I wrote three weeks ago about how much I enjoyed going to the table reading of the 10 short film scripts judged qualifiers for the next round of the Steeltown Film Factory's script contest. Today, I went to the Director's Pitch seminar, which brought back the script finalists. Two of scripts I thought were particularly good were among the five finalists:
"Lightweight" and "Roll the Dice"
The other three finalists were "The Losing End," "Making Arrangements" and "Anywhere but Here."
Each of the finalists had 20 minutes to pitch their projects to Pittsburgh natives active in the film/TV business: Jamie Widdoes (director 2 1/2 Men), Heide Waldbaum (technical production for Spiderman 2/3, Avatar) and Lisa Smith (The People Speak, Project Greenlight). These industry professionals would then evaluate the project and the pitch and choose three semi-finalists for the next part of the competition.
Going into the pitch, Carl Kurlander, who moderated the event, stressed the importance of using the pitch to sell yourself and your passion for the project as much as the project itself. This turned out to be very true: of the five presentations, the two strongest "sellers" became finalists. However, I have to add that the two strongest sellers also had the best scripts. Some of the other finalists seemed to wander a bit.
After the pitches and some initial feedback by the evaluators, they retired to discuss the projects in more detail, and returned later to name the winners:
"Anywhere But Here," "Lightweight" and "Roll the Dice"
At the end of March, there will be a third "competition" among these scripts, and Steeltown will select whether to help fund one, two or all three projects.