Pitching Yourself

On Tuesday I watched the first episode of the reality show On The Lot. Supposedly, through a series of Survivor-like eliminations, they’re going to discover a great new director and let them direct a film. To get on the show people had to submit a film, so they already know that everyone involved can produce a viable product. The competitions seem to focus on other related skills. Tuesday’s show focussed on giving a "pitch," from a one-line premise they were given, to a group of industry people who would judge them on their idea and presentation skills.

I was shocked at how horrible most of the candidates were at selling themselves. Instead of talking excitedly about how fantastic all their ideas were, most of them started with an apology or communicated how little they thought of the premise they were given.

It really brought into focus how terrible most creative people are at selling themselves. If you can’t convince someone how fantastic what you’re doing is, why should they even bother to check it out?

Even if what you are doing is complex and layered, shouldn’t you be able to clearly and enthusiastically describe in a way that would make someone want to learn more about it? Isn’t it worth a few minutes to figure our how to describe what you do to other people?

One of the judges on the show said, It costs about a $100,000 a day to film a major motion picture. When you are a pitching a story to a company, they have to feel like they can trust you with that much money. Even if they like the story, they might not trust you.

Don’t apologize for what you’re doing! Let other people know how great
it is. They may decide they don’t want it, but they’ll walk away
feeling like you know what you’re doing. Get so good at selling yourself that everyone you talk to would trust you with their money!

Here’s an idea, pretend you are sitting across from a New York Times reporter. He/She is bored, doesn’t know who you are but has to interview you, He/She says, "So, what exactly do you do?"

Answering this question is the key to getting an audience to trust you.

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