When pitching an idea, there may be as little as 60 seconds to get everything you can about your screenplay across before your potential agent, producer or executive has decided to read your work. Because of this, you'll want to pitch your project in a way that maximizes the listener's interest in the shortest amount of time.
What are three major tips to create a great pitch?
1. Begin by revealing how you came up with the idea
Beginning with the thought process behind your ideas can be much more interesting, whether it comes from a personal experience, is based on a true story or comes from a novel (that you have rights to), as opposed to beginning with the title, which can often be confusing and irrelevant without context.
2. Never tell the whole story
Instead, reveal essential elements of the story. Who is the hero? What is their call to adventure? Why will we feel empathy for them? What about the apotheosis? Also, why will the story be successful both emotionally and commercially? Include important details of the screenplay, but remember, you only have 60-90 seconds, there will not be time for a full story breakdown.
In addition to only revealing the important elements, leave your listener in suspense. Don't reveal the outcome of the screenplay in the pitch. Create a cliffhanger by finishing your summary at Act 2.
3. Follow your pitch (log line) with a question
After you finish your summary, ask the listener a question, preferably a question that gives them options. For example, asking if they have any questions, or if they would like to be sent the whole screenplay -- both options work for you.
Last, but certainly not least, answer any questions you receive in a clear and brief way, lasting no more than 10 seconds. If there's anything else that they'd want to know, they will ask another question.