Jul 27
PITCHING A PROJECT by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Jul 27, 2012

Early in July, I was lucky to be selected as a finalist in the pitching segment of the IFC’s Film Financing forum. IFC is the Philippine Independent Filmmakers Multi-purpose Cooperative, a non-profit organization organized to support the fledgling indie movie industry.

Pitching is the offering of one’s movie project to prospective producers. The system is like a market place, but an organized one, where the filmmakers can vend their wares to possible financiers.

The projects can be a storyline or even a concept. It is better if a script had already been written. Any project is welcome including those that are in the production bin already. It seemed that my project LARGAAA was the only one in the production stage.

Organizers had invited a number of producers for the event. But before the pitching proper, there was a forum with invited speakers to arm the participants in giving a good pitch for their projects.

Guest speakers were Joey Javier Reyes, Raymond Lee, Arlene Cuevas and Atty. Joji Alonso who had produced a good number of films. They all gave tips to the participants of the financing forum.

When all was said and done, the pitching started some minutes past 2:00 pm. The big delay was caused by the inclement weather. Actually, the rain was pouring hard when I arrived at the CCP complex and I was able to leave the car after 30 minutes due to the heavy rains.

The participants to the pitching. Righmost is Angelo Santos of SQ Laboratories beside Paul Soriano of TEN17P

The producers were seated in a semi-circular fashion. In front of the producers were the participants. Each participant will have the opportunity to face all of the producers in one on one fashion.

Each encounter will last up to 7 minutes only and a buzzer will signal the end of the session per encounter. By then the participants will move to their next encounter up to the last producer in the circle.

My first encounter was with the youthful Angelo Santos of SQ Laboratories. He was quite amused of the plot of LARGAAA, my movie project. Although he did not commit anything, Angelo provided some encouragements.

Since there was a time limit, I was feeling some sort of pressure that made me talk very fast. Although I have a full command of my project’s details, I somehow had difficulty in conveying the salient points of my project.

Mother Lily Monteverde and Girlie Rodis of Regal Films

When it was my turn to pitch to Mother Lily Monteverde, she was happy to know that my project’s director is William Mayo. “Kumusta si William?” she asked. And she nodded when I reminded her that Direk William had 12 movies with Regal Films.

Tony Gloria of Unitel was a very amiable guy. All he could say were encouragements and nice words for my project. He was quite surprised that my project just needed one more shooting day. “Patapos na pala,” he happily commented.

Direk Paul Soriano is an enthusiast of horseracing so I didn’t have any problem in detailing my project. He agreed that shooting in the racetrack is a difficult task especially because my project is a docu-drama.

Direk Paul Soriano listening to the pitch of a participant

We also talked of Santa Ana racing, not locally but in California. His favorite horse racing movies are Secretariat and Sea Biscuit. Paul is related by affinity to the Asistios of Caloocan who are horse owners. By the way, Paul is the grandson of Nestor De Villa.

I promised to invite Paul Soriano in the private preview when Largaaa gets completed. Together with Eman Dela Cruz, who served as my last encounter in the pitching, I know that I could get good advice from them.

Incidentally, Paul Soriano’s Thelma got a good review from the Citers of the Film Academy. When I said, “Nakakapagod panoorin,” he was quite ecstatic because that means the movie was effective on the viewers.

Before the pitching ended, the tables were adorned with boxes of pizzas. Surprisingly, there were also canned beers and no other drinks. “This will be our cocktails,” said the moderator thru the microphone.

Tony Gloria of Unitel

After the tedious process of repeating and repeating one’s pitch to the producers, the curtains were closed. Unexpectedly, the pitches were rated like in a contest. According to an IFC officer, they injected a competition atmosphere to make it exciting.

The best pitch was awarded to Lee Meily and Sockie Fernandez. Lee is the wife and cinematographer of famous director Mark Meily. Their pitch was about Gabriela Silang. They won the 25,000 pesos prize donated by Mother Lily.

As a consolation, my project earned an admiration because it was the only project that was given a grant by the NCCA (National Commission for Culture and the Arts). As one producer had said, “I’m sure it’s a good one because it already won a grant.”

In the years to come, pitching may become popular in the country. And when that happens, it may open a new era, not only for the indie films but for the entire movie industry.

Comments to this article can be sent to ajsocorro@yahoo.com

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