The financial ask: Pitching your vision the Hollywood way

An image of Matt Britton Matt Britton
6th June 2024 3 minute read
An image of a neon light in a shop saying 'What's your Story'

What does Hollywood and your estate have in common? Vision. Somewhere in an LA Studio right now there’s a screenwriter pitching a vision for an unmade movie. They hope to secure the money to write a first draft. The pitching process is meant to whet the appetite of a studio executive, distributor, or producer to sign on the project. Well, you may not have a movie idea, but you certainly have a vision of a new story for your community. Only that is going to take investment. Not from a movie mogul but from friends, family, church, grant funders, or local authorities. But with so many worthy-causes out there you better have a story that stands out from the crowd. Well now you can with our Hollywood guide to honing the art of a perfect pitch…

What are the stakes?

Conflict makes good drama. Every budding screenwriter must learn to raise the stakes. What are the stakes of your story? What are the issues on your estate? Lack of hope and aspiration? Low self-esteem? Unemployment and inactivity? Be clear about the PROBLEMS in your community.

How does the conflict resolve?

Every story has conflict. Every story has a protagonist battling to resolve the problems. How are you solving the issues? What difference are you making? If there’s an issue with aspiration- have you helped somebody on their way to new pastures? Perhaps you’re changing the way somebody with low self-esteem perceives themselves. Maybe you’re running job clubs or providing social activities in the area. Be clear how you are providing SOLUTIONS to the problems.

Why is this project worth backing?

Before writing a cheque, the studio exec wants assurance the money is going to safe hands. A writer with a track record of box office smashes is a safer investment than a maverick fledgling. It’s no different with your potential investor. They want reassurance you’re a safe pair of hands. So, show your track record. Back up your claims with stories, testimonies, news articles, stats. Give them case studies or endorsements from local partnerships. Evidence it- “…through our outdoor pursuits group we are now seeing more young people with increased confidence and therefore applying for work.” Transformed lives always inspires confidence in giving.

What are the loose ends?

A screenwriter may have been working on a story for months, years, they know it inside out, but to the Hollywood exec it’s entirely new. They may have questions. Likewise, you have seen countless transformations in people firsthand, but to someone who knows nothing about your estate- they may have questions. Be prepared to listen and make sure you can answer those questions clearly. Also, be passionate and confident. Even the greatest investment may not sound appealing if you are nervous, hesitant, or unsure of the impact you’re having. 

What if it’s a rejection?

Screenwriters have thick skin. In an overcrowded market they learn to deal with rejection and shop their script around. If you get a “no” after your pitch, don’t take it personally. There are many factors to why people choose not to support you. Perhaps they don’t have the money right now, or maybe they’re already giving to a similar project. That doesn’t mean you stop asking other people or applying to other trusts. If you believe in your estate, sooner or later some other person will catch that belief too. So, keep shopping your vision around!  

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