John August, writer of The Nines and Corpse Bride, has a blog which he updates now and again with interesting stuff about screenwriting and the movie industry in general. Today he updated it with a post which describes how he and Jodran Mechner (writer, game designer) pitched the Prince of Persia movie to studios. In order to sell their idea to the studio executives they used footage from the actual game, which he says isn’t common, but it worked.
Most movie pitches don’t involve video, but with PoP, most of the studio executives weren’t familiar with the game at all, so it became an important way to introduce them to both the franchise and the world. As Jordan notes in his post, this trailer doesn’t really tell the story of the movie, but it does give a sense of the characters and style: the dashing prince’s acrobatics, the devoted priestess/princess, the dagger with its time-reversing slickness.
Jordan and I pitched seven studios over two days. Each time, the presentation was pretty much identical.
1. Introductions. Apologies for keeping us waiting. (1 minute)
2. John hyping Jordan’s prestigious videogame background. (1:00)
3. Play the video. (2:10)
4. Jordan describes the world of the Persian empire, using artwork. (:30)
5. John pitches Prince Dastan, using artwork of him. (:30)
6. John and Jordan alternate pitching story, introducing character/prop artwork as new things come up. (6:00)
7. Questions about story, tone and scale. “Somewhere between Pirates and Raiders. It’s not Lawrence of Arabia.”(3:00)
8. Promises that they’ll follow up. (1:00)
Altogether, we could get through the pitch in less than 20 minutes. Disney liked it, and sent us to Jerry Bruckheimer’s company, who bought it from Jordan. The film comes out next May.
Below is the footage that they used:
August says that we should be getting a trailer for the film shortly, and there have been hints we could see one next month.