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Tom Watts gives his Top 3 Tips for pitching your story

Hey, I’m Tom Watts and I’m head of production and lead cinematographer for BooksOffice – and I’m really looking forward to see what you come up with for me to film. I’m already excited by what I’ve seen from the authors and stories on BooksOffice – and I know there’s so much more to come.

Whether it’s a music video, a commercial or a movie, every project starts with ideas and it’s how those ideas are written down that creates a compelling story. It could be a written brief, a lyric or the text of a book, but in every case the story’s picture is painted through the visualisation that comes from those words.

Narrative is the home of cinematography, it’s where written language meets cinematic language and it’s where I’m happiest. I’ve worked with many top music artists and brands but there’s nothing like the buzz of being on set and bringing a good script to life. BooksOffice is exciting because it gives unseen stories the chance to come alive on screen and in a new democratic way. The audience chooses what they want to see turned into productions, rather than the traditional top down approach and I know we will create stronger work because of it. The best narrative work currently being released is based on books and for good reason, they’re written by people who care deeply about the story and as a film maker that’s exciting material to work with.

So what would my three top tips be for you to help me ‘see’ your story?


Develop a short powerful synopsis

I need to be able to easily understand your story just as audiences will need to be able to easily understand the synopsis of your film or series when they are deciding whether or not to invest time into watching it.  Take the time to craft a concise tantalising logline and give people a reason to be excited about your project.


Location, location, location

Where is your story taking place and why? Treat the location as a character in you story as that’s what it will be on screen. Location has one of the biggest impacts on the overall look and feel of your film or series. Is your location saying what you want it to?


Be bold

One of the biggest strengths of BooksOffice is that we don’t have timid studio execs worried about doing anything risky and stifling creatively. We have the freedom to break boundaries and tell stories that haven’t been given the chance they deserve. Don’t be afraid to do something original or something different. Challenge my senses, be dynamic and creative. Whatever your core message is, approach it with the desire to do it better than anyone else. Whether it’s romance, comedy, adventure, horror, do it with the intention of making it the best viewer experience it can be. Then we’ll be on the same wavelength.

Want more on Cinematography?

Understanding the art of cinematography

Being aware of the immensely important role of your cinematographer is invaluable in the journey of taking your story from book to screen. This book is Tom’s recommended reading  for you to get a sense of the artistry involved – and how your written language can speak to the language of the screen more effectively.