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Preparing a Pitch

There are many things you should consider before making a video. First, you must decide what kind of story you want to tell and what kind of video you want to make. Generally, stories fall somewhere on a continuum between the fictional narrative made purely for the sake of entertainment and the journalistic or documentary piece made for the sake of educating the citizenry in the hope that they'll make informed decisions. Probably, you already have a good idea where your story falls on this continuum, but it can be helpful to nail down some of the basics. Consider the following:


Who is your video meant to touch? Even if you're making a work of fiction, purely for the sake of entertainment, it's unlikely to appeal to all audiences. Are you trying to reach an audience of your peers, your children, potential funders, potential clients, etc?


Once you've named your audience, think about how you want that audience to react to your project? Do you want them to contribute money; do you want them to sign up for your program; call their congressperson; learn a new skill; or run screaming from the room?


Knowing how your video will be used by you or by your organization will help determine whether or not you need a public service announcement, an orientation video, a digital story, a documentary, or a movie meant for theatrical release. From there you can answer questions like how long it should be and where it should be shown or distributed? How much money you can afford to spend and how you'll get a return on your investment.


Even if your main objective is simply to entertain, there is likely to be a particular way in which you hope to achieve that objective? Chick flicks and slasher films go about the task of entertaining in very different ways, appealing to very different audiences. Given your audience and your audience objectives, what is the best way to tell your story? What style or genre would your chosen audience identify with most readily? What elements do you need in order to create the emotional impact that you're aiming for?


Once you're able to articulate verbally or in writing the audience, objectives, format and some description of the style your shooting for, you can start fetching about for the help you may need to put your project together. Whether you're pitching your story to a Hollywood producer, writing a grant proposal that would pay for your project, or explaining your project to the friends who are going to help you put it together without any monetary compensation at all, you will need to nail down these specifics if you want your project to be successful.

For more information on this topic, try Five Tips to Help You Sell Your Film or TV Pitch.

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