Every year we host a live AMA Session, which allows prospective applicants the chance to ask any and all questions they might have about So You Think You Can Pitch?.
Do you need a script or a story board?
You don’t need a full script/story board for your application, but we do suggest at least a partial script or story board as that will only help strengthen your application. The more prepared you are, the better your chances will be with the jury who will be helping select the finalists.
If you have already shot the footage, but need post-production funds, can this work?
You can still apply, however the prize package involves a lot of components which will help with production itself so if there are other pitches out there that will use the full package, that may give them an advantage.
Can you apply from out of province?
Yes, we are technically open to submissions from any location. However, there are a few mandatory events that you will need to be available for which will take place in Toronto.
How long should the film be?
15 minute max runtime is what we recommend to keep the project feasible and within budget.
Can YouTubers participate or is this just for filmmakers?
It’s really about the film content. The content has to fall within the categories of narrative, experimental, or documentary.
Can animations apply for submission?
Yes. It depends on your specific film and how well it can utilize the prize package. Last year, we had a short-listed finalist which was set to do half animation half live-action.
So the max grant is $4000 for the first prize? $0 for the 2nd place? And there are only 2 awards?
First place will be the only monetary prize in cash, however 2nd place winners will also gain access to all our sponsorship deals (ACTRA, Charles Street Video, Behind The Scenes Video, CineSend). All folks who get shortlisted for Pitch will get the festival badge plus the industry connections that the festival has. Learn more about our prizes here.
If you don’t get the gold prize you have to produce the film with your own funds?
Generally for a short film, you would look for funding from multiple grants. With the Silver prize package, you still will gain access to sponsorships and our festival benefits. Having the Silver package will bolster your application for other grants. Learn more about our prizes here.
Is there a fee for applying?
No, there is no fee. Please apply! Download the 2019 So You Think You Can Pitch Application Package here.
What is the Pitch Clinic?
Pitch Clinic has 2 parts. First part is where sponsors meet with first round of finalists to explain what their sponsorships would entail. Second part will have past winners/mentors coming in where they give their tips on how to pitch and you will be given the chance to practise your pitch in front of fellow finalists and receive feedback from Pitch mentors.
Is there a theme that the festival is looking for in terms of content?
No, no theme.
Will my project’s ability to make money affect the success rate of my pitch?
No. It’s more about why you are the best person to gain this opportunity.
In terms of final weight, what is given more preference, the concept story or the budget details?
Budgets are definitely important though not as stringent as a feature program. Be realistic, keep it short, and relevant to where you are at in your stage of career. So if you have 12 different scenes, $4000 is likely not enough. The jury will flag this and you will be expected to explain or support your reasoning. Factors like how many actors you require are also taken into account. You should be able to answer whether it’s necessary for you to have 20 actors or if you can tell the story with only 4.
Do you know what the winners from previous years are doing now?
We screened a winner of the contest at last year’s festival. One of the perks of winning Pitch, whether it’s Gold or Silver is that are awarded a premiere spot at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. Some of the past winners have received extra funding, or are currently looking for more, etc. We also have past pitch winners who have gone on to be mentors or feature pitchers who have gone on to make feature length films. Learn more about last year’s winners here.
Do only the Gold/Silver winners get nominated for Talent to Watch or can finalists be nominated as well?
Pitch and Talent to Watch are actually two separate streams, so Gold/Silver winners are not automatically nominated for Talent to Watch. We have had a Pitch winner extend their short to a feature length film, and they went on to Talent to Watch. Gold/Silver winners may have more support to make this change, though all finalists are eligible to submit for nomination.
How far do we need to be in the filmmaking stage? Can it just be in the beginning stage?
To be eligible for pitch, we need to know that you’ve done your research and understand what your pitch is about. So definitely, beginning stage can be eligible but your creative process and outline should be well-developed so you can answer the various logistical questions the jury may have.
When should your film be completed?
Contractually, we would like to have it completed by the following year. However, we understand delays and the filming process, and will do our best to accommodate for any unprecedented disruptions to your schedule.
What do you mean by “Asian” key member in the guidelines for application? Does this include the whole continent of Asia? Does this include the Middle East and countries like India?
Yes, it includes all kinds of Asian people, including India, though in terms of ethnicity groups, it does not include the Middle East. However, it does not exclude the diaspora, so if you are an Indian filmmaker who lives in Turkey you can definitely still apply.
Do you have any advice for interested filmmakers who have stage fright?
We are super welcoming and this could be an awesome opportunity and safe place for you to practice in front of a welcoming audience.
If I win can I use the prize money for a different project?
No. If you win, you will sign an agreement which will outline the conditions for the prize. The prize is for the winning film that was pitched.
Can you come to the Pitch contest in teams?
Yes, but we recommend keeping the presenting team representatives to a minimum of 1 or 2 at a time. As per contest guidelines, the key applicant presenting the pitch must be Asian.
What do we need to know about copyrighted material? Does it have to be an original story or could it be an adaptation of a well known short story?
If you want to adapt someone’s story you need to have permissions from the person at the time of application. Please indicate that you have the permissions in your application and include supporting documents (i.e. a letter from the person giving permission).
You mentioned you should have started already in your creative process, meaning the idea should be fleshed out well already?
Show the jury that you’ve thought about your locations, your logistics, etc. Not everything needs to be fleshed out completely, and maybe this could be an opportunity to get practice on making a pitch even if you don’t get shortlisted.
Could I DM you questions?
Yes, but it is better to email us for a proper full response. firstname.lastname@example.org will take all inquiries for the rest of the application period.
Other notes from Jasmine, Reel Ideas Producer
Jurors respond to concepts that resonate with the now. What is going on right now, and why should it be created now. Last year’s pitch winner wanted to tell a story about her grandparent who obviously only had a certain length of time left to be filmed… So that made it relevant for why this was a film that should be filmed now.