Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Your Five Minute Funding Pitch Perfected

I just read a wonderful article by Norman C. Berns, the complete version of which you can view at The article is about pitching to raise funding for your indie film or webseries. Essentially, Berns says this is a variation on the famed “elevator pitch.” It's a variation because for this pitch, “your investor is not there by fluke. Your potential investor has agreed to meet with you because there’s a problem that needs fixing. You’re there to solve that problem.” According to Berns, fixing your investor's problem can be as simple as providing him with a good investment. Or maybe he’s “on the lookout for new opportunities, or [he] might even have a tale to tell.”

Berns basically distills your five-minute pitch down to this basic formula:

First two minutes:

1. Introduce yourself
2. Acknowledge the investor’s previous work
3. Discuss current cinema as it applies to your film
4. Describe your film, casting, producer & director

Last three minutes:

5. How will this project solve the investor’s needs
6. What’s the deal you’re offering
7. Where will profits come from
8. What’s the anticipated ROI

Berns cautions to research exactly what your potential investor wants "fixed" before you get into that office.

“You have to know exactly [what]," says Berns. "If not, you’re delivering your pitch way, way, way too soon.”

I would listen to Berns. He knows what he's talking about. His three-part series on the history of writing, The Writing Code, recently aired on PBS. He's produced nine films for the Metropolitan Opera, winning an Emmy for his work on La Boehme, and was part of the production team that created the first webseries ever (The Hire for BMW).

For more information about Norman Berns, the seminars he teaches and his consulting services, please see his website:

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