14 Things You Can Do to Bring Power and Success to Your Pitches

Most of my career has been focused on istening to pitches for new films and books in my role as founder of Michael Wiese Productions. I would guess that I have heard ten thousand pitches. I’ve put together this list of Things You Can Do to Bring Power and Success to Your Pitches.

1. Rehearse

Rehearse your pitch imaging that you are in the producer’s office. (Try to imagine their actual office with a neat desk, chairs, awards, and posters from the producer’s films on the wall. See yourself healthy and energized, making a great pitch. See the producer laughing, smiling, and listening deeply. Even though you may have never seen the actual office, this imagination exercise will give you confidence.)


Your objective is to create a connection with the person being pitched. It’s not only about the script, but is about working together.

Don’t start pitching before you’ve made a connection. If he or she isn’t present, (like talking on their cell phone) then you are wasting your time. Wait until they are available and ready to listen.

3. Be a mind-reader.

Get into the producer’s head and gain an understanding of how his or her worldview (their likes and dislikes, their interests, etc.) Know in advance where you have common interests.

Your overall objective is to have the producer like the script and take the next steps. Stick to your agenda.

4.Increase the value

Ask the producer ‘how can I increase the perceived value of my project?’ You may garner some good ideas from this but even if you don’t, you will have brought the producer into a creative exchange. (It honors them, acknowledges their wisdom, and gets the ball rolling.)

5. Don’t be intimidated

Don’t be intimidated by the power, fame, or wealth of the producer. In actuality, they need a project they can say ‘yes’ to. Remembering this will keep you focused on maintaining your personal power.

6. Stay in the “now”.

Use body language to energize the space. “Own” the room. Secretly throw out your power to every corner of the room. Control the space.

7. Don’t talk too much.

Do a short one- or two- minute pitch including the title, genre, log line, and any attachments. DO NOT TELL THE WHOLE STORY. Short and pithy is better. When you see that they’ve got it, stop. Wait for them to ask questions. You want to draw them into asking questions. When they do that, that’s an indication of success.

8. Be humble. Be grateful.

9. Research

Research who you are pitching. Use Google and IMDB. Identify what you like about his or her work. Being truthful, praise their work.

Make sure your project fits the kind of films that they produce.

If you can’t answer a question, write a note and tell them you’ll find out, then do so and call them back.

10. Don’t submit derivative material.

11. Create a ‘leave behind’

Create a ‘leave behind’ (a poster, a book, a CD, tchotchke) that will remind them about your project when you’re gone.

12. Know your project inside and out.

If you are pitching with a partner be sure you are both working off the same page. Contradicting your partner looks amateurish.

13. Dress for success.

Better to be overdressed than underdressed. Being well groomed says to them that you are serious about wanting to make a good impression. It shows that you are already successful.

14. Most of all, have fun.

Listening as I have, to pitch after pitch, I have come to realise that the best way to bring Power and Success to Your Pitches is to exude happiness.

Michael Wiese
©2018 MWP

Michael Wiese presents his acclaimed Pitch Cinic at Raindance.

The post 14 Things You Can Do to Bring Power and Success to Your Pitches appeared first on Raindance.


‘Dunkirk’ and ‘Valerian’ Bring Big Budgets to the Weekend, but Will They Bring Big Box Office?

Rave reviews pave the way for this weekend’s release of Christopher Nolan’s World War II feature Dunkirk, a $ 150 million production critics have declared a “masterpiece” and the first surefire Oscar contender of the year. Additionally, STX is debuting Luc Besson’s $ 200+ million sci-fi feature Valerian, the second of three original features debuting this weekend amid a franchise laden summer. Dialing back the spending a little, but not the potential, Universal’s female-driven comed…
Box Office Mojo – Top Stories

This Video Uses Thousands of NASA Photos to Bring the Apollo Moon Landing to Life

530 million people watched the the first humans walk on the surface of the moon, but no one has seen the moon landing quite like this before.

NASA’s 1969 moon landing was an epic event all on its own, but it’s made all the more monumental and awe-inspiring in the incredible short film Lunar. Motion designer Christian Stangl and his brother, composer Wolfgang Stangl gathered thousands of photos from NASA’s Project Apollo Archive and decided to stitch them together and use stop motion to bring the moon landing to life, allowing people to watch the historic mission unfold in a way they never have before.

Stangl decided to embark on the project after being impressed by the quality of the images in the Project Apollo Archive. The high-resolution images, as you might recall, were captured using the famous Hasselblad-Moon cameras, which were build using a Hasselblad 500EL body and a whole lot of rocket science to make the process of exposing and image capture easy for astronauts operating in 1.) space suits, and 2.) 83.3% less gravity than on Earth.

