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Movie Pitch Pro: The Right Pitch, To The Right People

By on October 24, 2015 in Today's Blog

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In 1992, I was a 19-year-old kid bartending in New Orleans when NATPE (National Association of Television Producers and Executives) came to town. By pure happenstance, I met an executive from one of the major studios. He and I hit it off and not two weeks later, I was taken onto the lot at Paramount Pictures. Just like that I was working in the film industry. I spent 8 years in the studio system learning the business side of the industry from some of the sharpest minds in the history of film.

For the past 17 years I have been Executive Producing independent film. In fact, I have been a part of financing a dozen films. Some you probably have heard about or even seen. Others, I just hope you have never heard of! Despite some decent success in the early part of my career, it wasn’t until a director friend of mine, Pascal Franchot, gave me a copy of Save the Cat!® that my career really took off! If you are reading this, chances are you know exactly what I mean!

To me, the real value of the Save the Cat! system is that it has created a common language to organize the fundamental principles of story mechanics. Blake Snyder figured out how writers could organize, communicate, and leverage the irrefutable truths of story telling in a way that emphasized making art that would appeal to the largest audience possible. When I realized what I had been given from these books, I began to think about the entire filmmaking process and my role in that process differently.

You may be wondering how Save the Cat! could benefit the career of a finance guy when it’s supposed to be for writers. The answer is strikingly simple: Good scripts make good movies, good movies make money, and movies that make money repay investors.

About 10 years ago, I started applying what I had learned from the Save the Cat! books to make good choices about which scripts I would take on as Executive Producer and get financed. I also started to notice that I was no longer going outside of my rolodex to put deals together. Even if I really liked a particular script, the project would stall out if all of the production companies, distributors, and sales agents I had done business with passed on it.

I saw several really good projects flounder on my desk because I simply didn’t know who to take them to outside of my sphere of influence. In order to overcome this, I started using tracking boards, online services (Studio Systems), and fan sites (IMDBpro) to research new companies that I could pitch my projects to.

Over time, I developed an algorithm-driven database in Microsoft Excel that helped me expedite the research. Instead of searching endlessly for the right leads on a potential co-production partner, I just used my prototype in Excel. What used to take several weeks hunting and pecking around the Internet, I could do in about two hours on my own! Movie Pitch Pro had been born, I just didn’t know it yet.

In fact, I would spend the next decade refining the database and working on a multi-tiered algorithm that analyzes over 3,500 points of data to determine a result. While working on a film (that would never get greenlit), an executive at IM Global watched over my shoulder as I used my spreadsheet to develop a short list of directors. He was so confused about what I was doing, but to his credit, he gave me the benefit of the doubt as I tried to explain to him how it worked. I boiled it down to as simple a statement as I could.

I said,  “I enter the key components of the project I am working on into the spreadsheet, and the formula uses a database of every filmmaker and company in the United States to build a list of the Producers, Executive Producers, Directors, Production Companies, Distributors, and Sales Agents that are going to be interested in working with me on it.”

After a brief silence, he said, “I’ll give you a hundred dollars a month for access to that tool”…

Of course, I never made that deal. And the film we were working on never got greenlit. But that interaction did get me thinking about who else may be interested in the tool.

Over the past two years, I have had some of the brightest minds from academia, film, and technology helping create Movie Pitch Pro. With huge advances in the algorithm, the database, and UI/UX, Movie Pitch Pro is now the world’s most powerful research tool for established and up-and-coming filmmakers looking to develop, package, and pitch to the companies and individuals most likely to be interested in their project.

Using charts, graphs, and big data, Movie Pitch Pro provides in-depth historical business analysis, full filmography, and DNA analysis for every entry in its results list.

unnamedapp1bMovie Pitch Pro has evolved quite a bit. In fact, some would assert that the most valuable part of the app is not the targeted list of likely collaborators for your project, but the accompanying analytics that go with them. Each has over 60 highly relevant data points to help you research how to pitch your project. Knowing everything you possibly can about the person you are pitching your project to is a critical step towards making more sales for your project.

Regardless if it is a writer selling his or her script to a producer, a producer selling the script to a director, a director selling the script to a production company, a production company selling a script to a distributor, or an executive producer selling a script to a foreign sales agent, two things are for certain:

1) You better have a good script.
2) You better be good at sales.

Save the Cat! will get your script ready to be made. Movie Pitch Pro will help you sell it!

Please take some time to check us out on iTunes or our website.

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About the Author

About the Author: Derek Estlin Purvis started his career at Paramount Pictures in the early '90s and spent 8 years working inside the studio system. In 2001, he relocated to Boston and worked as an Executive Producer. In 2005 he joined Markedia Worldwide, a Film Finance and Branded Content studio. While at Markedia, Derek worked with Michael Bassick to finance all or part of eight films, including The Ten starring Paul Rudd and Jessica Alba. Derek left Markedia in 2010 to partner with Christy Cashman at Saint Aire. Sait Aire placed the equity finance in The Kids Are All Right, which was nominated for 4 Oscars and won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical. Also while at Saint Aire, Derek produced and directed The Love Guide starring Parker Posey. With the advent of the new digital content model, Derek has spent the past 3 years in the Technology space, creating the ground-breaking mobile app Movie Pitch Pro. .

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