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Pitching: How to create better pitches for music videos

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5 years 10 months ago | Guides

Many working directors on Radar previously got music video commissions through personal contacts, rather than pitching. For those directors who want to brush up their pitching skills, we publish this guide:


How to create better pitches

Labels want to eliminate as much risk as possible - their deadlines are often tight with no real margin for error. They're not only looking for cracking ideas but also evidence of professional and reliable attitudes.

Pitches are about sales. Your pitch sells your idea, but you're also selling yourself as a director. We spoke to some experts to get their top tips for writing a great pitch.

- David Wilson (Prestigious director, and friend of Radar. He's extremely prolific and has made videos for many bands from the Arctic Monkeys, to Metronomy. Wikipedia)

- Lewis Cater (Fast rising music video director. Radar user and represented by Kode Media)

- Alexa Haywood (Director's Agent, owner of FreeAgent UK)

-Dougal Wilson (One of the UK's leading commercials directors and maker of iconic music videos for Coldplay,

-Jarvis Cocker and many others. Wikipedia)


INTRODUCE YOUR TREATMENT

Artists Name & Track Title

Directors Name

Production Company (If applicable)

Perhaps add a background image, that represents the overall finished music video you are planning to make

Add a summary of your idea at the top too.
"I always like to put a summary in one sentence - I'm always suspicious that whoever's reading this might have a really short attention span" Dougal Wilson

"The pitch needs to be clear and concise - you've got to be able to put your idea across in the first few sentences on the page." David Wilson

"You need to get their attention within the first couple of sentences or images - short and sharp!" Alexa Haywood

EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

Write out exactly what you want to achieve in the music video with the given budget, this can be done with:

- Storyboard (the whole music video, or a specific key element to the music video) and make sure you write descriptions under each shot, the commissioner needs to know exactly what you are imagining, they like to see something.

- Write out the music video with descriptive sentences for each moment of the video.EG: 1.25 during the chorus, lights flush up on the lead singer, cut to close up holding microphone looking to camera.
"Really know your idea. It always helps to bullet point your ideas first, and then when you write your pitch you can go through and explore those ideas." Lewis Cater

Whilst explaining your treatment you could reference other video work, of course showing these examples is key. Attaching links to videos works well. OR you could embed them into the PDF. However be aware this will increase the document size, and could become tricky sending the treatment to the commissioner.
"It's very much about putting your personality across. You've got to be passionate and excited about it!" David Wilson

EXPLAIN YOUR METHOD & TECHNIQUE

If an element of the video requires technical aspects (animation, CGI, lighting technique etc..) try and explain these moments, how you will achieve them. This will give the commissioner an idea of how you are going to achieve this part of the video. You could have explained this in the treatment with video terms, and of course the commissioner may not understand this technique.
"The more descriptive the better. You've got to the client visualise your idea." Lewis Cater

REFERENCE YOUR IDEA

Just like the storyboard and video references commissioners love to see what you are explaining.
"Sometimes ideas are so original that you might not be able to get reference pictures but wherever possible, let the pictures do the talking." Alexa Haywood

Fill a page with screenshots of what you want the video to you look; everyone takes ideas from other videos so this is okay.
"I reference stills from films, music videos, Tumblr, Pintrest - go through and explain why these images are relevant." Lewis Cater

Find anything you like that is relevant:

- A certain camera angle

- The colour grade you are looking for

- Make up images

- Costume designs you want to include

- The look and feel of the character in the video (if there is one)

The list of references could be endless, but make sure they are relevant.

CONTACT DETAILS

Remember the commissioner will need to contact you. On Radar, the commissioner will be able to respond directly to your pitch submissions. Keep an eye on your account and your emails!

If the commissioner likes the treatment they are going to want to see previous work from you to seal the deal. Make sure you have a completed profile on Radar as commissioners are automatically given a link to your profile when they get your pitch document (if you're not using Radar, link back to your website). Add all the relevant information you can to your profile, from your previous work to your social media channels, everything will help persuade a commissioner that you're the director they're looking for!

"At the end of my pitch I always put my old videos to show what I've been able to achieve in the past." Lewis Cater

"You need to be able to summarise your treatment within a few sentences, and then go into as much detail as necessary, but keep the momentum going so don't waffle on too long!" David Wilson

Want more tips? We recorded interviews with our expert contributors, watch here.

Lastly: "It's all about working hard at it and if you don't win a pitch or are finding it tricky, have confidence in yourself and crack on - tenacity is a good word!" Dougal Wilson

Radar is about helping progress your career as a music video director. We have between 40-50 new briefs from leading labels and exciting artists each month. To keep up to date with our news, briefs, commissions and get more tips like this sign up for a free account now - then decide if and when you'd like to subscribe.


More about the Radar's career progression for directors here.