Things have finally started to get a little quieter the past couple of days after more weeks of fairly intense activity. We did the pitch for funding for the short movie on Monday morning, and I'm not sure it went startlingly well. We were actually previously given a workshop on how to pitch, at which the person speaking told us (and here I vaguely paraphrase from memory),that 'she knew nothing about pitching, and didn't feel qualified to discuss it, so wasn't going to.'
Despite which, she proceeded to tell us how to pitch, regardless. I figured she was winging it - I'll take a guess whoever was meant to be doing the workshop hadn't turned up, and she drew the short straw - so I didn't feel wildly reassured.
The whole concept of a pitch still doesn't entirely make sense to me. I spent more than a week trying to figure out, what do you say? Why do you say it? And even with extensive notes provided by Kolin Ferguson from the GFT screenwriting group, I still didn't understand it - unless you assumed the people to whom you were pitching knew nothing about your movie. Yet we'd supplied copies of the script, visual reference sheets, detailed breakdowns of cost, summaries, synopses and character analyses in triplicate prior to the pitch, and so I sat there, on Monday morning, thinking ... what the hell else do you want me to say that I haven't already said?
We struggled through, but it did seem a very odd state of affairs ... there were questions we thought might be asked, which we weren't, in the end. Typical questions might be:
Q: Why set this in Scotland?
A: Because if we don't, you might not give us the money.
Q: Why film this as a ten minute movie?
A: Because if it's a fifteen minute movie, you won't give us the money.
Q: Why do you want to make this film?
A: Why would I not want to make this film?
Fact is, the moment you open your mouth and say 'I've written a short drama about a girl escaping from a near-future religious community where the lives of the inhabitants are controlled by semi-autonomous two-foot tall robots disguised as soft toys' there's a part of you which believes - and not necessarily without justification - that whomever you're saying it to mentally and automatically imposes a pair of plastic Spock ears onto your head and a complete back catalogue DVD of Blake's Seven into your hand. When it comes down to it, the person to whom you're pitching is either going to be on your side on some level - through shared tastes - or they're not.
On the other hand, I ran into Morag McKinnon, a TV director with several series under her belt, while wandering around the West End. And what do you know, she loves her science fiction; particularly Dick and, what do you know, Heinlein. We ended up chatting about the weird, contradictory relationship the two men had with each other, despite their apparently radically opposed outlooks. So there you go.