How To Build A Proposal
How to build a proposal, or what we call a pitch deck. So a pitch deck is super super important to develop a relationship with a client that shows what your capabilities are and what you can do for them. First, before we get into the weeds here, I'm gonna start with what I see is the objective of a really good pitch deck. With a proposal we're basically saying to a brand or an agency that we have this story that we think fits with their brand that we're trustworthy, and that we have the qualifications that mean we can actually do the work that we're proposing. It's helpful to keep in mind that often the person receiving the deck is not the final decision maker. So your pitch deck needs to look professional enough and be concise enough for that person to feel comfortable handing it off to their boss. Look, most people don't want to risk their career growth for a wild project, with a stranger. They need something that looks good, looks so good that they'll bet on it. They can take it to ...
their boss. And if it goes sideways, for some weird reason, they can say it was so good. Look how good it was. How are we supposed to know it was gonna go sideways? They need plausible deniability. It's what makes a risky decision feel less risky. If they're gonna go to bat for you you need to look vetted and ready to go. Besides needing to feel professional, it needs to share your story in a new and fresh way. So using images and a well, thought out description, we can get brands to sponsor our projects. All right, so we're gonna talk about what to include. Let's start with the title of the project and the synopsis of the project. Are you gonna walk across Canada? Are you gonna climb Maru, which is a giant mountain. Are you going to go on a surf trip to Baja? Like what are you shooting? Let's include that in one or two sentences at the top of the page this is like the click bait title of the whole shebang. You need to hook people so that they'll continue on through. You need to get 'em right away. Otherwise they're not even gonna look at the rest of the stuff. It's no different than a YouTube video or an Instagram post, you gotta hook people. All right, so I wanna walk you through a real world example that I've made. This one is called Western Enduro. So there's the title of the project. And then my synopsis is mule packing and riding back country peaks in Montana. And you can see by the image that we're clearly riding mountain bikes. This is a template that I've made. So it says a story by James Thomas, but actually this is an example template that I've made. So it's by me. The next segment of your pitch deck should be this story, so this should echo your synopsis, but should be just a little more meat and should ask a direct question. So when you're thinking of the story, what I want you to kind of run through in your brain is what did you want to experience? And, like, what did you wanna learn? What did you kind of come away with when you thought about this story? This is kind of gonna help you frame the question, so in my example here, the story that I put is it's about mountain biking and how it's the most fun way to experience the outside, but that it's often portrayed, as you know, for professionals only. And that I wanted to change that. I wanted to see if we could actually get up in the mountains without having to be a super athlete, and see if that was possible. And the way that I was going to solve that was with mules. Yeah, so I was gonna do something a little bit unconventional, a little bit fresh, and get up in the mountains. So what I wanted to learn is can we go in the mountains with mules and mountain bikes? Can we avoid all the pain of peddling up these unattainable peaks without having to be a super athlete? And, yeah, is it gonna be fun? Are we going to have the comradery and the excitement that you have on normal mountain biking trips? So for the next segment, what we're gonna want to add is a concept images page. You can design this, however you want. I like to do one big bold image that kind of has the establishing shot if you will, of my project. So, for me, for this project here on Western Enduro, it's the mountains of Montana. So, I've got this wonderful image of the mountains of Montana. And then next up, you're gonna you're gonna have, I have a couple pages, you can just have one, of a collage of images of what the, the project's gonna look like. Now, if you're doing a photo project you kind of want these to be images that are close to what you're gonna shoot. Maybe some closeups far aways, you know, images that you are going to use to get kinda like a shot list of what you're gonna make. But if you're doing a video that's obviously not gonna be the case and if you're writing a project, you know, like an essay, then that's not gonna be the case either. So those can just give a feel. Another important note about here is my first pitch deck I made with all of my images. Now you can imagine when you come up with a project that you wanna do and get funding for, you've probably not done that project before. So your images are gonna be a very [Expletive] representation of what you want to do. So feel free. This is not plagiarism, in this case, to use other people's images as kind of a mood board to explain what you want to do. Now, you're not publishing this and you're not gonna make money off of this pitch deck. So I think in this case, it's okay. And it is industry practice to kind of grab images from all over the internet, screenshot them, throw 'em on a proposal. So don't worry about that right now. The next thing we want to include is a list of what you plan to give the client. In the creative industry, we call this deliverables. It's a list of the value they can expect by being part of the project, so, for instance, if you have a large social following, how many posts are you gonna do? How much is your social following? You can list that there. You can also list if you're gonna make a video, if you're gonna write an essay, if you're gonna do a photo set. All of that goes here, so it's very, very clear and, and succinct what you are going to give them for being part of the project. This needs to be kind of like the impact statement, you've already shown them all the flowery fun stuff, now this is like, "Hey, brass tax, this is what I'm going to give you." Next up, what we're gonna want to add is a short bio. Now this isn't here to, like, tell your whole life story. It's gonna be short, to the point, what I like to do is just list kind of your experience and maybe your excitement level for doing this. This is just made to make you look like this is all you've always wanted to do in life, and you're doing it. I also sometimes put my skillset like you can see right here, I've listed on this fake guy named James Thomas my skillset. He's a producer filmmaker and writer. That just lets people know like, oh, this is what this guy can do. Kinda reiterates, like, that's his role in the crew? And then I usually do some links to the past work I've done, and, if I have it, immediate kit. If there's other team members, for instance, on this one, on my demo here I've got another fake team member called Jason Alton. He's a director in D O P, so I've put his skillset there and his links. And so, again, all these are supposed to be really nice and short. Now, I've even included some people who are talent, so one's a writer, one's a writer and adventurer, and then another one as a DP. These are examples here, so you can add in, kind of team members that are B team members even shorter than your primary crew. But this does it, it kind of rounds out who they're working with and makes them more comfortable, like as if they know you, they know your role. then they know who's sitting in what seat and what they can expect from each person. And finally, I like to end with a thank you. Like I just like to say thank you, thanks for your time, I can't wait to chat soon. So it kind of insinuates that not only am I appreciative of them, but I'm looking forward to continuing the conversation, my name, my contact. Now, if you have an agent, you should list that as well. If you don't have an agent, don't list that. Obviously you don't wanna list somebody that is not, to just make street credibility. But I list my agent because I have one. So as you get further in your career, you'll have other contacts to list in there as well. But the goal here is to give them the next step, you know, I wanna chat, and here's my information in a very subtle way. So that's it. That's what a pitch deck looks like from my end. That's how I've built them. I like to build these on Apple Keynote. And this one here that I've just showed you is on Google slides. It's just the simplest way to do things. If you're more of a designer, you can get complicated go InDesign, Photoshop, whatever you want to do. But what matters is that you save them as a PDF. I always love to link to them because I wanna do real image-heavy non pixelated images. I link to them in my email with my pitch deck kit. I don't actually send them this large, over 10 megabyte file that they're gonna hate downloading, I just link to it. Then they can look at it, right on my Dropbox and away they go. So that's how I share a pitch deck. And yeah, if you just make sure that you're clear, you add good images, you tell a good story and you don't waste anybody's time, they're gonna think that you're professional, and they're gonna wanna do this project with you. What I've just walked you through and why I keep referencing this fake person. Why I've created a fake pitch deck, here, is not because I don't wanna show you guys my actual pitch deck. But because I've created a pitch deck kit which is three templates and a way more in depth design guide that goes into the design a lot more than we want to do in this workshop. And so if you're interested, you can check that out on my website, yeah, and take a look. It's Isaac johnston.co. You can find it.