5 Essential Elements of a Successful Video Pitch

It’s your baby. You want everyone to love your video. Just like a proud parent showing those endless pictures, you want to show off your concept so that everyone can “ooh!” and “ah!” over it.

The parent analogy breaks down there somewhat, because while new parents just want congratulations and a little love for those baby pics, when you pitch a video you want something more. You want money.

Whether you’re doing a one-time project like an independent film or are pitching a long-term project like a travel and leisure show,  you need to give potential backers a reason to part with their cash. There are a lot of worthy projects out there, so competition can be fierce. It’s never too early to start considering how you’re going to pitch your video. We suggest doing it during the concept development and storyboarding phases because this will help you pin down the high points you want to stress during your pitch (and figure out if you need to add a few more).

Here are five points you absolutely should hit to give you the best chance of success when pitching your video.

1) Relevance

Of course we understand the theory that if your video is relevant to you, it will likely be relevant to someone else. But it has to be relevant to enough people to make the project financially viable. That doesn’t mean it has to be personally relevant to potential backers (come on, do you really think some of those reality shows you see are funded by moonshine runners or gator hunters?) but you have to show that it will be of interest to a lot of people. This is why the concept development phase is crucial to an effective pitch. It’s the point when people (including reps from your video production company) can play devil’s advocate and highlight holes or weaknesses in the concept. Those need to be shored up well ahead of the pitch, and if you don’t want to change them, the concept development phase offers you the perfect chance to hone your arguments for keeping them.

2) Know Your Target Audience

This is closely linked to relevance. You have to know who will consider your project relevant. Will it be women ages 35-52? (A great audience by the way, as they typically have more disposable income, which is a lure to potential backers.)

Knowing the habits and preferences of your target audience will help you tailor your pitch effectively

Knowing the habits and preferences of your target audience will help you tailor your pitch effectively

What are the spending habits of your target audience? If you’re doing a project for television, does this group have a track record of faithfully tuning in, or do they frequently drop out after the first few episodes? If there’s a chance for follow-ups (second seasons, sequels) does the target audience usually show high interest? Obviously all of these aspects will be influenced by how good your project is, but you can still get an idea of how these trends may pan out for you by doing solid research into your target audience. If you don’t have a strong, reliable, and desirable target audience in the eyes of potential backers, you likely won’t be able to sell the project no matter how clever or enticing it is.

3) Have Some Proof

A sizzle reel is pretty much a requirement for a good pitch. You can have a storyboard designed by the best artist available, but nothing will sell a potential backer faster than giving them a taste of what you plan. You’ve actually seen a lot of sizzle reels already, even if this is your first foray into video production. But you probably call them movie trailers. A good sizzle reel is like these in many respects. But wait, you say. Doesn’t that mean you have to have part of the project completed ahead of time? Yes, that’s exactly what it means (although it doesn’t mean the scenes you use can’t be re-shot after you get backing). Think of it as a small investment with a potentially big return. If you get a backer, you can recoup the cost of producing the sizzle reel. It’s a gamble, but sometimes you really do have to put your money where your mouth is if you expect other people to put money into the project as well.

4) Know Your Competition

"What? Someone else is doing a project on professional sail boat racers?"

“What? Someone else is doing a project on professional sail boat racers?”

Is there anything similar to your project out there already, or well on the way to getting out there? Be prepared to answer questions about that during the pitch. You don’t want to be caught off guard when a potential backer brings up a highly similar project that’s going to be released next month. Nothing will sink your chances faster than the unguarded “Oh $#[^!” look that crosses your face if they spring that surprise on you. No one wants to hand money to someone who isn’t well informed about what’s going on in their field.

Having competition isn’t bad. It can indicate a strong interest in your type of project, and it gives you a chance to highlight the ways your project differs from others. A great example of this is the paranormal investigation television show genre that took off just over a decade ago. A few years later, during a panel discussion as a sci-fi convention, one of the people who had landed a show asked the audience: “Anyone out there want to do a show like ours? Because you can forget it. These shows have hit their peak and no one will be producing any new series like this.” Within the next several years, at least half a dozen new shows in the genre came out, and some of them are still going. We can forgive the man who made the prediction because unlike his co-stars, he never claimed to be psychic. But he might have given the matter a little more thought, especially since the room was packed with people who were obviously keenly interested in the genre. Knowing what audiences want will help you avoid underestimating, as well as overestimating, your project’s potential appeal.

5) Know Your Project’s Future Potential

Along those lines, you should know what could happen after your project is complete. Is there a potential for a sequel? Could one of the characters have a spin-off series or film? If the answer is “yes”, you should seriously consider doing some basic concept development and storyboarding for those. This shows potential backers that you’ve thought way ahead, which is always good, and it also lets them know the broader prospects for making a profit from your idea. One-hit wonders are often less than wonderful financially. Realize that there are enormous costs with many video projects. After the cast and crew are paid, more money is needed for distribution and promotion. If you can show your prospective backers that there’s a good chance for developing long-term audience interest and revenue, it makes the deal much sweeter.

When it comes to developing a solid video pitch, a good rule of thumb is: “The more, the merrier.” Having a company like Hencar help you with this crucial step will make the presentation more solid and give you a much better chance of make your dream a reality.