Pitching 101

Pitching 101

If you keep pitching, and you keep working on your materials, and you keep listening closely to what people tell you--the good, the bad, and the inane--something quite extraordinary will happen.
July 23, 2013

I get asked a lot about pitching kids’ shows.  And here’s what I say:  They will tell you that you have too many songs.  They will say they need a boy show when yours is a girl show.  They will say it’s too old or too young or too short or too long.  They will say their team will discuss it and come back to you and maybe they will and maybe they won’t or maybe there is no team.  A few days or weeks or months will pass and then you’ll get an e-mail saying some version of “no” or, more likely, you just won’t hear anything at all.  And the person who was so nice to you at the meeting will vanish like a ghost and not recognize you at Kidscreen and you’ll feel sad about this for a long time. 

I tell people this because it’s usually true.  But then I say some more:  However, if you keep pitching, and you keep working on your materials, and you keep listening closely to what people tell you–the good, the bad, and the inane–something quite extraordinary will happen.  It won’t happen right away but, eventually, as if from out of the ether, you will get a request for a second meeting, or for some additional materials, or maybe for a budget and a schedule.  And this will lead, finally, to some form of a deal.  Then, suddenly, your heart will jump like a fish.  You will feel like the prom queen.  You’ll know that you did the right thing when you offered your work up to others.  And, in that moment of grace, all the “no’s” will blow away like dandelion seeds revealing your one happy and true “yes.”

Then, if anyone is still listening to me, I might add something like:  Of course it’s uncomfortable to go into a big scary building and present a photo ID and be asked to wear a sticker on your chest like you’re 5.  And of course it’s hard to share your most personal creative work with a stranger who’s mostly interested in whether or not your beloved show will ever sell toys.  And of course it sucks to get rejected again and again in multiple countries (and in multiple languages) usually at great financial cost.  But, hey, doesn’t it suck more if you allow the fear and discomfort of such experiences to prevent you from ever pitching the show that you were born to make?  Isn’t it better to get a little beaten up by the world than to never really fight for the thing you love and want the most?

And then I try not to say anything more.  Except I might say this:  Life is really short so if you have any plans to make your own stuff I seriously suggest you get started now.  You’re gonna be amazing.  I just know it.  Godspeed.


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