A thought or two in under 3 minutes on how to find inspiration darling. To watch the video please click HERE
A thought or two on making my vision board for 2016 darling. To watch the video please click HERE
We did it. We went up the mountain with high hopes, and came down with a pitch. Yay! And I’m proud to say its concise and simple, relatable, and really shows how this story could go on for a long long time. All the things the experts will tell you it needs to be in order to set your show up for success.
But in keeping with my vein of honesty, I will confess that the part in the middle, the part where we actually had to do the work to get to this simple pitch, felt at times like a full scale war with the brain.
We were on our retreat for less than 72 hours but it felt more like 3 weeks. In looking at it after the fact, it is amazing how what seems so obvious and clear now, could be so incredibly elusive before, but as I mentioned in the past, fear is one seriously wiley beast, and it lives for confusing the process.
The thing is, creating a pitch forces you to answer some pretty serious questions: “In one sentence, what is your show really about?” “How is it relatable to the world at large?” and “Why is anyone going to care enough to watch for 7 seasons?” And oh, by the way, the answers to these questions better be seriously juicy and original, because the competition is, well, its best to not even look at the reality of that, because you likely have better odds of winning Power Ball than getting a show picked up, but no pressure.
I’m finding that the key is to simply be more stubborn than your fear (and reality). When you begin your descent into boiling your show down to its most essential component, everything you’ve ever loved about your show, every storyline or idea you have ever wanted to express, will pop into your head simultaneously, and like a bunch of attention starved little kids they will literally be screaming that they are the most important, and although you love them all, you can only pick one. Which one is truly the most important? Which one is large enough to not back you into a corner, but still specific enough to be uniquely your own?
This is the question that has the potential to make you insane, and its also the reason why not everyone can succeed at being a writer. This is what separates the men from the boys, and the women from the girls. Based on what I’ve read, virtually all writers suffer this same process, including the greats, it seems the only difference is that the great writers, the ones we know, never give up. They keep at it like we did, looking at the possibilities from every angle, and suffering the angst of knowing deep down that none of these angles are working, maybe this idea is a turkey, but you keep at it anyway, and then just when you think you can’t go at it anymore, it hits, and you know its right, and all is happy again.
The unexpected outcome of it all is that we didn’t just come down the mountain with a pitch, we came down with a much clearer understanding of our own story, one that makes it much easier to do everything from script rewrites, to creating cohesive marketing materials and on and on. Oh and fear, well, its amazing how much fear goes away when you replace it with a solid, well thought out pitch, that is there for you to read whenever you sink into self doubt.
Which leads me to…
Industry Tip #36
When it comes to answering the central question “what is your show about?” be willing to sit in the question and the subsequent discomfort for as long as it takes to get the answer you know in your gut is right.
Industry Tip #37
Answering the central question “what is your show about? is a must.
And this week I will leave you with a bit of fun, compliments of a Jerry Seinfeld interview with the New York Times that exposes the absolute ridiculousness of the writing process. Thanks Jerry and the NYT. Much more fun to come.
A few thoughts on mountains and not giving up darling. Just incase your January was in need of a boost. Click HERE to watch the video.
I’ve got to be 100% honest though, pitching has always scared the daylights out of me. In fact, in the past its been the thing that has stopped me in my tracks. I can create until the cows come home, but when it comes to the selling part I choke. The whole idea that you walk into a room of strangers and have essentially minutes to express effectively what it has taken years to create, just minutes to make them fall in love with your “baby”, and the fact that if you don’t succeed, you are now officially staring directly into the face of a dead end, this is the stuff of those crazy bad dreams we’ve all had. The ones where you find yourself in the middle of a room, in front of every single person you’ve ever known, naked, and every time you go to speak, only a squeak comes out. You know the ones.
Anyway, rest assured fear will not stop me this time. Its not that I’ve conquered it, its that this time I’m seeing it for what it actually is, fear, rather than all elaborate stories and excuses I created in my head to make it look like the obstacles were real. Nope. Its just good old fashioned fear and all there is to do with fear is stare it directly in the face and say “so!”
Already the act of facing it has had me see something I have never seen before: that I’ve been putting all the focus and pressure on whether those on the receiving end are going to like the project or not, like a teenager who just wants to get picked for the team and doesn’t care by who, when the real focus should be on the challenge of finding the right collaborators who are actually looking for something similar to what we have and can help take this project to the next level.
Going out with a pitch is kind of like deciding to start dating. You have to meet lots of people. You tell them your stories and they tell you theirs and you either click or you don’t. There is no right or wrong here. No good enough, or not good enough. Its just about being authentic, open, sharing what you and your project are, and sooner or later finding the right fit.
Like all my revelations, this occurs to me now as more of a “duh” than an “aha.” Why didn’t I see this before? But all I can say to that is that fear is a wiley, tricky little beast. It lies. Regardless, I see it now, and for me, it takes all the pressure off. I now feel supercharged to get out there and share what we have and see who our future partners will be.
Which leads me to…
Industry Tip #35
When pitching, remember that you aren’t there to sell your show, you are there to find your perfect team. Do your research and meet as many people as you can.
And without further ado, we are off for our retreat, but this week I will leave you with this great video produced by Film Courage (a great site btw) where Marc Zicree explains the art of pitching a movie idea using the rule of 3. His advice is obviously directed to us entertainment people, but I think it could apply to a lot of other industries as well. Enjoy.
Hope that 2016 brings you all manner of wonderful adventures. Have sprung back into vlog life with a thought or two on the importance of believing. To watch the video please click HERE