Paul Pauwels is the head of the Belgian production company Congoo and former director of the European Television and Media Management Academy (ETMA). He continues to work worldwide as a tutor and moderator. Pauwels is sharing his guidelines for a successful documentary pitch. In this second part of the series, Pauwels shares 7 “W”s that help build a successful pitch.
Part 1: Pitching 101: Writing the Pitch, and Other Pitch Preparations
Part 2: The Ws That Build a Successful Pitch
Part 3: When You’re in the Room
- Give a clear and simple description of your subject. What is your film about? Tell them clearly and mention the name of the film often.
- Who do you want to reach with your film? Who is the target audience?
- Dramatic approach: how are you going to tell the story?
- Visual approach: what is the film going to look like?
- Shooting format
- Stand alone film or a series?
What are you looking for?
- Post-production money?
- Where will the story be set, and what will be your shooting locations?
- The unique selling point: what makes your film different from other projects and why will international audiences want to see this?
- Motivation: why do you want to make this project and why are you or your director (or company) the right ones to make it?
- Why should this documentary be made? What makes it special? (The subject? The situation? The market demand or opportunities? Other reasons?)
- Who is going to make the film? Who are you and your team? (Producer, Director, Camera, Others)? What’s the track record and special skills of each of these team members?
- Who will be in the film, in front of the camera? Why are they are going to work on camera? Why is their story so special?
- Time schedule and planning: Preparation, Shoot, Post-production, When will it be available?
- What is the status of your project? How far are you in development and in financing?
6. Who’s paying
- Draw up a realistic budget. Keyword realistic.
- Present a well-structured and realistic financing overview. From the choice of your financial partners you will also show what kind of film you have in mind.
- Mention the production status, including broadcasters or other partners that have already said “yes.”
7. What to add
- Letters of intent or commitment
- Contracts, if they are already signed
- Relevant pictures or maps
- Distribution agreements
In the next post in this series, Paul Pauwels has more tips for when you’re in front of the funder.