Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ONE SHEETS

I've been reading a few discussions online recently about One Sheets, or as I call them One Shits, as people prepare for this year's LSWF. You can probably tell by my pet name for them I'm not a fan. In fact I think they're a giant waste of time and effort. Here's two very good reasons why...

Reason One -  What are producers and directors actually looking for from a one page pitch? Are they looking to see how talented you are as a graphic designer? Are they looking to be cheered up by a nice visual? Or do they want to know if the person sending them the one sheet can write?

That's looking at it simply, they really want to know three things; can you write, is the idea any good and can they work with you? And that's all they want to know. That's all you should be concentrating on. Forget designing one sheets, the only thing your reader is interested in is the pitch, not how prettily you can draw. The picture isn't going to sell your idea, your pitch is. If the pitch isn't up to standard, or more importantly of interest, then the picture isn't going to sway things. So why include it?

Reason Two - What does adding a picture to your pitch actually say to the producer or director? It says you're probably trying to hide a poorly written pitch, or a terrible idea, with an illustration intended to distract. It's saying to them that even YOU don't believe your writing is strong enough to stand out on its own without a picture to accompany it. If they think you don't believe in your writing then why should they? After all if your pitch is to do its job it'll put pictures of your idea in the readers mind anyway, they don't need a visual prompt to help them out.

It also says you have specific visual ideas of how you want your project to eventually look. And that's not your job. That's what directors, set builders/designers, etc, are employed for. Illustrating your pitch only tells the producer/director that you have very strong ideas about how you want your work look and it may put them off working with you. After all they are looking for someone who will be easy to work with, who will happily take on board their ideas and be OK with the fact their original idea will eventually change and evolve as others add their input. A picture can easily say you know exactly what you want and you're not willing to change.

From my experience a one page pitch, with your idea written on one side and blank on the other, is the best way to go. I've been offered feature commissions, been invited in to chat to TV people, who are now earmarking me for episodes of their shows, all because my one page pitches did their job. And there wasn't an illustration in sight. A good one page pitch doesn't distract from your idea, shows the reader if you can write or not and tells them you are serious about your writing and ideas.

2 comments:

Plough Your Own Furrow said...

You written anything on what to cover in the one sheet?

Dominic Carver said...

I will be writing a blog about it Wednesday. Keep 'em peeled.