common mistakes film pitch deck


Howdy! My name’s Luke and I develop film pitch decks and TV series bibles at

Common Mistakes I See in People’s Film Pitch Decks (and TV show pitch bibles)

What I see over and over again from so many different clients is three main things:
– Not starting strong
– Over & under explanation
– Lack of direction
and tone

*This was supposed to be one single post, but I got the better of myself and this was too long, so I’m splitting it into three posts, with the other 2 posts coming later.

Part 1: Start Strong
Get to the good s#*t… and do it quick. Time and time again clients come to me with their deck which they have already written and it is unfortunately very messy, very wordy and very much all over the place. Whether they are just too close to their script to really see where it shines or they think the audience needs 3 pages of intense backstory to “fully understand their intricate world” (clue… we don’t), what they usually present is several pages of meandering, excessive details to start that just don’t need to be there.

Screenwriters are often told that they have failed if their script doesn’t grab a reader in the first 10 pages. Unless the person is obligated to continue reading they are likely to stop then and there. Well, when it comes to a pitch deck, I say you have 3 pages. If by that point you have not piqued the interest of person reading this deck then you have failed.

Use those vital first few pages to grip the reader. Frame your film/series in the most straightforward way possible. Give me a PITCH… not “it’s about the girl who does this one thing, and then another thing, ohh and also there is this other thing that is totally unique because…”. Nope, don’t care. Simplest terms, be direct, “this show is this, this is why it’s f#*cking awesome”. I’m sure you have such intricate details, and immense world building and blah blah blah. Not on those first few pages you don’t. It is great that you have this whole world built out, it is great you have every last detail of every character planned out so you know what they ate for breakfast on a cold wet November morning in 1996; but the first pages of your pitch deck is not the place for that.

If you actually manage to get your deck in front of producers or a studio they want to to know what your idea is and understand it right away. If it takes them 7 pages to get to the heart of what this is all about then you will lose them. I’ve read enough decks where half way through a vital piece of information is reveled to me that would have changed how I read the first half of the deck. The synopsis would have been clearer, or it changes my understanding of the entire project. Lead with that, put your best foot forward.

Pitch your project, PITCH IT! Aim for fireworks and light shows on those first pages. If they turn away before they even get to the heart of your story then you have failed. Those first few pages are “the movie trailer” for the rest of your deck, and your entire script… better make them good.

Part 2: Over & Under Explanation. Soon.

Find me on Twitter at @lukesharp