July 31, 2019 | The pitch: a phrase that strikes fear in many artist's hearts. But just because they're annoying doesn't mean they're not important: in fact, a good pitch can make or break various opportunities for any performing artist. If you have a big pitch coming up, want to up your networking game, or simply need some tips for if you meet an exec in an elevator, then keep reading to discover our top four pitch pointers.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you're pitching as a performing artist you need to, well, perform. The best way is through live performance: it will make the pitch that much more dynamic and will give the audience something tangible to remember you by. If you are an agent or company pitching on the artist's behalf, or if live performance isn't possible for some reason, have a video queued up and ready to go. Just remember that live is always better; we watch dozens of videos a day just scrolling through social media alone, so much so that the medium has lost a lot of its power. That being said, don't try to cram a showcase into a pitch session: keep it brief, so presenters get just a taste of what you're capable of.
2. Worry About the Whys
More than anything, a pitching artist should be able to answer the question of why. Why is your work important? Why should I invest in you? Why are you better than the competition? Having tangible answers prepared beforehand to these abstract questions will make a pitch session go much smoother. For pinpointing the genesis of your project, try to emphasize both its importance in the larger performing arts sphere (representing underprivileged people/areas, using art for social change, defying genre, paying homage to past traditions or reviving a certain style, etc.) and how it is different from anything before it.
3. Know the Nitty Gritties
So you have your abstract, philosophical why questions figured out: time to get down to the nitty-gritty. Your pitch should give a brief overview of all the housekeeping bits and bobs that go along with your project: things like touring timeframes, production elements, technical estimates, outreach components, etc. Don't worry about going into too much detail during your actual pitch, but make sure you have all the specifics ready to go for any questions afterward. And avoid talking in ifs and whens--you need to present your project as if it is ready to go NOW. The more information you provide about your project (even if they are just estimates), the more delegates will trust that you can actually pull it off.
4. Be Creative
Now that we have all the specifics figured out, it?s time to give your pitch a little pizzazz. You may be tempted to just stick with the typical speech format for fear of being unprofessional. But when delegates see the same pitch format over and over again, they will welcome something slightly outside the box. Don't just click through a powerpoint: instead, use the timer function to present different images, gifs, or quotes that will appear as you talk about them. Tell a story: leave presenters with some quirky tidbits about yourself that will create a memorable impression. If humor's your thing, add some jokes to keep delegates entertained--if not, perhaps try adding personalized infographics to your slides to visualize more abstract ideas. Just remember that although it?s great to be creative, the clarity of your project still reigns supreme.
Of course, the best way to learn is to see the real-deal. Great news: we have just the event for you! If you'd like to see some of Canada's best performing artists showcase and pitch in front of a trove of international delegates, then make sure to attend Contact East 2019 this September!