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Go Pitch or Go Home

How to create a convincing pitch deck for your book

by Aaliya Shah

Everyone’s heard the stories of a successful book getting a movie or a tv show deal. An ultimate goal is to see your story come to life, and watch your characters jump out from the page onto the big screen in a society that prefers to be an avid watcher than a voracious reader. Now imagine a scene where an author gets a chance to turn their book into a film. The main job is done, your book is published, it starts slow but starts gaining recognition and gradually becomes a hit. Your publisher calls to congratulate you, along with that brings news of a production company interested in your book! This is when you require a pitch deck. An in-depth presentation or document on your book, full of important details yet to the point to keep the attention of the potential film producers.

Essentially, you should include key aspects such as your vision for the book as a movie, the basics: plot, characters, and setting - a detailed description of your characters and setting will help with the casting process as well as the location of where the film can be shot, making it easier on the company to find. It is highly important for you as an author to specify the audio/visual aspect of the movie and this can be presented through a pitch deck, not a script.

It is up to you to bring your book to life before allowing it to take life. While your book allows readers to imagine your world through their eyes and can go wild with it, a pitch deck can be your chance to bring your imagination and interpretation of your book to your readers. In this article, points that can be looked at while making a pitch deck for your book are listed below. Keep reading to find out exactly how.

  • First off, we have a key element which can be a major selling point to executives and that is Readability. The term implies that there are technical aspects involved in a creative process, which in theory sounds boring but in practice can be the secret to your book becoming the bestseller you want it to be. In everyday conversations, using big words can make you sound smarter but if the person you are speaking with cannot comprehend your words, it is pointless using frivolous language. Similarly, if a book is written in simple, comprehensive words that deliver the engaging plot to its readers (of any age), the mission has been accomplished.

Since films have to keep in mind to be able to cater to any age audience ( highly dependent on the plot, however), your pitch deck should include a readability level. A film executive while looking at your pitch would keep in mind that the audience matters to you. A good readability level would enable you to have more readers as the message is being delivered in words that can be understood easily.

  • The next on the list would be Visual aspects. When making your presentation, certain elements need to be emphasized. A film needs to be appealing to the eye of the crowd, so having the colour palette to decide the tone of the film according to the “vibe” your book gives off, even having some visual cues might give an idea to the other person about the direction you want your book to be in.

A good film comprises several elements that are tied well together giving the viewer the perfect feeling of the moment that is on the screen. The right audio along with the visual will provide your audience with that. Take, for instance, a sad scene would have cool, dark and dull tones with background music that would fit well with that creating the sad feeling in the person watching it because the atmosphere would be as such, thereby conveying the scene well. If an author was to include these aspects in their pitch, it could increase their chances.

  • Mentioned briefly before, the plot or the overview of the storyline. You mustn’t add the whole plot or the entire script, including all the main plot points and lines. Ensure that there are no plot holes or gaps in your story when you add it to the pitch as the existence of any may confuse you. Your story in the pitch is the main material that you should focus on, while the other elements are important, this is what the film will be made on. A great idea turned into a book which can be made into a film. This part should more or less be kept to the point, the nitty-gritty details can be clarified.

  • After the plot, a section on the set containing a precise description of where exactly the book is set and information about the characters is essential as well. As well as the tone of the film can determine how the crowd would feel while watching the film, just like the location and the nature of the cast could affect the viewer drastically. Another detail to add is the velocity at which the themes of the book would be required. Even involving conflict will add a certain dimension to the pitch. These are all factors that contribute to the reaction of the target group.

  • Towards the end of the presentation, mention on what note you plan to end the movie. Will it be based on the ending of the book? A decision you must make before adding this element in. Endings as we all know can change the premise of the whole film. No matter how great the entire film could have been, the last ten minutes could change everything. Leaving the viewers with an ending open to interpretation or on a cliffhanger is a safe idea as long it doesn't leave the crowd wondering what just happened. You can also decide to end it differently than the book, just to show that the journey of the character is not yet over.

After finalizing your pitch with all these components, you are ready to propose your pitch to the right people. Remember that to help your chances, you should ideally aim for executives or production companies who would be interested in converting books into movies.

Note that you could also reach out to those who are known for making films that have a similar theme as your book. For instance, companies that are in the industry making romantic films might be a better option for you to send your manuscript along with your pitch deck to them. An author should also remember that taking help from your publisher could go a long way.

The end of your pitch might lead to questions hence being well versed in each aspect is a must. Have faith in the work that you have put in and begin with confidence.

In hindsight, writing a pitch deck might seem less difficult than writing a book. When you write a book, you have to pay attention to so much, the plot, the setting, themes, characters, conflicts and obstacles that stand in front of them.

One would think writing a pitch for a film should be as easy as writing a summary of your book. The real challenge shows up when you have to go through with it. To leave out the information an author deems relevant and to make sure to stick to points is a difficult task for writers everywhere.


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