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The number one fear in America today is public speaking. That's why it's no surprise that many people find pitching a documentary to an investor to be so daunting. However, with some tips on how to prepare your pitch, you can give one that gets you the funding you need.
Pitches are the last chance you have to convince investors of the value of your project. As such, it's incredibly important to know the steps to giving one. To help you with this, we'll give you some tips on how to research your audience, show you how to prepare your speech, and most importantly, how to make a professional presentation as well. With these tips, you should be able to make a pitch that can make a real impression on your investors.
Before you even get around to outlining your pitch, you're going to want to answer a few basic questions about your topic. The most important question you should ask yourself is what do you want to get out of the pitch? Though this sounds easy, the answer is often complex. Money may not always be the goal. Instead, you may ask some donors for equipment or even to donate their talents if they have production experience. Either way, with a clear vision of what you want from the pitch, you'll look more organized which will give you a better chance at getting what you need. It's also a good idea to look up any films that the investor has previously produced. By doing so you can determine whether your type of film is of interest to them. Similarly, it may also be worth your time to look up the investing company's mission statement. This way you can reshape your pitch to fit your investors' goals. Doing so can help you know whether to sell your investors on the social goals of your video or to just talk about how the project will make money. Lastly, it is also a good idea to find similar documentaries to yours that have been successful. Using this information, you can convince investors that your project will appeal to a large audience.
Once the initial research is out of the way, it's time to put your pitch on paper. An important rule to remember is that pitches should almost never be longer than 5 minutes for a short film or 10 minutes for a full length feature. Anything longer and you risk making your investors feel as if you are unorganized. If your documentary doesn't draw your investors after 5 minutes, you may even want to rethink the angle of your story. The best way to start the pitch is with a quick 30 second summary of your documentary idea. This should be emotional, should use plenty of descriptive adjectives, and should not start with "my story idea is." Here's an example. After you've got that out of the way, you'll want to start giving background to your story which should lead up to the problem you will be focusing on in your documentary. This is crucial. Investors need to know why you chose your particular problem since it will be the reason why people are watching. After that, it's best to tell your investors why you are the person who should be making the documentary. Show them your past experience and your connection to the story. This is a good place to pop in a demo reel with a minute long highlight of your career. Doing this can go a long way in convincing investors that the documentary can be completed. Next, you'll want to make sure to mention the names of those working on the important aspects of the documentary. Having a short bio of each key player handy is important to have. Last, but not least, you'll need to do what you came for and ask the investors for help. If you've done your research, you can give them very specific ways to help your project which should impress the investors. Just remember, this is a discussion, so you'll want to end by asking for questions. If you have prepared yourself to answer any question, you'll be more likely to get financed.
No matter how big or small your pitch may be, it can always be better with a little bit of practice. Just like the saying goes, practice makes perfect and nowhere is this more true than with practicing a pitch. That's why it's good to gather helpful friends and family who can listen to your pitch and give you some friendly pointers on where you can improve. If you don't have the time to present in front of family and friends, practicing in front of a mirror or a video camera can go a long way to helping your pitch go off smoothly. There really is no harsher critic than yourself so if you like the way your presentation is given after seeing yourself on a TV, you're probably ready to make your presentation.
Believe it or not, good first impressions can go a long way in a presentation. That's why arriving 15 minutes early can help you to look organized, punctual, and professional. It can also give you the chance to talk with some of the people who will be in the meeting. This can help you break the ice and find ways to appeal to them later. Since not every pitch will get financing, it's a good idea to keep a friendly relationship with those you meet with. You never know if another project down the road will appeal to them more. Once you're able to get in the room where you'll be presenting, make sure you test the videos beforehand. This way there won't be any embarrassing technical glitches which can eat up valuable time. While giving the presentation, you should never stop to give handouts. This can take the investors attention away from the presentation. The most important thing to remember is that you will more than likely be presenting to a manager who doesn't have a lot of time to spare so starting on time and ending early can make them feel like you're showing a lot of respect.
Pitches can be nerve-wrecking. They're the part of the funding process where an investor can put a face to your project. Even so, with a little practice, research, and a some good writing, you can make your pitch impress those around you.