Team-ups are prevalent throughout the history of mankind. Aristotle famously said that, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
He may have been on to something.
Whether in crime-fighting, cinema, or even professional wrestling, alliances can be extremely effective. Look at the nWo, The Beatles, or Batman and Robin. Effective and entertaining.
It’s not unusual for studios to take pitches from duos, or groups (like Man of Action, the creators of Ben 10, Big Hero 6, Generator Rex, and many others). If the concept is a must-have, they’ll work with a team, despite the extra cost.
If you’ve partnered with someone who brings talent and passion to the table, and you have great creative chemistry, then you obviously both should attend your animation pitch.
Have a plan.
Decide ahead of time who is going to lead the presentation, who is going to say what, and who is going to answer certain questions or cover certain topics. Few things are as uncomfortable to watch as a “team” correcting one another during a pitch. If your partner is the primary artist, let him or her talk about the art and design of your cartoon. If you are the primary writer, you lead the discussion about the characters and world.
There are advantages and disadvantages of pitching as a tandem. On one hand, you have your combined expertise, energy, and enthusiasm, which is wonderful. On the other hand, you’ve doubled the chances of dooming the deal by saying something stupid.
In her book, Good in a Room, Stephanie Palmer mentions her two favorite subtle signals she teaches her clients to agree on before any meeting: “Stop talking” and “save me.” You and your partner may want to think of your own secret signals. Just don’t go overboard, or you’ll have the exec wondering why you keep saying the word “rutabaga” or your friend keeps scratching himself.
Pro tip: When it’s your partner’s turn to talk, look at her, not the studio executive. Whenever she speaks, your partner is the most interesting and funniest person on the planet! If you can convey that, the buyers will think so too. Focus your attention on your partner, so the execs will know to do the same.
Do you know someone who is great at creating 3D models? Or someone who’s a sharp writer? If it’s someone you trust, ask for help.
Trade favors if you need to.
Once you’ve gathered a handful of talented friends, convince them to help you with your pitch! Offer to help them with their animation pitches too.
Then everyone’s a winner!
Bartering. It’s not just for ancient Mesopotamian tribes anymore.