One of the most anticipated events at this year’s National Religious Broadcasters Convention is the 7th annual Pitch-a-thon. On Thursday, June 24, attendees will have the opportunity to pitch their completed films, video projects, scripts or book-to-film projects in face-to-face meetings with at least 8 major distributors and production companies.
In order to make a pitch, attendees must sign up for a 5-minute block of time with the distributor/production company of their choosing. These slots are limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. They are also only open to NRB conference attendees so early registration is encouraged (though not always necessary) in order to secure one’s desired time slot. The list of attending distributors and production companies can be found here. It is by no means complete, as new companies will continue to sign on, even up to the beginning of the convention. So what can someone attending the event expect? The following will explain how it works and how to prepare.
As stated earlier, each attendee is given a 5-minute time slot to pitch to the company of their choosing. Attendees are asked to arrive at least 7 minutes BEFORE their pitch times so that they don’t lose their scheduled slots. Once invited in, each presenter will have about one minute to setup what they need for their pitch. The pitching process will begin with a signal. After 5 minutes, a second signal will sound, ending the session. Presenters MUST STOP PITCHING after the second signal. They are to immediately thank the company representative, leave the table and head outside. At that time, the next group will enter the room, find their distributor/production company and get ready for their signal to pitch. The next group behind them in line will be brought up to wait patiently outside. This process will repeat every 7 minutes until the distributors/production companies have cycled through all their slots.
TIPS AND POINTERS
The 5-minute time period will pass very quickly. It is suggested that presenters craft their pitch in about 2-3 minutes. Make sure it’s done in a way that catches their interest. Spend the next 2 minutes getting feedback from the company representative.
Be patient. It is likely that presenters with pitches to multiple companies will have slots spaced out across the 2-hour period.
It’s suggested that presenters pitch only one project (unless the representative asks about other projects).
Use time wisely. Presenters should practice their pitches so that everything works within the time limit.
Presenters can show video clips if they have finished projects or trailers. Do NOT depend on the hotel internet for service. Make sure all videos are pre-loaded on one’s device and ready for display.
When leaving the pitching session, a 1-page leave-behind or business card is enough. Make sure all videos displayed have links on the one-pager. For finished projects, representatives might ask for a copy or link to the video.
Most representatives fly to the event and are unlikely to pack scripts to take home. While some might ask for one, it’s more likely they’ll ask for an emailed copy. If the representative isn’t interested in a project, they may not ask for it or even want a one-pager. Rejection is NOT fun, but it happens. Be prepared…
This event isn’t the only place to pitch one’s project. Filmmakers outside of the Pitch-a-thon regularly attend the NRB convention looking for projects of interest. Pitches can be made to interested parties at the many networking events, meet-and-greets, socials, and workshops.
Whatever happens, show respect, grace and gratitude to all company representatives involved. They are donating their time to take pitches, while giving presenters a taste of how deals are made in the film and TV world. Interested representatives my schedule follow-up meetings that could end in deal. Even if things fail, the experience itself is invaluable.