Pitch tips: Shasha Nakhai recommends practice

Shasha Nakhai pitches The Sugar Bowl in front of jury

So You Think You Can Pitch? is both an Industry Series highlight (Free to public!) during the Festival and an opportunity to kick-start or finish your short film with us. We catch up with 2010 Pitch Winner (Emerging Filmmaker Category) – Shasha Nakhai, whose film The Sugar Bowl was screened in 2011. The application deadline is Friday, September 21, so countdown and apply today.

By Shasha Nakhai

I had a fantastic experience pitching at So You Think You Can Pitch? in November 2010. Before the pitch, my film idea was just that – an idea. When I caught wind of the application deadline I thought why not apply? So I whipped one together and to my surprise I was selected to pitch The Sugar Bowl in the Emerging Filmmaker category.

The Sunday morning of the Live Pitch Finale was absolutely terrifying but thankfully, I managed to pull off a smooth pitch without forgetting any lines or major stumbles. It probably helped that (co-director) Rich Williamson was on the stage with me as my tech and moral support. To our delight, we ended up winning the Pitch prize! From that moment our film was on the move. I really owe a lot to Reel Asian for helping jumpstart the film.

Shasha Nakhai (R) & RA Industry assistant Henry Wong (L) celebrate her Pitch win responsibly

It was my first time ever pitching in front of an audience so I learned a lot and got to really fine tune my pitching skills. I also made great connections with the fellow pitchers and our mentor.  We really became friends by the end of the process rather than cutthroat competitors!

My advice for 2012 participants is really to make the most of the opportunity. Practice in the shower, practice in front of your cat or a friend, just practice over and over. Also take the opportunity to get to know your fellow participants as well as the judges and your pitch coach. They may prove to be valuable allies in the future of your film too :)

Right now we are really happy with how our film has been doing. It premiered at Reel Asian in November 2011 (coming full circle), then went on to screen this year at the AmerAsia Film Festival and Atlanta Film Festival. This fall it will continue its festival tour at the DC Shorts Film Festival, LA Shorts Fest and Aesthetica Short Film Festival.

Pitch guidelines and application form here.