Filmmaking Essentials: How to pitch a perfect treatment for every brief

There’s no denying it – 2016 is already a great year for filmmakers! The skyrocketing demand for video means there has never been as much opportunity for filmmakers to make a career out of doing what they love. Advances in camera gear and filmmaking technology has made the job easier, though more people have access to the tools required, so there is also increasing competition from other like-minded and talented people looking to grow their careers.

Most briefs on Genero involve pitching your idea with examples of work, an overview of your idea and a full treatment. Clients will only spend so much time on each treatment submitted to a brief, so first impressions are key!

To help you put your best foot forward, we’ve got a few pointers to help you create a perfect treatment, and increase your chances of being commissioned when you’re pitching for filmmaking jobs on Genero.

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1. Update your Genero profile

Want to make a good first impression? Have an up-to-date profile by writing a bio, adding a profile photo and linking to some of your best work. Your profile is one of the first things clients look at when reviewing your pitch, so it forms an important part of selling yourself. Seeing as most clients have never met you, this is a great way for them to put a name and face to your treatment.

2.  Tailor and sell yourself based on each specific brief.

Always keep your audience in mind. Linking to your latest showreel gives a great idea of your work as a whole, but it’s just as important to submit the most relevant examples of your work. Too often we see filmmakers using examples that aren’t relevant to the client or the brief, or even directors failing to include relevant work that could have been used to highlight their ability to execute a similar idea.

When you’re pitching to a brand or artist, make sure that your treatment is in clear and simple language, as some may not have the same level of production knowledge as an agency team. Finally, always make sure you tell the client why YOU would be the right choice for the job.

3. Don’t rush a treatment.

Treatments need to be thought through carefully, and should be concise and presentable. Including images in your treatment is incredibly important, as they go a long way in helping convey the look and feel of the visual product you’re trying to sell. Much like an elevator pitch, you need to try get your main idea across clearly and quickly. You might have the best idea for the brief, but if it’s ten pages of text or an external video pitch hosted on Vimeo, the client won’t necessarily have the time to go through it all.

As with any piece of writing, always make sure you triple check your spelling and grammar, as mistakes can be a real turn off. Filmmaking is about precision, and if you’re careless with your treatment, then it won’t give the client much confidence in your ability to complete their job.

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4. Vary your reference films.

Reference films are a really great way to show the client what you want to achieve, but make sure you vary your examples! Time-lapse is massively overused, and although we love Wes Anderson, almost every brief will have a treatment pitching something in the style of his work. The key is to try and be different, so use other less well known references to highlight the angle you’re going for. Show examples of videos or stills from either your own reel or other people’s work, and back them up by explaining how you will bring the ideas to life with styles, techniques and equipment.

5. Clarify roles and responsibilities.

If you’re pitching as a production company, make sure you’re very clear about who will be the director working on the brief. Clients need to know who they are selecting to create their video, so it’s important to share the director’s bio, as well as information on all the key members of the team who will be working on the project. When sharing showreels and examples of work, they should be from the director, rather than from the company as a whole.

Any additional information about your cast or crew is always useful. Clients don’t want to be uncertain about the people behind the pitch!

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 6. Keep supplementary documents separate.

Uploading documents with bios, post-production details, timelines or budgets is great, but keep these separate from the actual treatment. Detail and careful planning looks great to a client, but the information can be easily lost within the treatment if you don’t lay it out clearly. Think about what the person on the other end is being presented with and the impression you want to leave. Making sure they understand the key essence of your idea is key, and then back this up with supporting information to show that you can execute the idea.

7. Get your treatment in before the deadline.

Pay careful attention to the brief deadline and familiarise yourself with GMT! We have filmmakers missing the deadline all the time, and often clients start reviewing submissions straight away. Make sure you leave enough time to upload, edit and preview your treatment before the deadline, so that if anything goes wrong there’s time to fix it!


Examples

Want to see how others have managed to nail a brief? Below are a variety of full treatments that were selected by clients on Genero.

Alex Webb: Sunlife “Welcome Home”

Progress Film Company: Kuoni – Kenya

Mark McKenna: Visit Britain – Glasgow City Guide

Lucas Jatoba: Sony Xperia – Barcelona


Everyone has different styles and approaches to treatments, but if you manage to nail most of these points it will go a long way in getting your idea across! Most of all, have fun with every treatment and remember that we’re always here to help!