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.