Monday, April 09, 2007

The Lost Art Of Pitching...Not Baseball

Pitch is actually quite impressive for such a little word. Look it up in on online dictionary (only kind of dictionary I’ve used for the last eight years) and you’ll get about twenty definitions. If you count urban slang then you’ll get about ten more, half of them probably British.

For the sake of clarity, I’m talking about pitching creative ideas. As aspiring screenwriters this is something that we will all have to do, and do well if we hope to sell our material. Old timers who have had experience in the industry tell me it’s a “lost art”. I always felt that term made it sound so mysterious, as if pitching as it was originally understood is buried somewhere next to Atlantis.

Pitching must be a lost art, because I’m not too good at it, and most screenwriters I know aren’t too good either. Sure, we can all convey our ideas, but it’s not the same as what those old timers talk about. They talk about going into a room and having a riveting conversation that turns strangers into family. By the ninetieth minute they’re on the edge of their seats and you’re on top of the table as you walk them through the same amazing experience the audience will have. Can people still do that? I know I can’t...not yet at least.

There was no doubt that my pitching muscle needed strengthening after what I would call my first official pitch session. All in all it went fairly well, but as the two men studied me for flaws I couldn’t escape that feeling that I wasn’t in control. It’s my pitch, my idea. I should be in total control, but their eyes, their gestures, and their comments began altering my idea and even how I felt about it. It’s a warm smothering feeling. I imagine it would be similar to making out with the facehugger from Alien.

I felt creatively stronger after the session, but I also realized that I still have a long way to go. In our world, pitching is an ability worthy enough to be a superpower. I hope writers aren’t passing up the opportunity to study this lost art.

Motherly Love

While I assure you that the conversation that influenced the comic was not nearly, annoying, while recently speaking to my mother, the questions regarding my life's current course inevitably came up. It's becoming a tradition as tried and true as the change of the seasons. The simple act of nature showing some kind of progress, albeit cyclical, is a reminder to those with something invested in my future to ask just what, exactly, my progress has been. I suppose blogging, drawing crappy comics, and writing movies is not quite the answer they're looking for, but then I could probably be rescuing babies from alligators in China and some naysayer would still find trouble with the fact that there was no ultimate point. It seems even the most heroic, even superheroes, are bound to this criticism.

So where then does that leave the indebted yet artistic twenty-somethings?

I shudder at the thought.

FYI: The 2nd part of "And So It Begins" will be posted this week. I'm not too sure there are people out there squirming with baited breath, but it never hurts to inflate one's importance.

Write On...