Creating Visual Narratives >> Short Film Pitch Assignment >
Each student will have 5 minutes to pitch an idea for a collaborative short film to the class. Prepare an enthusiastic and engaging presentation of an idea for a film you would like to work on. Follow the checklist of points to cover in your pitch. Please keep your pitch under 5 minutes. The selected film projects will be short (10 minutes or less) and your pitch must offer an idea that is realistic within the timeline, technical tools, and financial limitations of our class. Students will vote for the best ideas. The class will break up into teams of 5 or less to work for the remainder of the semester. Identify your skills, strengths, and areas of willingness to learn. Be prepared to step into specific roles on your team (for example: lighting, camera, set decorating, acting, etc). Every team will need to designate a director for the shoots. Teams can also recruit or cast from the larger UMD community. After the project is shot, each student will edit their own final cut version of the film. These variations on the final edit will be an important part of our learning this semester.
Your Pitch Checklist
Visual Narrative Plan
Outline or Script (optional)
Your Pitch Checklist
1. Teaser Pitch starts off with the hook of the story. You have to sum up the storyline
of your idea in around 25 words or less. In the teaser pitch, the first sentence
introduces the characters, the next sentence illustrates their conflict, and the final
sentence can allude to the genre or visual style and leaves listeners wanting more.
2. Story Pitch is much longer than the teaser pitch, but still try to keep it short. The
story pitch starts with your hook and then you run down the rest of the story. Be sure to
articulate those crucial elements ... the heroes, their goals, the conflict, what's at
risk and why they're fighting to save it, any pivotal events or emotional turning points,
and the conclusion. Your story pitch for your short film idea can be less than 200 words.
Keep it simple.
3. Visual Narrative Plan is where you give us a sense of your cinematic storytelling
sensibility. Show us some images (image stills, location shots, storyboards, color
swatches, etc). You can show a few images from existing films as examples, but you must
also show us some original images. This is where you need to express your aesthetic
choices and the overall visual style of the proposed project. Images can also be
projected during your pitch, but a few must be printed out for viewing during the voting
4. Outline or Script (Optional) Prepare an outline of the plot or key shots that will
makeup the short film. The film can be mostly visual, with little or no dialog. An
outline of the main action and key shots is all that is needed for this short pitch. A
more complete shotlist and / or screen play can be generated if your idea gets selected.
This is not a screen writing class, so the emphasis will be on telling stories through
the visuals. Improvisation can be used as well. However, if you have a script you want to
pitch to the class, that?s fine too. Don?t plan to read a script during the pitch, simply
outline the key moments in the plot.