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Report – CMC Skillbuilder Bible & Pitch

Posted on: Tuesday 02 July 2019 11:45pm by Helen Dugdale

With a team of industry gurus to guide our delegates through the tricky but essential world of crafting the perfect pitch, there was talk of whether bibles were even still ‘a thing’. In this round-table format, delegates could discuss their ideas and get honest and workable feedback from those that know best.

Takeaway:

  • Keep your pitch brief and do your research.
  • Believe in your project.
  • Aim for the follow up/next.
  • A bible isn’t essential – it’s all about the idea.

Detail:

With a strong team of sixteen children’s media gurus ready and waiting to share their top tips – advice on what needs to be in an outstanding pitch, as well as the ideas to include in a bible were flowing. The session ensured that for each two experts seated at the table, each delegate had some minutes to outline their pitch and receive critical and helpful feedback. The conversations and banter from the tables were warm and friendly, if at times frank. Importantly too, all feedback was welcomed and even better, actionable.

Notably, the session was relevant for people from every part of the children’s media: including publishing, games, TV, interactive media, theatre and education to name some. Throughout the event, Justine Bannister opened questions to the experts on several subjects, including pitching skills, international markets, digital content and bibles.

Some of the responses regarding pitching were received well by all. Louise Bucknall highlights the significance of telling the story and character of your show by bringing it to life. If you make sure you’re specific about who you are targeting and how would it stand out or look on other platforms, or as an event or IP. Think killer not filler. Jen Upton’s advice was “Keep the pitch simple, don’t talk about the back story, talk about the finished project.” She says that it’s important to give your heroes flaws, otherwise there is no story. Why now, why today? How can the show and its themes change the world?

Some critical advice from Natalie Llewellyn was “make sure you practise in front of your colleagues. Be laser-focused, don’t waffle. Sell yourself, not just your idea.”

Orion Ross made a good point – by having a conversation with the people you’re pitching to, it is also an opportunity to make sure you like them – the chances are you’ll be working with them for several years. Talk about the talent in your team. Avoid using props, and use your ideas to spark their imagination. Aubrey Clarke, mentioned that BBC Kids are looking for stand-out, noisy content for kids to engage with whenever and wherever they want it. Think about what is your idea and how is it public service? Where will it go Broadcast, online, etc?

Bringing an international perspective to the room, Hoda Elatawi (Canada) said that “it’s vital your content stands out. How can you make a big impression. Give a taste test of your content, but remember you’re not a telemarketer, remain personable”.

Likewise, Chrystel Poncet, (France) noted that if you follow a plan – ask what they are looking for, and don’t be afraid to ask for detailed feedback.  Make sure you engage in genuine conversations. French buyers are not so different to other buyers, but the French market is specific, so adjust your attitude. Picking up on the same strand, Chris Dicker (Ireland) said “know the market. People invest in people so show an emotional connect to your content. Don’t pitch facts, tell a story to support your vision. Think simple and boil everything down. Find the heart and the humour in what you’re offering.”

When it comes to aspects of Licensing and Publishing, Belinda Ioni Rasmussen urged that you work on the USP – why should I buy this book? How does it stand out compared to the competition?  Use data where possible. Don’t say it’s better than Harry Potter, or there is nothing like in on the market.

And finally, bringing it back to bibles – Aubrey Clarke stressed that it needs to be your idea in a nutshell. Include genre/format/style/audience/which platform the content is for. It could be presented as a mood board.

Tim Searle observed that one approach is if you develop character, then a script, then go back to the sales pitch and create your bible.

Orion Ross said that a bible teases the storyline and creates interest to see more. You want people to ask, “Do you have a script?”. It doesn’t matter if you don’t. Let people see your talent and craft. Finally, Natalie Llewellyn’s advice was to tailor your bible to whom you are pitching. It needs to be editorial and visually distinct. Every broadcaster wants different things. Remember a bible is a sales tool.

Helen Dugdale

About the author

Helen Dugdale

Scribble, Writer/PR Consultant

Helen is founder of Scribble - the little, but mighty PR and writing agency based in Altrincham. She has over 18 years experience writing for and promoting events and brands aimed at children and families. Helen has written and created content for children’s books, educational resources, TV and radio and… Read more

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