Now that I’m in full swing in putting together my project for this semester, a short film currently called “The Last Race,” I have my work cut out for me in trying to find and bring on other creative people who are a match for the project.
In the past few weeks, I’ve had more than my fair share of opportunities to practice a skill that is fundamental for producers: pitching. Some argue that pitching is the most important skill a producer needs to have. It’s the ability to sell yourself and your project, to convince others that what you’re doing is important enough to support or be a part of.
I’ve been looking for a writer and a director for the project, and my approach has been to say yes to every opportunity to speak with or meet someone who might be interested in working with me. In doing so, it seems sometimes like I never stop talking about the story, whether it’s in a one-on-one meeting with another student to discuss the current draft of the script or in a full-on pitch session to classrooms of students.[flickr id=”6875903173″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
Producers can learn a lot when they pitch. They can see what’s working in their story, as well as what isn’t. For example, after pitching my project to the other Creative Producing students, a number of them raised an objection to an aspect of the ending that to me makes perfect sense, but to others doesn’t quite translate. And it’s a good bet that if this group is getting hung up on it, the audience will, too. Sometimes we really benefit from having a fresh pair of eyes look over our work, to see what we might have been missing from keeping our nose to the grindstone for so long.
Pitching can be a daunting task. It takes a lot of courage to stand in front of a group of people who are often critical, as they have usually been trained in some way to look for weak points, and tell your story to them in a way that is engaging, that brings them seamlessly into your story world. For me, it’s one of the most difficult parts of being a producer, but it’s also the most satisfying.
There’s nothing quite like sharing a story you believe in.