Get to know: Pitching to the industry at MetFilm School’s ScreenSpace
By Danny Kelly
11 June 2021
In 2018 MetFilm School in a unique partnership with the University of West London, launched ScreenSpace, with the BA Content, Media and Film Production three-year degree. This course challenges students to create branded content, viral videos, fictional TV series and social impact filmmaking, as well as teaching skills to navigate the modern media environment – digital literacy and data, social media analytics and creative entrepreneurship.
Now as the very first ScreenSpace students look forward to graduating, we are getting ready to welcome our first intake of the second industry-led, practical undergraduate degree from ScreenSpace: BA Film & Screen Business, launching Sept 2021.
In keeping with MetFilm School’s mission as an educational institution which provides students with a practical, high-quality learning experience grounded in professional industry practice, ScreenSpace students work directly with industry, throughout their course.
ScreenSpace connects with industry leaders from the film, TV, and new media world who have a strong commercial interest in the future of the screen and media industry. Industry leaders brief students at the start of each semester; listen and give feedback on their pitches halfway through the semester and respond to their completed films and projects at the end of the semester. The industry leaders involved in ScreenSpace courses change every year and currently include Twitter, Amazon Studios and YouTube. Check out the full list here.
In this blog, two students on opposite ends of their time at ScreenSpace explain their recent projects and pitches to industry…
BA Content, Media & Film Production – ScreenSpace (1st year)
Our first client was YouTube Originals. This was a big honour and an incredible opportunity that, as a first-year, I did not take for granted. Our brief was to create a narrative short-form piece of content that can drive audiences to their series, If I Could Tell You Just One Thing. Our work would be considered ‘shoulder content’ to this new YouTube Original series, so we needed to create a piece that would both lead to and complement this. Our idea was to show the effect of the pandemic on the music industry and its musicians, and more specifically a young breakout artist.
We began with each crew member researching their role and the requirements of each department to ensure we had a well-rounded pitch. We were constantly referring to the pitch and the presentation to see what the client was expecting, in order to ensure we were keeping our research and ideas relevant and accurate to the brief. As DoP I focused on the artistic approach; in particular, I collated references from films that we found influential to our idea.
We then started putting together short pieces of a script so that, when speaking to our client under a time restriction, our pitch would be simple yet effective. We practiced the pitch over and over to others before the final day to ensure that we were explaining ourselves well. We wanted someone who had no familiarity with our idea to feel confident about it.
I really enjoyed the process leading up to the pitch; researching films we found inspiring, organising all of the information, then seeing everything collated in one presentation. During the pitch, I most enjoyed the feedback that we got. I knew how valuable any feedback would be from the client.
My advice to anyone preparing for a pitch is to practice, practice and then practice again. You may think that you know your project, but try to be prepared for any questions the client may have. Talk to your team and gain an understanding of not only your responsibility but everyone’s roles. Lastly, do your research. If you are asked questions, you’ll look far more professional when you have a quick answer for them.
BA Content, Media & Film Production – ScreenSpace (new graduate)
This last semester, we were given the opportunity to pitch our Graduation Projects to Garden Studios – a new, state-of-the-art film studio in West London. We had free range on the type of content we wanted to create and my team decided on a comedy piece to end our time at ScreenSpace on a high!
Creating the pitch involved our different departments managing their respective slides. As DoP, I was tasked with preparing a slide about the types of shots and camera movements that would make our piece stand out. This involved finding images from films and TV shows that demonstrated what I wanted to achieve. I referenced Edgar Wright in my portion of the pitch so all of the images I chose were from movies he directed.
The main challenge was to talk about my goals in a concise way. Sometimes I have a habit of over-explaining things, so it was important to have multiple opportunities to practice pitching so that we worked out any issues before the day.
I’m not the biggest fan of public speaking, but I found it really beneficial to take part during this semester to see how far I’ve come. I’ve become a lot more confident talking in front of people in a formal setting. I loved explaining my vision for the project as it’s something that I was truly passionate about. I hope that came across to those watching and listening.
My advice to anyone creating an industry pitch is to not be scared about what you’re talking about. If it’s a project you’re passionate about, it will be easier to sell it to whoever you’re pitching to. If you’re using a PowerPoint or Keynote to assist, try to use imagery more than words. It will really help show your vision and won’t distract you.
Interested in studying a course that works directly with the industry? Download a ScreenSpace prospectus!