Monday, July 22, 2013

When good pitching goes bad...

Well, as regards the Fleadh I had a great time in the 30 hours I spent at it! I drove down there like a maniac on Saturday evening, having stopped off at a friend's birthday lunch before leaving Dublin. I got to the Radisson (late) for a pep talk on pitching from the moderator, Magma Films' Ralph Christians, which was actually really helpful. Ralph gave a rundown of what they were looking for, which was basically a rundown of the story and characters, an idea of the possible budget, any ideas on directors or actors to be involved, and the film's USP. There were five contenders - three guys, two girls, including me.

Then it was off to the Film Board party and a lot of talking and drinking. Non-alcoholic drinking for me, cos I hadn't managed to sort out any accommodation and had to stay in my parents' holiday house instead. Nothing wrong with that - it's a lovely house - it's just that it was a forty minute drive away, the last ten minutes down tiny country roads. It was midnight when I got there, with mad locals driving right up the car's tailpipe on the way. Still, it was free, and it forced me to get a (sober) early night!

Anyway, the pitching. I don't think it would come as a shock to any of the three lads to say that their pitches did not go well. They all spoke for far too long, and we did have ten minutes in total, which is a long enough time for a pitch. Two of them used visual aids, which didn't go down well with the judges at all. (Can everyone just accept at this stage that visual aids DO NOT WORK? I've seen them ruin so many peoples' chances. )And at least two of the pitches were so muddled that I couldn't tell you what the story was.

Now, I hold my hands up here. I didn't win - so my pitch wasn't perfect either. My project was a sports comedy about  a really bad GAA football team. First problem with the pitch was that it was too detailed and mentioned too many characters. I should have cut it back to the bare bones. Second, some people just don't like sports comedies - they're Marmite. At least one of the judges did not seem to like the concept, the genre, (or me, tbh ;)). Third, I did not have a logline prepared when they asked for it. I know. Doh. My only complaint is that they should have asked everyone else for their logline too! Some of the projects would have benefitted from being distilled down to one sentence.

The winner - the only other lady involved, was also the only person pitching that I was happy to lose to. She was just a very natural, fluent pitcher. She was also the calmest-seeming of all of us, and a worthy winner. Congratulations to Jacinta!

Here's the ironic thing I found: it's all about making the pitch seem as natural as possible, but that's not easy when you're standing in front of a ballroom full of people. It IS easy when you're standing in a bar talking to 3 or 4 people. And before and after the actual pitch, I pitched the project effortlessly in several bars. Now I just have to figure out how to replicate the bar pitch in an official situation...

In the meantime, thanks to the Fleadh for yet another great time, and for the opportunity to pitch. By the way, if you get a chance to see Four Queens, a brilliant short by Vittoria Colonna, make sure you do. It's a ghoulish tale of four middle-aged sisters who meet to pick over their dying mother's estate, and stake all their hopes on a game of cards. Well worth a look!

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