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Old 04-23-2014, 08:51 PM   #1
HouseStark
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How to Write an Elevator Pitch

I found this article to be informative. While it's for screenplays, I think it can easily be applied to comic book pitches. It could really help boil your story down to the bare essentials for your pitch package.

Part 1
Part 2

Anyone else have any links on pitching?

Last edited by HouseStark; 04-23-2014 at 09:04 PM. Reason: Title change
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:32 AM   #2
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Its most definitely helpful for comic creators because the pitching doesnt end when you get published. In fact thats just the start of it. Having a short, interesting answer to the question "what's it about?" is an absolute necessity because the question is going to come up a LOT..
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:55 PM   #3
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Something Matt Hawkins wrote on his Facebook page about pitching.

Some pitching advice:

1) understand that no one will be that excited to read your pitch. This is because we read so many bad ones that the expectation is that it won't be good. If we're excited after we read it that's a good thing.

2) it may take a year for someone to read your pitch. Editors, writers, publishers, agents and managers are busy people. Proper follow up is once a month check in unless the person tells you differently. If they tell you check back in August and it's May then check back in August. Best thing is to use the same email thread. When I see I told someone something already there's a guilt factor to push it to the top of the list.

3) everything matters. Punctuation, grammar, spelling my name right...we get that you're sending it out broad but what you need to get is that when reading these things we're looking for a reason to say no. For this reason I encourage people NOT to use dialects in samples or pitches sent out.

4) keep it short. No one wants to read your 10,000 page story bible. Most places have submissions guidelines on what they want to see. These may differ from company to company. You should modify your pitches to target companies and give them what they're asking for. Again, as mentioned above we're looking for a reason to say no. The more you give, more likely find a reason.

5) know who's reading it. If you send me your children's super-hero romance story set in the Stone Age you clearly never researched what I'm interested in. Look at the companies that do material similar to what you're pitching.

6) have a logline. If you can't pitch your story idea in a couple sentences you're not cut out for this business. You have to be able to pitch your idea in less than a minute or two tops. Why? Because you need to grab people's interest. Think Tank is the story of a slacker genius who designs weapons for the military but doesn't want to do it anymore...but they won't let him quit because he's too valuable. It's okay to use other existing franchises to explain your concept.

7) understand that no you're not the only one with that idea. It is so common to receive multiple very similar pitches. Why? Zeitgeist. You got the idea because you saw X movie, read Y book, saw Z internet meme and x+y+z = the high concept core of your idea. This is fine, btw. Just execute better.

8) less plot, more character. Convoluted plots are bad and don't make your story smarter. Twists are great, but don't overcomplicate. Every great existing movie out there can be pitched in less than a minute and you get the basic idea. Try pitching Alien then try Prometheus. Alien = simple plot, great characters and execution. Prometheus less so. When you pitch, pitch the character, who they are and why we care. That's more important than your beat be beat plot.

9) be prepared to "hurry up and wait". If someone responds asking you to tweak your pitch with some notes you get to do this. Just because you turn something back around in 24 hours the person reading it might take months to get back to you. Variety of reasons, low priority, busy, whatever. In this situation when someone engages you at all, ask them how you should follow up.

10) be courteous and understand that you don't really matter to the person on the other end (yet). Hard pill to swallow, but humble goes a long way. If you get angry, that's understandable. Happens to me every week. Go work out, walk around the block, yell in your car...whatever. Taking that out even partially on whoever is reading your thing just gives them a reason to ignore you.

11) pitch verbally to friends and family. If they get lost or ask questions that's YOUR fault not theirs. Even if you answered the question they have already, it wasn't clear enough. You should listen to these and adjust. If you feel like you did answer that question, answer it twice in two different ways If you see people tune out, remember where it is and try and adjust. Again, keep it short. Movie pitches are usually 10-15 minutes long. Don't do voices in verbal pitches.

12) thank the people that "pass" on your project. Most people don't respond at all, they're giving you the courtesy of a no. It is okay to ask why, but if they don't respond to that don't follow up, let it go. If they give you a reason ask them if you can adjust and resubmit.

This is not a complete list just some things I think about.
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Old 04-25-2014, 05:10 PM   #4
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Good one, Paul!

Here another one from First Second Publishing.
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Old 04-25-2014, 05:21 PM   #5
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A few more:
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Old 06-01-2014, 03:12 PM   #6
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the elevator pitch is a classic. for any aspiring writer, this is a must, since you can't sell anything without an excellent pitch.
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Old 06-27-2014, 01:19 PM   #7
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Here's another:

Robert Kirkman Shares his Pitching Advice
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Old 06-27-2014, 01:27 PM   #8
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Although Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling is geared toward writing your overall story, most of the 22 rules apply to pitches as well.
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Old 07-16-2014, 07:27 PM   #9
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This is from Mark Waid on the Thirllbent Blog about the pitching to him at SDCC 2014:
"Things to bear in mind that will help you immensely:

Know what a story is. A story is not an anecdote. (A little girl gets taken by a tornado to a magical realm, the end.) A story is someone wants something, and something is in his or her way. (A little girl gets taken by a tornado to a magical realm and the only way to get home is to defeat an evil witch. An explorer is searching for the Ark of the Covenant, but so are the Nazis. A scientist craves recognition, but he knows his breakthrough discovery could endanger the world.)

Little Miss Muffet is not a story. Little Miss Muffet is a setup and no punchline. Girl wants to eat, spider frightens her away, the end. It becomes a story if, win or lose, she (or the spider) takes some sort of action and ends up different in some way as a result. Conflict/resolution. Thats a story."
Here's the original blog post.

http://thrillbent.com/blog/thrillben...-at-our-panel/
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:26 PM   #10
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Hello, everyone! First post!

Recently I've been reading Steven Forbes' Bolts and Nuts. His "Writing the pitch" article is very good. There he mentions Lee Nordling's article on pitching, but the links are broken and I can't find it anywhere on the web.

I think Nordling's article is called "What It Takes to Sell Your Pitch". Does anybody have it or know where to find it?
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:58 PM   #11
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Unfortunately, the links are broken, and the backup links I had are also gone, and I don't have permission to republish them. (I already asked.)
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Old 08-13-2014, 12:07 AM   #12
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Thanks for the reply! I guess I'll have to live without that one for now.

The "Pitching to anthologies" thread over at the Writer Showcase forum is very informative too, by the way.
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Old 08-13-2014, 01:04 AM   #13
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I actually have the articles saved. I can email them to you... just PM me.

but you can find them here, here and here.
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Old 08-13-2014, 06:48 AM   #14
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Paul, you freakin rock. I always forget about the "way back machine".

No idea why he wouldn't want folk still reading his articles. Maybe he's got a book planned or something? Scratch that- wouldn't you use the articles as link bait TO your book listing? Eh, some people surprise me with their lack of vision.
I wrote a vastly popular article a few years back, related to marketing, that apparently saved at least 20 folk (those are the ones who spoke up, anyway- the article got hundreds of hits a day) from spending buttloads of money they really shouldn't spend (a con artist was involved). When I closed the site down, I let a buddy publish the article on his site and set up a redirect until Google picked it up in the rankings. At least then folk can still get the info they need.
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:09 PM   #15
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Thanks a lot, Paul!! I didn't even know about the way back machine!
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