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‘Star Wars: Episode 9’ Will Use Existing Footage of Carrie Fisher to Bring Back General Leia

Carrie Fisher Returning for Star Wars Episode 9

Last year, Hollywood was hit hard with the death of Carrie Fisher, leaving Star Wars fans mourning for the loss of Princess Leia. After grief had passed, many wondered how the saga would proceed without Carrie Fisher able to return to the franchise. The actress had already completed her shooting for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but what would happen to Leia without Carrie Fisher around to give her a proper send-off?

Lucasfilm and Disney have already confirmed that visual effects will not be used to bring Carrie Fisher to life on the big screen again, even though they recently achieved the feat of bringing Peter Cushing back as Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Instead, it turns out we’ll see Carrie Fisher returning for Star Wars Episode 9 thanks to existing footage of the actress.

The latest update on how the Star Wars saga will handle the passing of Carrie Fisher’s comes from the actress’ brother Todd Fisher. He spoke with The New York Daily News recently and revealed that he and Carrie Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd (who also has a small supporting role in the new Star Wars movies), granted Disney and Lucasfilm permission to use existing footage that was shot for The Last Jedi, as well as The Force Awakens, in order to allow General Leia to appear in Star Wars Episode 9. Here’s what he had to say:

“Both of us were like, ‘Yes, how do you take her out of it?’ And the answer is you don’t. She’s as much a part of it as anything and I think her presence now is even more powerful than it was, like Obi Wan — when the saber cuts him down he becomes more powerful. I feel like that’s what’s happened with Carrie. I think the legacy should continue… To me, Star Wars is the holy grail of storytelling and lore and you can’t mess with it.”

The biggest question is what will happen to General Leia in order for us to say farewell to the character in the Star Wars saga? We know that Star Wars: The Last Jedi hasn’t been altered to account for the passing of Carrie Fisher, but since we don’t know what happens with her character in that movie, it’s tough to predict how we might see her appear in Star Wars Episode 9.

Though visual effects won’t be employed to create new “footage” of Carrie Fisher in the same way that Peter Cushing was brought back to life for Rogue One, the footage from The Last Jedi will need to be repurposed for use in Episode 9. So it’s likely visual effects may be used to digitally place General Leia in different scenes, or to have a stand-in appear and have dialogue from previously shot footage come from off-screen. It all depends on what kind of scenes we’re talking about. Hopefully the final moments fans get to spend with General Leia will be satisfying.

The post ‘Star Wars: Episode 9’ Will Use Existing Footage of Carrie Fisher to Bring Back General Leia appeared first on /Film.


Back to the Future: Fujinon’s MK Zooms Bring Parfocal Performance to Indie-Friendly DSLR Prices

With the MK line, Fujinon has a true parfocal lens series at a budget indies will love.

Filmmakers took parfocal lenses (zooms that hold focus) for granted for many years, but the DSLR revolution meant many got used to living without the zoom feature (varifocal). Finally, parfocals are back with the new Fujinon MK line at affordable prices for filmmakers.

For filmmakers on a budget, here are two main takeaways about parfocal, and the MK in particular, to remember.

Parfocals maintain focus

When learning to use a motion camera, the practice of “zoom in, check focus, zoom out” is often the first habit ingrained in the operating process. For any busy shoot where you aren’t working with a 1st AC, the ability for operators to grab their own focus with a quick zoom check is a real lifesaver. Even when working with focus assistants, doing a slow zoom out requires a lens that keeps its focus through the zoom range.

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Learn How to Design a Character-Specific World and Bring it to Life in Your Film

Filmmaker Weston Razooli combines his illustrations with custom-built props and costumes to bring his unique character visions to the screen.

Filmmaker Weston Razooli has been working towards his dream project, Kelza 55, since he was a teenager. The first manifestation of the world he’s been creating is the slacker crime-adventure comedy Jolly Boy Friday, a short film that was recently picked up by Avenue A Distribution. We sat down with Razooli to talk about world building, writing for comedy and why his characters are akin to action figures.

NFS: What is the first thing you do when you start designing a world?

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Watch: How Producers Find Great Stories and Filmmakers to Bring Their Visions to the Screen

BAFTA’s Producing Roundtable reveals what makes producers successful and offers advice on how you can join their ranks.

Producers do many jobs, but ultimately they are responsible for bringing a film, television series, or other creative media projects to fruition. Producers find the stories, the filmmakers, and the financing, then shoulder the responsibility of making sure the project is completed to the best of everyone’s capabilities. Every project is unique, and in turn, every producer is singular in his or her approach to finding stories and creating content.

