In Any Pitch, You’re Selling More Than Your Idea
In your animation pitch meeting, it’s important to know that your cartoon idea isn’t the only thing being judged.
You are too.
The development executive is someone who will be working with you very closely on your project for many weeks and months. Even years. How you act during the pitch is indicative to what it’s like to work with you.
Picking up the option on a show concept is a lot like becoming engaged. It’s a commitment. The pitch was the date. It’s where you tell your best jokes, listen intently, and put your best foot forward in order to show why you and your idea are worth investing time and money.
If they like you, the relationship will blossom. From there, the network will spend thousands of dollars flying you to conventions, taking you out to fancy restaurants, introducing you to the right people, and buying you all sorts of stuff. (By “all sorts of stuff,” I mean, not much at all.) They might give you an office with a mini-fridge though!
If, during the pitch meeting, you come across as stubborn, disagreeable, or argumentative, you’ve greatly decreased your chances of getting engaged.
If an exec is asking you to change your character’s shoes from red to blue, ask yourself if that’s the battle you want to fight. Hint: It’s probably not.
Now, if your show is about fighting hats, and the network wants to change it to a show about singing hats, you ought to speak up for yourself.
Execs hope and expect you to push back on some of their suggestions and requests. They want to know that your passion for your project is real. Not that you’re so desperate to get in the door that you’ll strip away the essence of your show just to please them. Stick to your guns!
Here’s a secret: Half the time, the networks don’t even know what they truly want. Seriously. They want to be wowed by your pitch, but one day they’ll want fighting hats, and the next day, they’ll want singing hats. Next week, singing spoons will be the new hot thing!
So, in short, be flexible.
Agree to some changes (the ones that make sense). But don’t be afraid to push back and defend—in a thoughtful, non-aggressive way—the things that matter the most to you.
Have a conversation.
This is a team effort after all.
And even if they ultimately don’t want to develop your idea, they’ve left the door open for you to pitch another to them, because you’ve proven to be a likable person they wouldn’t mind working with!