“Pitching Is Just An Extension of Your Best Self”: Reinaldo Marcus Green at IFP Independent Film Week
[This is Reinaldo Marcus Green’s second guest post from IFP Independent Film Week; his first one can be found here.]
It’s a wrap on IFP Film Week!
Having the Pope in New York City this week certainly added some delays to my daily commute, but I think somehow it also added hope to my meetings. If you saw a Black and Puerto Rican man in a suit and tie running in front of the Vivian Beaumont theater (across from the Henry Moore sculpture pond in Lincoln Center) every single day last week, it was probably me.
I want to take a brief moment to send a virtual bow to the wonderful staff and volunteers at IFP. They did a truly amazing job organizing hundreds upon hundreds of meetings with press, industry, filmmakers and everything in between. It’s already insanely complicated to put filmmakers together all in one place, and even more insane to provide them with free drink tickets and bowling. Somehow Film Week managed to find the right balance between hard work and play, making it extremely worthwhile for all attendees on both sides of the table.
Film Week was a great snapshot for our creative team — Mark Kindred (writer/director), Matt Mouat (producer) and myself (producer) — about where we currently stand with our project (Rogue). We were able to pitch our project in one-on-one meetings to producers, production companies, investors, agents, sales and distribution companies, as well as fellow filmmakers. This week was all about us gauging industry temperature, and getting a better sense of the market’s appetite for our project. We felt particularly well paired in our pitch sessions; thanks to IFP, who carefully curated our meetings. They based our schedule on specific company profiles, which matched the nature of our project and team.
Throughout the week, we participated in roughly two dozen meetings. Pitch after pitch, the director and I really began to hone our skills. Over the course of a single day, we could see a difference in our delivery, our approach, and what was resonating with people sitting on the other side of the table. Our guiding principle was: to stay extremely honest and open about the current state of our project, and to be very specific about what we we were looking for in a strategic partner.
Pitching was a great experience. I think Mark (the writer/director) and I were very in tune with one another, and were able to share the workload of pitching. It was helpful to alternate during our pitches — we learned what worked, and what didn’t, and it made pitching a truly collaborative effort. We met a lot of wonderful folks, who we feel will have a direct impact on helping us finance Rogue.
I can’t speak for everyone who attended IFP, but pitching is only one part of the equation — content is the other. If I were to sum up Film Week in one sentence or question, it would be: “It sounds great! When can I read the script?”Fortunately, we have a finished script, which we’re very proud of, and which readers seem to really love. Our main priority after Film Week is to get our script into the hands of the right partners. So here’s my elevator pitch: Rogue is about an ex-cop-gone-rogue who wages unconventional warfare on the institutional forces that wronged him. It’s a mystery/crime thriller, inspired by true events. Shooting this winter.
Rogue has been supported by the Sundance Institute, and we have been extremely blessed to receive their support every step of the way. We want to thank them for giving us an opportunity to help create something special, and for connecting us with IFP, who have been incredibly supportive, providing an open and nurturing environment for our team. This week, we made connections that could last a lifetime, and that’s something very rare and special — and we don’t take that lightly.
- To Stream or Not to Stream. I was fortunate to participate as a panelist moderated by Chris Horton (from Sundance Artist Services), Ryan Koo (Founder of No Film School), Sharon Badal (Tribeca Shorts Programmer), Jeff Bowers (Vimeo Curator) and Kent Sanderson (Bleecker Street).
- Brooklyn Bowl Party
- Sundance Alumni Reception
- Filmmakers Lab Showcase (Rooftop Films)
- Opening and Closing Night Parties
- Be on time, always. Even if you anticipate the other person is going to be late.
- People know how to find you, don’t freak out if you don’t have a business card (but have a business card!).
- Dressing up is not necessary but it’s always a plus.
- Be yourself, no matter what. Pitching is just an extension of your best self.
- “Show me the money.”