PITCHING AT ABC TV | IVIEW AS A FINALIST
Updated: Nov 28, 2021
We are still feeling the buzz from our recent TV Pilot pitch at the 2021 ABC iView Pitch-O-Rama contest that stopped the nation... for the chance to win $10,000 and potential commissioning on ABC iView.
CBMP's founder, JJ Chen, gathered her creative juices to give a performance pitch mirroring the feel of the panel studio, and the wit and humour from the pilot episode to bridge that diversity gap between Asia and Australian, and the world.
What is a Performance Pitch?
Unlike start up and corporate pitches, where you are encouraged to use pitch decks, pictures, graphs, audio and videos.
A performance pitch is a taste of what the show concept is going to feel like via words, props and costumes.
By the end of CBMP's five minute pitch, the judges from ABC, Mercury CX, Screen Producers Australia and Screenworks, were trying to contain their laughter and then applauded with such vigour. It was the only pitch where all judges applauded in symphony.
Our founder, JJ, had no idea she was that entertaining.
Truth be known, no one from the CBMP team had seen her rehearse the five minute pitch or seen the final pitch and the fact, it was CBMP's first ever pitch entry. We have a certain way of delivering far and beyond under pressure.
What is involved in the 1:1 Pitch and ABC iView Pitch-O-Rama entry?
The annual ABC iView Pitch-O-Rama is held around September/October through Mercury CX as the Screenmakers Conference. A series of events across several days is spread across an entire month, if not longer, where you can participate at any of the tiered levels on specific days or topics of interest to you.
The Screenmakers Conference allow you to pitch at the industry market to executives and content heads of commercial networks, streamers (such as Stan, Netflix, etc) and production agencies such as Madman, Hoodlum and more. The event allow opportunities for career mentoring in any stage of your career development, entry to the ABC iView Pitch-O-Rama and to learn from industry experts over a two-day conference or via Roundtables.
For the 1:1 pitch to industry experts, we submitted a short online form about our project. As part of the entry, we also provided a short TV concept reel which was under 3 minutes. We then researched who we were interested in pitching to and added their company names to the wishlist on the entry form.
Lucky for us, we were matched with ABC Head of Entertainment, Nick Hayden, and JamTV Head of Content, Luke Tunnecliffe.
Never heard of JamTV? Perhaps a better way of putting it should be, have you heard of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Millionaire Hot Seat or The Footy Show? JamTV is the leading production show factory in Australia for prominent sporting panels on primetime tv.
Entry for the ABC iView Pitch-O-Rama required more paperwork. Again, it was another short online form where you could upload bios of the team, about the project (logline, synopsis) and why your project would fit in with the ABC iView platform including your proposed development plan.
In our case, we also included a link to our concept reel with footage of what we had already filmed. A concept reel can add so much value to showcase what your TV show or story concept is about. It can give the shortlisting team a feel in a visual context. As we all know, sometimes words on paper may appear to be something completely different altogether.
And, the answer to the big question running through your minds... yes, it does cost to enter into the ABC iView Pitch-O-Rama, 1:1 Pitch and attendance at the conference. These are all tiered starting from $55.
What happens at a 1:1 Pitch?
Depending on the person you are pitching to, they may expect a performance pitch or a chat to get to know you and the concept in a less structured way.
Do we have a funny account of the 1:1 Pitch day for you!
Straight up at 9am on the dot, it was our pitch with ABC Head of Entertainment, Nick Hayden. He was ready, JJ was ready. He could hear her, but she couldn't hear him. So they both mimed, pointed aimlessly through the video connection at various corners of the frame, waved at one another to notion "Can you hear me?" and Nick's head bopping in nods.
What the heck, you can't fight against audio issues. Even though, JJ could not hear Nick's audio at least he'd be able to hear her. JJ gave her best at the performance pitch, the same one she would perform late that afternoon at the ABC iView Pitch-O-Rama.
"Nick, you're the first to see the Pitch. I'm just going to begin,"JJ said over the video call.
Throughout the pitch, Nick was laughing so hard, but obviously JJ couldn't hear a sound of his pure content. At the end of the pitch, Nick and JJ mimed some more as she couldn't locate the chat function. Nick was pointing to the right while JJ was furiously trying to navigate the third party conference app.
Tip: Learn how to use the third party online conference and virtual meeting app before the big day.
Luckily with 2 minutes to spare, Nick and JJ had a brief conversation why the show differed from China Tonight via the chat function.
Booyah! Then, the big moment came with only seconds to spare. JJ scored Nick's email #nothisnumber for further chats.
In JamTV's case, Luke Tunnecliffe preferred a relaxed chat as opposed to the performance pitch. No audio issues there! In this sort of situation, be prepared to anticipate questions about where you see your concept and why your show would be different to existing shows.
Although the feel of CBMP's TV Pilot was not quite JamTV's style, Luke was so helpful with a referral to Channel 10 and to pitch for one of their annual opportunities.
All in all, 1:1 Pitches are not so daunting as long as you are well prepared and can anticipate some common questions, including:
What tv channel would you see your show being aired?
What time slot would you see your show being aired?
What are some similar shows and why is your show different? Prepare a couple of examples.
What is your audience, identify age, sex, demographics and other key target market?
What have you achieved so far and what are your development plans ie. to develop a bible, scripting team, film the pilot, engage post production team, legal team, etc
Why is there a need for your show now?
Who is on board? For example, any prominent celebrities, producers or sponsors? Note. In fact when we answered this particular question, that's when we impressed JamTV and got the referral.
A tip from JJ. Never ask directly for their email or contact details, instead wait for them to offer you their contact or a referral. It can be tricky to anticipate when they will offer their contact or referral, but keep impressing and show persistence.
More importantly, don't be afraid to be yourself, be open minded and to think fast on your feet if audio is against you on the day.
As a Finalist
Although we may not have bagged the winning prize this time around for the annual ABC iView Pitch-O-Rama, we now have validation that the world is ready for CBMP's TV Show concept. This alone is a massive win for the team and the trend that there is a real need for mainstream media on Asian Australians and anyone interested in Asia.
We hope this article has been helpful for anyone who wish to give it a crack at one of Australia's biggest TV pitching contest. If you have any questions, shoot us an email firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to us via socials @captainbagrat
Stay tuned, our next article will give you tips about what we wrote for the ABC iView Pitch-O-Rama application that got us through as a Finalist.