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Guillermo del Toro’s Secrets to Successful Film Pitch: Pitch For Yourself, Bring the Passion

There's a whole Wikipedia entry on del Toro's unrealized projects.

Guillermo Del ToroLACMA: Art and Film Gala presented by Gucci, Los Angeles, USA - 03 Nov 2018

Guillermo del Toro

John Salangsang/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

In a town where a single pitch meeting can make or break a lifelong dream, Guillermo del Toro is among the fortunate whose vision has repeatedly been realized.

Though he took home the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars in 2017 for “The Shape of Water,” not all of del Toro’s ideas have been so successful. Just take a look at the Wikipedia entry “Guillermo del Toro’s unrealized projects.”

Del Toro was among the industry creatives who spoke to Syfy Wire for a recent article featuring tips for pitching scripts. His advice was simple: bring the passion and pitch for yourself.

“I find that there is one secret and one secret only to pitching, and it’s exactly the same advice you get when you fail rather than when you succeed at pitching,” del Toro told Syfy Wire. “I find that I never, ever, ever think of the people listening. I pitch to get excited myself. I find that if in the pitch I get excited and enthusiastic, I start adding details and I get really caught on the tale.

“I have now for 20-something years pitched successfully and unsuccessfully and what I’ve learned is that the only time it comes alive is if I am completely caught up.”

Among del Toro’s failed projects was a third “Hellboy” installment. The director said in a 2014 Reddit AMA that he had “gone through basically every studio and asked for financing, and they are not interested,” out of concern the movie would not be financially viable.

In addition to “The Shape of Water,” del Toro is best known for the 2006 fantasy film “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

Del Toro’s latest project is “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” an adaptation of the kids’ book that he produced that’s currently in theaters. Director André Øvredal shared similar advice with Syfy Wire as his producer.

“You have to stay true to yourself because in the end, you’re going to make the movie that you’re going to make,” he said. “That’s the movie you have to present because if you go in and present something that is not instinctually correct for you, you are going to be lying in a way.”

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