Yesterday I attended the Live! Ammunition Raindance pitching event at BVExpo, which is still going on today and tomorrow if you are interested. Anyone who put a fiver in the hat got two minutes to present their pitch.
Where are the women?
What surprised me about people’s pitches was that it was mostly men pitching stories about men with no women in the story other than as love interests or plot elements who need to be saved or are murdered.
There were a lot of stereotypes I thought we had already moved past, like a beautiful, cynical woman who needs to be changed by the male hero or the virgin sister, sweet and innocent, who needs to be kept away from men. Only one man pitched a story where a woman was one of the protagonists.
Therefore my favourite part was when Elliot Grove, founder of Raindance, pointed out very fittingly, “Remember: 50% of your audience are female.”
What is this “Britishness”?
Another reoccurring theme during the pitches was “Britishness”. Phrases like “a true British man,” “British focus” and “a love letter to British life” were thrown around. However, what struck me was that whenever they talked about “Britishness,” even when it was stories set in urban areas like London, what they meant was a very white, middle to upperclass Britishness that doesn’t reflect the multicultural diversity of today’s London and “Britishness” at all.
Advice from the panel on the perfect pitch
- Cost-effective budget but reasonable expected commercial return
- Clarify target audience
- Strong sense of beginning, middle and end
- Who’s the protagonist
- What genre
- Comparison to other films (e.g. think about is a cross of Film A and Film B)
- Set tone from start
- Don’t spend too much time on set-up