Pitch dating: 8 minutes to convince
Participants have 8 min to convince a producer, broadcaster and/or distributor to believe in their projects and ideas. This timed meeting is a real opportunity for pitchers, as well as for professionals. Reportage.
‘So, in fact, it’s a series with scenes from typical Polynesian life…’ In the big FIFO marquee, sitting on a chair at one of the six pitch dating tables, Michaël and Nelly present their project to Luc de Saint-Sernin, programme director of of Outres-mers 1ère. Like all other pitchers, they have 8 min, and not one more, to present their work to professionals and, above all, to convince them. ‘Your idea is good but you need to write a ten or so page statement of intent. You have to give the impression that you have worked previously. You need to make us want to follow your progress…’ Michaël and Nelly listen to Luc de Saint-Sernin’s advice attentively, that’s why they are there. ‘We want to learn,’ they declare. Learn and be made known to producers, distributors and broadcasters… It’s one of the objectives of this interactive meeting.
Meetings, discussions and a learning process
Gong. The time is up. Like in a boxing match, you go on to the next round, to another table. 48-year old Didier is at this next table. He has come to talk about an educational project with children: to learn to navigate by the stars and in a dugout canoe with a sail. He is looking for funding. ‘It’s really very good, but it’s not me that you need to see,’ explains the producer of Creativ.Tv. I advise you first of all to see a producer, then a director.’ For Didier, this event is a godsend. He leaves his interviews with contacts, and ones who are interested. ‘It really helps us,’ says 26-year old Maruki, who has also learnt a great deal from these meetings with professionals. ‘Sometimes I got a slap in the face,’ laughs the young man while acknowledging that they were necessary to drive his project forward. ‘Now I see what the TV channels may expect, and therefore what I do or don’t need to do.’ 39-year old Karim, having a little break between two rounds, is also satisfied with his pitch dating experience. ‘It works as I have managed to get a meeting!’ The thirty year old is not the only one. A certain number of pitchers, whatever their age, have left with cards, meetings, simple encouragement or the beginning of a collaboration…
The pitch dating on 3rd February seems to have really captivated both sides of the table so that at each time the organiser intervenes with her microphone, to remind people about the timing or just to advise, the response is a general ‘Shh’ … from both pitchers and professionals. Pitch dating doesn’t only benefit the candidates but also the specialists. About ten are participating this year. ‘We are off the beaten path. We have people coming who wouldn’t usually dare to contact us. And there are some lovely stories!’ Benjamin Picard, a well-known producer from the fenua, doesn’t hesitate in saying: ‘pitch dating enables us to be at the genesis of a project, to detect treasure.’ This has already happened as some proposals have come to fruition, and even won prizes at FIFO or elsewhere. The producer feels that their role is to give their experience to the pitchers, as well as the pedagogical side, even if you sometimes need to push the candidate a little. ‘We have 8 min to listen to them, so often we ask them to get to the essence. It’s not always easy for them but that’s how we move forward.’
Pitch dating – a springboard
Lastly, thanks to this time meeting and discussing, in the space of 1h30 the pitchers do what they would spend months doing. ‘This time is very important. Many projects originate in pitch dating,’ explains the organiser Eliane Koller, who herself won a prize at FIFO with a documentary that she pitched. ‘At the end of this session, one of the broadcasters came to see me to say that he had seen great projects, that he had made some contacts. I asked him to keep me posted!’ Eliane wants to follow her pitchers, to know if any projects will come to fruition, like for her a few years ago. She will ask two young directors the same thing. They proposed a project about a trip to New Zealand by pupils from the Centre des Métiers d’Art de Tahiti at the 4th Putahi, a cultural exchange between artists from the Pacific. ‘Thank you it was great! There are people who were interested, it’s great for us!’ Maruia and Are are enchanted by their pitch dating experience. Eliane’s dream, ‘I am pleased as, since last year, due to less funding we had to change format. But, in spite of everything, the pitch dating survived, and it still works if not even better!’ Pitch dating is a real opportunity and overcame the challenges to make its mark and become a key event at FIFO.