A while back I featured three of the filmmakers who had made it onto Bridging the Gap‘s training scheme. Weeks later, they’ve reached the point at which they make their final pitch to win development money – nerve-wracking stuff. One of the students, Amy Rose, talks a bit about her experience over the past couple of months and how she feels having now reached the tipping point.
AR: “It’s a strange thing – having spent 3 weekends together, discussing each other’s projects in detail and getting to know each other, I now want everyone to get the money and make their films. But this cannot be! There were 12 originally but 1 dropped out, so now they will fund 7 out of 11. The decision rests on a host of different things – quality of the trailer you show, clarity of vision for your film, access to your central character/ place/ situation, your ability to convince people of your passion for the project, how appropriate your concept is for the 10 minute short form… lots of balls to keep in the air.
The workshops we’ve had have been extremely helpful. Peter Symes way back in January, then Danish guru-man Tue Steen Muller with his mountains of experience in pitching and a wry smile to challenge even the most assured director… and finally Henry Singer, and his boundless good humour. The eternal question he rightly asked at every opportunity: but what’s it really about? No, really? My project has come on in leaps and bounds, and it no longer takes me 15 minutes to bluster my way through the story of a character with all the complexities of real life. Getting the opportunity to meet these people has been brilliant, and not just for now; perhaps they can be allies for the future… specially Tue, in the big bad world of European documentary.
At the end of it, though, you’re on your own in the ring with the lights in your eyes and your knees trembling. Pitching is terrifying, but if I don’t get the money I’ll still make it anyway – I’ve started already, the relationship is going strong and the material I’ve already shot is good. I’ll just have to find some other source of cash… Other projects pitching are based in America and Japan – they would be in big trouble without the cheque in their hands. My set-up, though, is pretty simple – I shoot my own films, and often work alone because of the sensitivity of the relationship. Total immersion! It’s a bit weird, and doesn’t always lead to the best sound recording… but it also has it’s charms. Still, getting the money would mean I could buy a camera, which would make my life a lot easier. And if I don’t get it I will be seriously disappointed. So, fingers crossed, and a deep breath…“