In this BAFTA Producing Roundtable video, the producers Lucan Toh (Under the Shadow), Lauren Beck (Manchester by the Sea), Pouya Shahbazian (American Honey), and Russ Krasnoff (Denial) share how they find a great story, how they find the right filmmakers for a project, and how you can set yourself up to become a great producer. If you don’t have time to watch the video, check out our takeaways below.

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No Film School

‘Who is Arthur Chu?’ Filmmakers Bring a Viral Online World to the Big Screen

Winning Jeopardy! eleven times made Arthur Chu a target for internet trolls, so he decided to talk back. His story is now a Slamdance film that he has yet to watch.

Arthur Chu first made waves as an 11-time champion of the game show Jeopardy!, playing the game in an unorthodox way of jumping around the board instead of proceeding through the categories in an orderly fashion. Chu wasn’t the first person to play Jeopardy! this way, but he received a ton of backlash from ardent fans of the show for his playing style, including racial slurs.

Chu engaged with this Internet audience, not apologizing for his strategy, and at times, stoking the flames. Then, Chu decided to parlay his 15 minutes of fame into writing essays on current events from his perspective as an Asian American, with a particular focus on how men ensconced in the internet culture discuss women online in derogatory terms.

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No Film School

‘My Life as a Zucchini’: How to Bring Your Audience to Tears with Puppets

Director Claude Barras goes deep on the craft of making this year’s most stunning animated indie.

Any work of animation is a feat, and those who choose the craft full-time are truly dedicated. The efforts required to produce elegant motion (and emotion) are immense and costly—but the results are incredible. Fantasia pushed the limits of form. Wallace and Gromit took us to the moon.

One distribution company is fighting to preserve indie animation and all its potential. GKIDS’ latest film, My Life as a Zucchini, is a stop-motion tearjerker that’s garnering a lot of awards buzz in an already competitive year. The English version of the film is set to premiere at Sundance 2017 with an impressive cast: Will Forte, Nick Offerman, Ellen Page and Amy Sedaris. It is also running for this year’s Academy Awards in the categories of Best Animated Feature and Best Foreign Feature on behalf of Switzerland.

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‘New Mutants’ Will Bring Back James McAvoy’s Professor X

James McAvoy as Professor X in X-Men

Despite the fact that New Mutants is supposed to start shooting within the next few months, there’s still not a whole lot we know about it. No casting has been officially announced (though there are plenty of rumors swirling about), and while an animatic unveiled Demon Bear as the big villain, plot details remain pretty scarce otherwise. But today someone let slip that James McAvoy will be returning as Professor X, the role he’s inhabited since 2011’s X-Men: First Class

McAvoy is currently starring in M. Night Shyamalan’s Split with Anya Taylor-Joy, who’s one of the young stars rumored for New Mutants. Coming Soon sat down with Taylor-Joy for a recent interview during the Split press tour. Since Fox has not publicly confirmed her casting, Taylor-Joy is being careful not to say too much about the role she may or may not (but probably does) have:

I have [seen the Demon Bear animatic], it’s pretty cool. I’m a big fan so I’d love to be a part of it. I can’t say very much, but I would love to be a part of it. I think this year’s gonna be very exciting.

She was more forthcoming, however, about McAvoy’s involvement in New Mutants. “I mean, I think James is already a part of it, isn’t he?” she said when asked if she might reunite with her Split co-star.

We have known for some time that Charles Xavier would pop up in New Mutants. Back in May, producer Simon Kinberg stated, “Right now, as the movie exists, Professor X would be a part of a New Mutants movie.” However, he did not clarify at the time whether Professor X would be played by McAvoy, Patrick Stewart, or some other actor to be revealed later. And with First Class stars Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence likely done with the X-Men franchise, it seemed possible McAvoy would be on his way out as well. So while it’s not exactly surprising that McAvoy will indeed return as Professor X, it’s still nice to get confirmation.

As revealed by BooneNew Mutants will focus on the traditional lineup of Mirage, Magik, Cannonball, Sunspot, and Wolfsbane. Taylor-Joy is reportedly being eyed for Magik, and Game of Thrones‘ Maisie Williams is said to be up for Wolfsbane. Paper Towns‘ Nat Wolff is rumored to be in the running for Cannonball. There was also a story going around that Alexandra Shipp might reprise her X-Men: Apocalypse role as Storm, but that part has yet to be confirmed.

New Mutants is aiming to shoot in spring 2017 for release sometime in 2018.

The post ‘New Mutants’ Will Bring Back James McAvoy’s Professor X appeared first on /Film.