Good advice from CIMMCon: How to make the best pitch

Producer/director Carey Lundin attended some of CIMMCon’s panel discussions last Saturday and shares some of the information she gained there.

“Logline, Demo and Pitch” and “Transmedia Storytelling” – CIMMCon’s first discussion aimed at advertising — are the two she highlights here.

Story doctor and documentary guru Fernanda Rossi based her talk, “Logline, Synopsis, Demo and Pitch” on her experience helping global producers and directors with their stories and pitches.

She said: “A logline must tell me what actually happens, it’s not phrases like, ‘the emotional journey of’ or ‘emotionally charged’ don’t mean anything; every journey is emotionally charged.”

Someone asked her, “How do I write a logline if nothing really happens in my story?”  Rossi replied, “Ah, I feel your pain. I work with French directors all the time and they don’t care a bit about character arcs like you Americans.”

When you pitch, she advised, “Introduce yourself first and be grateful for the meeting.  No one cares about your project and it’s a big deal to take the meeting. The sale is based 25% on the story, the rest is you and the market.

“They assess whether you’re responsible with money on a project like this, what’s going on in the world and the market – so the timing is key.”

“Transmedia” panelists were LA’s John Heinsen, CEO, Bunnygraph, Mitch Apley, broadcast production director, Abelson-Taylor and musician/performer Ralph Covert, Watchdog Music. 

Their insights and advice:

Transmedia is essentially web and mobile shorts that are based on a film or TV series that integrates branding in sometimes overt and sometimes subtle ways, they explained.

It engages the audience beyond the initial experience of watching the film or TV series, with storylines about characters that dig deeper into the story.

Showrunners are hesitant to be part of this because they have gone to great lengths to produce exactly the elements they want the audience to see.

Advertisers are hesitant, because if they fail to engage it’s a loss for them.  Audiences win, however, because they love the additional stories about favorite characters.

Pitch ad agencies, said Abelson Taylor’s Mitch Apley, “but be prepared for the project to change, possibly radically.  As an example, added Ralph Covert, he has a kids show about loving their music and a brand wanted to make the entire project about their cheese. It wasn’t a fit.”

Advised John Heinsen:

“There’s a mantra: No data, no dollars, Do a competitive analysis of what other brands are doing and their success, in order to predict who and where your demo consumes media and how.”