Filmmakers tend to develop several film projects at the same time. The reason is simple; some projects never get made, so it makes sense to have several in the works – even if one falls, another may get produced.

The importance of a pitch

So why do film projects fall? There are as many reasons as there are projects, but when a filmmaker gets an idea for his next movie, he seldom can – or wants to – hire a team of professionals to make it happen. Instead, he has to step out of the artist’s role and turn into a salesman knocking on the doors of the financiers. These could be producers, tv-channel executives, institutes offering grants or potential crowdfunders. To this end, the filmmaker has to turn his idea into a sales pitch. The term comes from baseball, and by pitching the filmmaker throws the ball to the financiers.

If the project doesn’t convince the financiers, it won’t get made. Therefore, preparing a convincing pitch is one of the most important stages of filmmaking.  At its shortest, a pitch can be just one sentence, such as “Jaws in space” for Ridley Scott’s Alien, but usually it tells at least the film’s genre and the story in short.

Mood reel enlivening the pitch

If the filmmaker has enough time and passion, he can prepare a mood reel to better convey his vision. Mood reels are seldom seen in public, for typically they contain copyright-protected material, such as clips from other movies and mood-related music. They are not fine art, but one of the tools the filmmaker uses to push his project forward. Therefore they get forgotten after fulfilling their purpose.

I’ve long wanted – and still do – to make a short film about Eino Leino‘s poem The Dark One, which has for over a century the been the favorite piece of melancholic Finnish youngsters. Since the poem is most likely not familiar to everyone, I prepared a mood reel where I combined my two favorite adaptations of the poem; Hannu Huuska‘s recitation with Petri Hiltunen‘s comic book art. 

This piece was also my first attempt at creating motion comics, which I intend to investigate further in the future. Even though the result is a bit rough, it felt like a pity to just bury it on my hard drive, so I put it on YouTube for all to see. I hope it will introduce the art of Leino, Huuska and Hiltunen to new audiences in the years to come. And who knows – maybe one day it help me fulfill my dream of making The Dark One as a short film.