When you take your screenplay idea to pitchfests, you may want to leave a one-sheet behind with film executives and talent agents you talk to. There are pros and cons to having them, but at least it will give the exec you pitch to have something physical in their hands to help remember you.
A solid one-sheet achieves three things: it describes the movie script you pitched, gives your audience your contact information, and establishes credibility with your film if you have any. Here are a few tips on making them work for you.
1. Make your one-sheet informative and readable.
This can be tricky for creative people so follow these guidelines to reign in the creativity a bit and focus on the must-haves. Your number one priority at a pitchfest is to pitch your screenplay. A one-sheet supports your pitch, so whatever you say to your audience in person must be written on your one-sheet.
2. Create a rock solid hook in your screenplay.
It’s okay to elaborate a little more on your script if you have the space on the page, and you might or might not include the ending – that’s up to you. Without a doubt, though, your pitch must be rock solid with a hook! Don’t be cute or manipulative; be straight-forward and confident with your pitch.
3. Include a brief biography of your screenwriting accomplishments.
This section should not read like a resume but rather highlight accomplishments in one to three sentences. Include things like options, film festival awards, or distribution your projects got. If you don’t have any accomplishments to list, don’t fake it. Give information on your expertise in the subject matter.
4. Include all of your contact information on both sides of your one-sheet
This may seem like a no-brainer but it’s easy to miss: Include all of your contact information on both sides of your one-sheet plus that of your representation if you have it.
Make it easy for film execs to reach you by giving them your phone number, email address (that you check!), or your representation. If they have to work to find you, you’ll miss out.
5. Keep graphics to a minimum and use them to good effect.
As for how a one-sheet looks, it’s a fine line between standing out and making a big mess. While many one-sheets have graphics and design, if you use too much of either, it will be hard to read.
If you’re able to create eye-catching design on your own, go for it, but don’t overdo it and don’t do it just to have something. And don’t use clip art!
If a particular photograph compliments your idea then use it, but don’t include photos just to have them. Don’t use photos of other films that you had nothing to do with. Someone might think that you are taking credit where credit is not due even though that wasn’t your intention, which will be bad for your reputation.
Film producers and directors aren’t looking for the most captivating one-sheet, they are looking for the most captivating film idea.
6. Keep your use of different text styles consistent.
Break up the look of the one-sheet with varying fonts, font sizes, bolding, and underlining. However, keep the look simple by being consistent in your use of different text styles.
If you bold the name of one film in your bio, bold the names of other films in your bio. If you italicize actor names, then italicize all of them. The more consistent the visuals are, the easier it will be to read.
7. Leave blank or white space on the page to make the document look less intimidating to read.
Have your talent agent, talent manager, or even a fellow writer take a look before you print to be sure your one-sheet is inviting, interesting and informative.
A one-sheet won’t make you a top-tier film writer but it can help get your screenplay read by movie directors, executive producers and others at a pitchfest. Creating a one-sheet isn’t critical for the pitchfest, but if you choose to make one, follow these guidelines and you’ll be in good shape and your idea will shine through.
If you would like assistance with creating a one-sheet for your next pitching event, whether it’s the Great American Pitchfest, the Screenwriter’s Expo, or any other pitchfest, call us at (818) 907-6511 and we will help you get ready. You can also check out our pitching ebook and video to prepare on your own.