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in Filmmaking
on Mar 7, 2009

Entertainment attorney Steven Beer of Greenberg, Traurig prepared the below in advance of his presentation this weekend at the IFP’s Script to Screen conference, and he was kind enough to let the blog publish it. For those attending the conference, Beer will discuss these points further tomorrow at the New York Film Academy, 100 East 17th Street, New York, New York 10003. The “Tips from the Pros” panel will be on Sunday, March 8, 2009 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

I am excited to address this topic. From my experience, not enough attention is paid to packaging and pitching projects. When done artfully, there is no better way to pitch yourself. The following are some of the tips I will be presenting at the Script to Screen Conference on Sunday, March 8.

Tip #1 – Be prepared.
Use your best industry contacts and Internet research to understand your audience. What project has he or she worked on recently? What aspect of the market interests him or her the most? Like the prince in Cinderella, your goal is to find the shoe that fits.

Tip #2 – Pitch franchises, not projects.
Industry executives seek projects with broad opportunities for derivative and ancillary works that can succeed independently while marketing each other. While the quality of your package is critical, a user-friendly and complimentary business plan can be indispensable.

Tip #3 – Be short and sweet.
Prepare materials that are concise and easily digested. Dispense with dense materials. While information is important, your job is to raise intrigue. Don’t play all your cards at once. Like your screenplay, your pitch should have a beginning, middle and end, so that you will leave the executive wanting more.

Tip #4 – Be the Yankees.
Pick proven All-Stars to make up your team. Choosing experienced and successful individuals and entities to support you will establish your credibility in the industry.

Tip #5 – Be protected.
Register your materials with the Writers Guild of America and the United States Copyright Office. Where appropriate, use non-disclosure agreements to avoid theft of your intellectual property. Where possible, resist signing documents that require you to waive prospective copyright claims as a condition of your pitch.

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