On Saturday, a group of Isle of Man based budding writers, creatives and producers gathered as part of the MannIN Shorts film making scheme for a Pitch and Plot workshop kindly sponsored by PokerStars, run by visiting film producer Phil Gates.
MannIN Shorts founder Dave Armstrong commented, ’We thought it was really important to have a session where writers are able to refine their art of pitching their script and discuss their ideas with someone working in the UK film industry.’
The session had a large turnout, where Island based writers and ideas people had the opportunity to talk through their short film script ideas with Phil, who offered in depth advice on the content of their plots and how a pitch can be formulated from their ideas.
A pitch is a concise verbal (and sometimes visual) presentation of an idea for a film or TV series generally made by a screenwriter or director to a producer or studio executive in the hope of attracting development finance to pay for the writing of a screenplay. Dave Armstrong elaborates, ‘Being able to engage the listener with a concise, passionate taste of your story is essential if you ever hope to get them to go on and read your script.’
The timing was perfect for this particular workshop as many of those who attended are currently developing a script to enter into the latest MannIN Shorts ‘Script to Screen’ competition, in association with Isle of Man Film and the Isle of Man Arts Council.
The process of creating a pitch, highlights the areas of a script or plot that still need work, helping the writer get to the heart of the story at the development and writing stages.
Some of Phil’s Top Tips offered during the session:-
‘Try to work out what the crux is of your story and focus on that in the pitch.’
‘You don’t need to tell me the whole story. If you to pitch to me, simply try to intrigue me enough to make me want to read your script’
‘Short films are about a feeling or an emotion of something rather than telling a full narrative.’
When writing, ‘listen to everyone’s opinion, but don’t follow anyone’s advise, unless you believe in it yourself.’ Co Founder of MannIN Shorts Dave Armstrong elaborates on Phil’s point…. ‘Above all, develop a script the you really believe in, take on board feedback, but remember it is your idea, and fight for your story. All of our comments are only subjective opinions. There are no rights and wrongs!’
A word from some of those who attended the session with Phil:-
‘It confirmed my thoughts on how one has to be concise and confident. And fully prepared.’
‘I gained from the session that I should submit a script for my idea, as I wasn’t going to and if I hadn’t gone yesterday I doubt whether I would have.’
‘I walked away with the confidence that it all was possible. Write a story, pitch it, make a film. All you have to be is good.’
‘I’ve taken away from the session that The pitch counts. Doesn’t matter how good your story is if your pitch isn’t clear.’
‘I enjoyed the session, felt most inspired by hearing other people share their ideas, making me realise what a talented bunch of folk we’ve got around us. Phil’s advice helped to streamline my ideas and his emphasis on the need for clarity when developing and explaining a story was very enlightening.’
The organisers of MannIn Shorts are always happy to offer guidance and support wherever possible for your film project. Dave Armstrong says, ‘Any time that you would like to run an idea by us-even just to practice your pitch, we would be happy to organise another informal session.’
Phil Gates found himself, ‘totally struck with the group. I was surprised at the imaginative, original and ambitious ideas pitched. I can see how many of those who attended the workshop had previously benefited a great deal from other areas of the MannIN Shorts scheme. I hope that the resulting scripts and films live up to the potential of the ideas flying around the room during the workshop.’
If you were unable to make it to the session with Phil or simply would like to find out some more information on Pitching:- There are some great online resources to help you get your pitch into shape. Here is just one: http://twoadverbs.site.aplus.net/pitcharticle.htm
Written by Emily Cook – at MannIn Shorts