Screenwriting – The Ten Finger Pitch


James Montana Scripts by Bari Demers
My last assignment was about developing character outlines

NOTE: My assignments aren’t in chronological order. The order is not relevant in this case. Also, I would like to point out, you too can join in on the free class,” AN INTRODUCTION TO SCREENWRITING UEA (UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA)” if you’re interested in screenplay formats and outlines, to build a screenplay from the foundation. 

Please read about the instructors in my last assignment HERE.

Carrying on, my assignment today is the Ten Finger or Two Handed Pitch.  I’m using my screenplay MISSING UP NORTH to systematically point out the Ten Finger Pitch. 

MISSING UP NORTH is a drama about survival. A young hunter who wants to impress his peers, inadvertently goes missing from his hunting party, alone in the rugged harsh wilderness. Instead of being the hunter, he becomes the hunted, as a savage Grizzly hunts him down. This story means a lot, because it’s a true story about me, fearing for my life, as this savage beast hunted me down in the heart of the Chilcotin Country.

MISSING UP NORTH – 10 point outline :
1. Genre : Drama 

2. Main protagonist: A young Hunter goes on his first hunting trip with his friend. After all these years, he’s finally allowed to join the hunting party.

3. Goal: To prove he’s capable of pulling his weight and hunting in a harsh environment.

4. Obstacle: He’s becomes lost with knowledge of a rogue Grizzly nearby.

5. Reason of the story : This is based on a true story about me, fearing for my life, completely lost in the harsh unforgiving wilderness of the Chilcotin Country, realizing an ornery Grizzly was systematically hunting me down. 
6. Young Hunter heads out on his new adventure, unaware of what awaits him in the next 48 hours.

7. The protagonist has complete trust in his friends judgement, not realizing the consequences of his actions.

8. The young Hunter is faced with the realization, he’s indeed lost. Unaware of the true dangers lying ahead, he’s confronted with the Grizzly, in the most frightening way possible. All he knows, he doesn’t want to die. 

9. It’s a true test of survival, racing against the threat of time, the harsh conditions of the wilderness and the impending danger of the Grizzly. 

10. Obstacle after obstacle, with death breathing down his neck, the only thing on this young hunters mind, is to stay alive.  The brute force of nature against the strong “Will to Live”. 

In number Ten, I’m suppose to give the conclusion of what happens in the end, but I purposely left it out, because my screenplay is protected by the WGA registration, and most importantly I don’t want to give out the story. That’s what, going to the movies is all about.

You can READ more about protecting your screenplay HERE. I highly suggest you do so before screenplay submissions. 

Anyway.  There you have it.  My 10 Point Outline – MISSING UP NORTH

Please follow me here for a continuation of our screenplay studies and my stories from dreams to reality. Join the FREE program too, if you want to know more about the structure, format and layout of a screenplay.


Photo of me on top of Knox Mtn Kelowna,BC
My Story  

The reason I find this an invaluable source of material, is simply because, I started off as a self taught screenwriter. The only education in this field was my course on literature during two years of college studies at Okanagan College. Believe you me, my first screenplay was a horrendous mis-match of what NOT to do. After sevens years of trial and error of screenplay submissions, I learned the hard way of making a nice polished screenplay. I suggest you take as many courses that you can in the field and of course, when comes along FREE, take it ! 

I’m taking this screenplay course because of two reasons, first and foremost, it’s FREE and secondly, I’m always checking to see if there’s something I missed. 
But there’s one thing you can’t change, and that’s the “human preference factor”. No matter what you do, always expect a high rejection rate when submitting your screenplay. It could be as simply as the person who’s reading your story, may not suit the favourable genre agents are looking for. 

Also, don’t do what I started off by doing. 

Don’t tackle science-fiction screenplays ,because overall they are considered the most expensive to make in the filming industry. This is why you see most screenwriters who want their scifi thriller to hit the screen, end up making it on their own. They’ll get backers with a lot of money in their pockets, ready to invest in the movie.  

Myself.  I haven’t figured that out. 

Good example is screenwriter and producer Neill Blomkamp.  Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, he pursued his dreams, when his family moved to Vancouver, B.C.   After Vancouver Film School, his first break was working on the TV series of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s Stargate franchise.  Finally, he was ready to make blockbuster science-fiction movies (all, which I truly enjoy) such as, District 9, Elysium and his latest, Chappie.  

Check out his credits and amazing accomplishments! 

As character Dr Gillian Taylor (played by actress Catherine Hicks) of the Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home would say,”So you see, that, as they say, is that.”
Making a short screenplay about your personal experiences is most likely the way to go.  A story that pops out as unique  or a real event. Like my screenplay, MISSING UP NORTH.  

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By Bari Demersscreenwriter and freelance writer