Report – Successful Pitches – The Secret History

Posted on: Thursday 04 July 2019 2:31pm by Vanisha Sumboo

Tim Patterson from T1M Consult introduced the panel and invited them to share their experience with pitching and their tips on what it takes to make a pitch successful. A strong recurring theme throughout the session was tenacity.


  • Keep it simple: have a sense of humour and be tenacious!
  • Commissioners have many things they need to navigate internally, put yourself in their shoes.
  • Pitching is a relationship that takes time, commitment and nurturing in order to make it work.
  • Don’t get attached to one idea, be flexible and develop a very thick skin – there’ll be a lot of no’s before you get the yes.


Chris Dicker reflected on how ‘Becca’s Bunch’ came to fruition. He discussed how the initial idea was sparked by ‘playing around’ with female leads to looking for a quirky character. On seeing a short film by Conor Finnegan, this inspired the type of celebration of uniqueness they were looking for. The process of production was long and ended up stuck in the developmental period. His advice is to know your audience and try to emotionally connect with them. If you have something you want to say, it is important to try to make a difference and do something about it! He explained the magic ingredient of being tenacious, can still be difficult to do – no matter which point you are in your career.

‘Grandpa in my Pocket’ had a fairytale ending, but one that also took seven years to come into its own. Mellie Buse explained that tenacity is key and to keep reinventing and reiterating things. Take away what you’ve heard, and don’t be afraid to shape and reshape your idea. Pitching is also about building relationships and trust for a long-term partnership. Make it a conversation and go in with more than one idea.

Caryl Hart gave insight into the world of publishing and her journey as an author. She gave herself one year and writing a book was something she really wanted. It was a mixture of hard work, persistence and gate-crashing a party that led her to an agent who liked her work. Set your bar high, she said, and your book will have competition to books already out there. It’s also a good idea to start ‘trendspotting’ what is currently out there, as this will help. In coping with rejection, she advises to get ready to learn, be humble and listen but also hold on to the essence of what you believe in.

Joan Lofts spoke via pre-recorded video and detailed her partnership with Peppa Pig’s creators Mark Baker, Phil Davis and Neville Astley who pitched the idea at Cartoon Forum in 2000. The show had a magic about it in terms of storytelling that resonated with almost every age group and was the most popular show at Cartoon Forum. She advises that pitching is a partnership – you need understanding and patience in order to make it work in the long term.

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Vanisha Sumboo

About the author

Vanisha Sumboo


Vanisha is a freelancer in children’s TV with experience in production and script. She is an avid storyteller and is currently creating her first children’s picture book series. Her interests include yoga, HIIT workouts, travelling and creative writing. It will be her first time attending CMC as a blogger. Read more