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Guest Blogger: The Pitch

Giancarlo on the Cannes Pitch

Above: Filmmaker Greg Araki with our guest blogger and filmmaker Giancarlo Ruiz.

With the festival coming to a close it seems everyone is winding down as well. The booths in the Marketplace have closed down since Wednesday afternoon. The deals if any are being signed on private yachts or in private hotel suites. Everyone is tired. Everyone is enjoying themselves now.

I, the guppy in a shark tank, have been able to survive these two weeks of mayhem. I have met interesting people. I have had meetings with people and I was able to talk to several distributors. Will anything come out of this? Probably in the aftermath of it all. I was able to do my sales pitch and the more I did it the more it evolved. Every time polishing certain words, certain ideas, and context. I took a pitching workshop and it was very helpful because it divides the pitch into three types: The Cocktail Pitch (30 seconds), The Semi-Private Pitch (3-5 minutes), and The Public Pitch (5-10 minutes with Q/A afterwards).

The Cocktail Pitch is a condensed version of who you are, what you do, and what are you selling. This is the one that is mostly used around Cannes because there are so many people here. There are so many ideas floating around, so many pitches thrown in every direction. You end up feeling, well... dizzy. This pitch can be used in several places: the bathroom, the ticket booth, the coffee house, the street, or the cigarette, beer, or sandwich shop -- anywhere. I met Harvey Weinstein and it was intimidating but nonetheless I pitched my thing. He smiled. We were stuck in line for 'Biutiful' the new film from Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu (“Amores Perros,” “21 Grams,” “Babel” – “Biutiful” is a raw experience in human emotion and confronting where society is going) Anyways, Weinstein was there without a badge but if you know film and producers, you know Harvey Weinstein a mile a way.

So I've had this opportunities and I have seized them without hesitation because if you hesitate you lose. Because you can only gain something from a conversation. It's like poker, you can bluff, you can have a full house. It doesn't matter. It's how you handle the situation. So poker it is.

The Semi-Private Pitch has to do with producers and distributors, that's after you've caught their attention and you can talk to them in a semi-private booth. I was able to do this a couple of times. There is a couple of producers that are interested in the project I'm developing and so it goes. So I wait and will see what happens. The contact was made, the talk was talked, and now it's a matter of waiting to see what happens, I'll keep looking for producers and keep looking to find investors. Some films can take ten years or more to make. That's why directors always have three or four or more projects at a time because it depends on the situation as to which one they will be able to make as their next film.

The Public Pitch is the one when you already have a final script, you have the actors, and you are looking for more investors. You do it in a medium to large hall, give a talk, pitch the idea, show some artwork, have the producers, maybe have the actors read a bit from the script, and then have questions and answers with the audience members.

At the end it doesn't matter how you do it -- just do it.

NOTE: You can find out more about Giancarlo Ruiz and his films at his Generic Pictures website, where he has his own Spanish language blog about his Cannes experience. There is also a great video called "SEN (SOR) Y" made by Ruiz while in Cannes. Enjoy!

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