Creating an Elevator Pitch
Einstein said, “If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” That’s a great way to think about an elevator pitch.
The purpose of the elevator pitch is to generate interest in your film in as few words as possible. You have the amount of time between the ground floor and the third floor to make someone want to say, "Tell me more". You need to be confident, succinct, and show that you value your listener's time. More importantly, you need to display that you have a story worth that time.
When developing a pitch, break down your film into a few broad strokes:
The world of your story, how it works, and what’s broken
Your main character and what they’re trying to achieve
The simplest plot breakdown you can come up with
Write down your summaries for each point. You may have a few sentences for each - that’s fine to start. If you do, see if you can summarize further. Details about your film may get you excited, but will likely get lost on your listener if they don’t have context - and context takes time. You’ll have plenty of time to talk about symbolism later… after you’ve gotten the meeting.
Once you have your pitch down to 1-2 sentences for each point, practice. You will need to know your pitch backward, forward, upside down and diagonally. Pitch to your friends, pitch to neighbors, pitch to family and pitch to strangers. As you speak your pitch aloud, you’ll become comfortable and confident in the story you’re telling. That way, when you actually get on that elevator, your listener will believe that any questions they may have, you have the answer. And from the excitement in your voice, they’ll know it’s going to be thrilling - and they’ll need to hear more.
Because the secret of the elevator pitch is that it’s not actually about the movie. You’re pitching yourself as someone worth listening to. So get out there, be confident, practice, and make that movie!