Date published:

August 23, 2021

What to Include in a Documentary Pitch Deck

Planning a documentary pitch deck that will be used to gain interest of investors that could potentially fund your project is an exciting task but it’s also one that many filmmakers haven’t ever engaged in up until this point. If you’re new to creating pitch decks, or this is your first documentary film, you might be wondering what you should include and how you should prepare your pitch deck so that it delivers exactly as it is intended and your audience can’t wait to fund your project. 

Figuring out what to include in a documentary pitch deck is an important step for any filmmaker that’s preparing to pitch their project to investors. Before you get started with your pitch deck, consider the following important details.

ELEMENTS TO INCLUDE IN A DOCUMENTARY PITCH DECK

Your pitch deck is a formal presentation that’s going to pitch your project to investors to raise funding or financing that will get you on your way to production.

But before you can share it with the world, you’ve got to put it together which means you’re going to need to know what information about your project is going to be most crucial to investors.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO INCLUDE:

  • A front cover that uses the style, colors, and fonts which are representative of your film. It should be professionally created with a unique image and graphics that reflect the style of your documentary.
  • The proposal summary which includes details on your target genre, logline, budget details, and style inspiration. This should also reflect your target audience and the resources necessary to produce our documentary.
  • The film synopsis which will represent a short summary of the plot and the general storyline of the film from start to finish.
  • Audience data including some highlights that suggest why your audience needs your documentary and how you will accommodate your audience or special audiences.
  • Cast and crew details which include references to any names in the industry that are well-respected. 
  • Notes from the Director & Producer that represent the general vision for the documentary. Credits that apply to the key department heads and headshots of those department heads should also be included.
  • Scriptwriter notes which outline any pertinent details about the script from the writer and a headshot with credentials of the scriptwriter should also be included.
  • Sales projections that justify the expenses of production and the estimated plan for paying investment funds back if they are secured.

HOW LONG SHOULD THE PITCH DECK BE?

As you’re learning how to create a documentary pitch deck and what to include, you’re likely wondering just how long the pitch deck should be? It’s easy to get carried away with all of the different details.

But it is important to understand that investors are going to see hundreds of pitch decks on a regular basis. You’ve got to make your documentary pitch deck stand out against the crowd.

HERE’S WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT IN TERMS OF LENGTH FOR YOUR PITCH DECK:

  • Title page – self-explanatory, it’s a single page.
  • Logline, synopsis, and theme – pages 2-4.
  • Character details, lighting and camera movements, casting – pages 5-8.
  • Mood board, style pages and producer’s vision – pages 9-10.
  • Cast and crew details – pages 11-12.
  • Sales projections – pages 13-14.

CASE-BY-CASE BASIS

Of course, every documentary pitch deck is different and could include different details or different information. It doesn’t have to consist of exactly 14 pages. And it certainly doesn’t have to deliver the details in the exact order listed.

However, most documentary pitch decks will deliver the pitch in a way that basically opens with information about the documentary. Key details about the theme and plot followed by character details and additional information about technology.

Such as lighting, camera movements, etc that will make up the film. The next major area of focus will be the producer’s style, and mood boards which can set the tone while showing past films that have been successful and which use similar tones or style.

Flowing from there to the cast and crew that will be responsible for making this all happen and the projected sales that will come from a successful production will help to close the deal.

AGGREGATE DATA

Investors want these details! But it’s also important that you don’t over exaggerate sales estimates. If you don’t have sales estimates, you should research other films that are similar in scope and style.

Using those to aggregate data that could help you to make some projections of your own. However, know that investors are very keen on these types of “numbers”. And they will call you out in a heartbeat if you’re going to think you can get away with projecting sales that are unlikely.

NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL APPROACH

When it comes to producing a documentary pitch deck there is no one size fits all approach that will work for everyone. You should create your pitch for the desired audience that you’re pitching to.

If that’s investors, you’ll need to focus on how your documentary will provide value. And you’ll want to prove that you are very aware of your target audience and how to approach them with a story that they WANT to hear and see.

Failure to include key information about your audience could result in your investor finding that you might not have done your homework. And if you’re not willing to invest time into the project, why should they invest money?

The Takeaway

Keep in mind that your documentary pitch deck should carry forth the overall style and tone of your film. Using fonts and colors that will be part of your production.

The deck serves as a general scope of your project that should deliver all of the necessary information an investor would need. In order to make a decision whether or not to invest in your project.

Keep it engaging, interesting, and professional. Show that you worked hard on it. The same way you intend to work hard on the film if you’re able to get funding!

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