Channel your inner screenwriter and embrace the power of the 10-finger pitch.
Picture this: you have an idea, but you don’t know how to make it more ‘real’.
Enter the revolutionary 10-finger pitch used by screenwriters: a great way to put pen to paper with initial thoughts – and a process that I think works with any kind of concept you may have; be it a business idea, a social event, or indeed a film synopsis.
Screenwriting is different from most forms of the writing, particularly when compared to copywriting, editorials, fiction writing or blog posts. There is very little literary language in a screenplay – it’s more about constructing a series of scenes filled with ‘dramatic action’ to optimise cinema’s power and visual immersion.
As such, a screenwriter’s task is to combine familiarity and expectation, with a rhythm and pace that ‘flows’ in a seemingly effortless way. This is where the 10-finger pitch works its magic: Not only does it streamline the idea in your own mind, but it goes on to form the basis of your overall strategy.
Begin by drawing around your hand on a piece of paper (or finding an outline of a hand online).
Then complete the following:
- in the thumb, write your idea’s unique selling point;
- in the index finger the conflict to be resolved;
- the middle finger the end goal;
- the ring finger the ‘somebody’ (the character, or the target audience);
- and finally, in the little finger, add in the story genre (or the target market).
If this works and you’re happy with where the idea if going, draw an outline of your other hand on another bit of paper (or reverse the outline you found online so it looks like a pair of hands).
- write the main action in the thumb;
- the change that will need to take place in the index finger;
- the crisis moment (or potential obstacles) in the middle finger;
- the final confrontation (or the main challenge to overcome),
- and the final climax (or the resolution you would hope to bring about) in the little finger.
You’ll end up with something that looks a little bit like this:
Now step back and reflect on your idea. Does it work? What would optimise it further? Are you ready to write your business plan, event outline, or next blockbuster..?
I hope so 🙂
Note: I first learnt about the 10-finger pitch during a screenwriting refresher course hosted by the University of East Anglia. For further information about this and the full BA(Hons) in Scriptwriting and Performance, please visit the UEA website.