I came up with:
- Make a 3 hour pitch, longer than the film you are pitching. (Film pitching has some similarities to giving a lightning talk)
- Make it about you, not about the film
- Only make it about the film, not why you think people should see it
- Only make it about you, don’t think about what might appeal to others. Tell the people you are pitching to that there’s nothing in this film for them and that it’ll be 90 minutes (or 150) wasted
- Exclude some folks from watching
- Describe every aspect of the film in exquisite detail, leave nothing for the watcher to be surprised about
- Hide important aspects of the film
- Don’t tell people that it could be offensive to them — pitch films without considering this
- Only pitch films that are 10 hours long
- Don’t warn folks that the film will give them a headache
- Tell them they have to read the book that inspired the film before watching the film; oh, and read a book about the making of the film too — just to make sure; and all online reviews…
- Give them a lot of homework to think about while watching — make it more about work rather then pleasure
- Pitch a film that is only available on video, imported from overseas, and costs a lot of money. Better yet, make sure it’s only available on Super 8 format.
- Misrepresent the film. Tell them it’s a beautiful romance when it’s gory horror
- Let everyone know your personal views of every aspect of the film; make it clear they should feel exactly the same or you’ll get annoyed
- Get upset if people don’t want to watch your film
- Invest weeks into scripting the perfect pitch
- Pitch by showing extensive segments of the film, out of order
- Assume a lot of prior knowledge about the film in the people you’re pitching too; tell a lot of in-jokes
- Digress and talk about a few other films
- Talk about all 50 times you saw the film, where you were, who you were with, what they thought
- Don’t forget to include spoilers — make sure you tell them who Keyser Söze is.
So, when I pitch this evening I should keep it brief, accurate and think about what people will want to know and what will excite and reassure them that’ll be a worthwhile watch. I’ll talk a bit about why I like it and what I think they might like about it. Add a bit of passion to get others enthused too.
And finally, I’ve scrapped my plans to give people a 10 page questionnaire to complete after watching…