On Friday morning, the pitch finalists had the amazing opportunity to speak to Richie Mehta, director of AMAL, via skype. Richie was in India, prepping to shoot his next film, and still found the time to give us advice and answer our pitch questions. An incredibly successful filmmaker from Mississauga, Ontario, Richie has some incredible experience pitching, having been selected to pitch at the Toronto International Film Festival back in 2005 at Pitch This! He’s also spent the past year pitching his latest film in India, and so, suffice to say, Richie knows a little something about pitching and telling a story. Surprisingly, his advice is to not pitch to win, but to pitch the best version of your project and story as possible. You cannot control what the jury is doing or thinking or feeling on the day of the pitch, and they’ll pick a project that connects to them– it’s out of your control, so just pitch your best story. As well, sometimes it’s not about all the bells and whistles, especially when it comes to one of these “performance” pitches, but simply… about speaking your story. Make the audience feel how you want them to feel as if they were watching it. There is also no one way to pitch– it’s not a rigid structure, but you need to figure out the best way to pitch your project, whether you’re leading with why you’re telling this story, your connection, versus getting right to the story. All sound advice, and better yet, vetted by a filmmaker who has used these techniques and been incredibly successful.
So there you have it, folks, what it comes down is story, knowing your story, and finding the best way to convey that story. I would take it ever further, and say that it comes down to heart. Why is your heart in this story? How are you going to capture the hearts of the audience?
No easy answers, but a lot of deep searching for every storyteller. And something that is absolutely necessary to have any hope of making work that matters.
Anyway, thank you to Richie for being so generous with his time! Incredibly inspirational storyteller, and all around nice guy. And thank you to Reel Asian for organizing this post pitch-clinic Q&A!