Wednesday Workshop: Pitch It – Report
- Keep things simple.
- Nothing is set in stone.
No… The Ice Warriors haven’t made a come back. The Martians in question were a panel of eminent children’s media specialists who were asked to take on the role of TV executives from a planet who had not heard of Doctor Who. They commented on a spoof pitch from a group of CMC participants at Sarah Baynes’ Pitch-It workshop, who dubbed the legendary BBC show as ‘Scooby Doo in Space’ and ‘a show for eternity.’ Head of CBeebies production, Alison Stewart wondered if, without prior knowledge of Doctor Who’s successful history, a series featuring a 900-year-old man who travelled the universe in a wooden box would get through the commissioning process in today’s climate. Other pitches featured well-known characters including The Clangers and Bob the Builder.
Before the teams of up and coming producers were given their tasks, the panel gave a comprehensive talk about the art of the pitch.
The message that came through time and time again was to keep things simple and that nothing is set in stone. There was advice about the growing use of Facebook, YouTube and Kickstarter and how these platforms should be used constructively to create awareness but not put potential broadcasters off.
Here are the panel’s 10 top tips for pitching your project.
• If you have a great title and tag line, you are half way there – Justine Banister.
• You’ve got to love and believe in your characters and be clear about the idea – Keith Chapman.
• Take care with your opening e-mail to your broadcaster. Check the spelling and layout and show you know what you are talking about. Don’t be too pushy and understand that the executive will be a busy person – Alison Stewart.
• Know your broadcaster. Pitch the right project to the right person. Don’t pitch horror-porn to Disney – Justine Banister.
• Can you outline your project in the time you have when you meet that important executive in the elevator? You want that reaction as the doors close. ‘Wait, wait… tell me more’ – Julie Kane-Ritsch.
• Keep your intro (to your pitch) short, but hook them in – Sarah Baynes.
• Even if you have a hundred million in the bank, don’t produce your project without your broadcaster. The key broadcaster is a quality benchmark – Andrew Baker.
• Never Mass Mail your pitches with Dear Sir / Madam, (it just won’t get read by them!!!) – Ryan Beaird.
• There’s a place for comedy (in your pitch) but you have to convince the financiers that they will get their money back. Your finance and legal team, the men and women in suits, should compliment a comedy pitch – Andrew Baker.
• Do send Kidscreen news of your production at any stage. It should short and concise e-mail. Personalise it and show that you know, and read, the magazine – Jeremy Dickson: Features Editor Kidscreen.
The BBC provided contact details for the participants.
CBBC and CBeebies Commissioning Info: www.bbc.co.uk/commissioning/tv
CBBC – Sarah Muller: firstname.lastname@example.org
CBeebies – Alison Stewart: email@example.com
For full details of the speakers in this workshop, check the Session Guide here.