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Top 5 Reasons Producers Don’t Like Your Pitches

Your Next Step: Finding Producers

You’ve got the script. You’re ready to get it made. Finding producers is your next step.

But nobody seems to want to work on it with you. In fact, a lot of producers aren’t even replying to you! 

So let’s see where you might be going wrong … Ready? Let’s go! 

5) You didn’t make it personal

Quite simply, you’re contacting a producer with no personal connection or interest in what you’re pitching.

A producer will likely spend 6 months – 3 years devoted to a short film, and much longer for anything else. They’re not going to commit unless it’s a project they’re truly passionate about.

As a producer, I should focus on horror films because they’re fairly cheap to make and easy to sell – thanks to a huge market and a dedicated audience.

But … I can’t stand horror films! I have turned down many writers with one short sentence: “I’m not into horror”.

So before you go emailing any and every producer you can find, make sure they have a proven interest and connection to what you’re pitching.

PRO TIP: Spend 2 hours on simple internet research before you contact anyone. Check out their website, previous films, social media and any interviews you can find. A pitch will be much more successful if you can link it to something they’ve spoken about or worked on. MORE: Top 5 Mistakes Writers Make Working With A Producer

4) You were obsessed with ‘I’

Last week I read a fairly lengthy pitch email where every paragraph started with ‘I’. 

All the focus was on his inspiration, his creative process, his vision, his experience… You get the picture. Unsurprisingly I turned it down.

​​Subconsciously, it’s off-putting. It sends a message that you’re only interested in what you want to get from this encounter. 

So if your email doesn’t show any consideration for what value or benefit you feel they would get from working on this project with you, then you can bet they will turn you down.

The other problem is that it creates visual repetition, which the human eye is much more likely to skim straight past – meaning a high chance your email doesn’t even get read properly

PRO TIP: Try removing all paragraphs that start with ‘I’ in everything you write. Before long, it’ll be a habit and you won’t have to worry about this mistake again. (Note: check how many of the paragraphs in this post start with ‘I’).

3) You haven’t considered two basic questions

The first things producers think about when receiving a pitch are:

  • Who’s going to watch it?
  • Why should it be made now?

If you haven’t considered these questions, it’s likely a producer will struggle to answer them. Any kind of uncertainty will generally lead to your pitch being rejected or even unanswered.

Spend some time to determine who is the audience for your film, and what makes it timely? 

PRO TIP: If you’re new to doing this, start by analysing other films to find their audience and why that film was made then. 

2) You weren’t specific about yourself

There have been many people in my inbox who described themselves as passionate about storytelling, passionate about creating impactful and engaging films, passionate about writing strong scripts… 

There are also several people who describe themselves as ‘creative’, or signed their emails as:

[Their Name]


Frankly, the only thing that this tells me is that you’re exactly like every other filmmaker out there. Every filmmaker cares about creating engaging stories. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be a filmmaker. 

So rewrite this to be specific about you, or cut it out completely. Don’t waste space writing things that go without saying.

If we’re going to work together, I need to know about you. What stories and characters do you actually care about? What specific things are you passionate about?

PRO TIP: You have to be specific to create a memorable impression. My production company tagline is ‘Making films about dreamers who dare to do things differently’. The more specific, the better. MORE: 5 Things I Learned From Producer Iain Smith (Mad Max Fury Road)

1) You didn’t do what they asked

This is the big one. You might be able to salvage a potential working relationship if you make one of the other mistakes, but most likely not with this one.

You have to pay attention to doing exactly what they asked. If they said, ‘Send me a logline’, and you went straight in with the script, it will tell them one of two things:

  • A: You can’t follow simple instructions 
  • B: You don’t care about what they want/asked for 

Both of which suggest you won’t be a good person to work with, and won’t get an answer to your pitch.

PRO TIP: Prep as many materials before you begin pitching. Logline, short synopsis, treatment, pitch deck and script are the usual materials that producers will ask for.

How To Find more producers!!!

Struggling to find your perfect producing partner? This is a sign that you need a lot more producers in your address book. As a financier once told me, “You have to talk to 1000 people about your project before someone will say yes”

If you need more producers, join the free 5 day challenge where I will personally help you find 10 producers (or more!) in just 5 days. CLICK HERE to find 10 Producers in 5 Days!

Good Luck!

BIO: Charlotte Atkinson is a producer and productivity strategist. She helps writers and directors create more films and get paid for filmmaking. You can find out more about Charlotte and join her free community here.

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