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grinner hester
pitchin'
on Apr 10, 2009 at 2:37:01 pm

I was gonna post this in the business forum but after thinking about it, pitching is much more of an art than a strategic business thing. Creativity and tenacity the two crucial factors, sometimes it's hard to remain perky after a mess of passes on your passion.
Editors are pitch me, straight up. At least the old linear ones are. Back in the day, almost every edit was a game of offering what could be done vs what was asked for and convencing the client it was their idea in the end. There was some button pushing invoved but selling edits was the gig and that's a people skill thang.
Case in point, I've been quite creative in pitching original content to networks without representation. Rapid change in economy is making all of us branch away from the comfort zone of the keyboard and multi task like we did when we began.
I have a show that's a good match for a certain cable network. Has been for a while and I have a full season already in the can. Thing is, it's not a flavor that is a fad today and in not finding success with this show yet, I decided to take a different approach. Over and over in a pitch, if they are interested at all, the first thing they comes back with is "do you have another series on the air today?" Say now and you have 2 strikes in an instant. Well, I stepped back and looked at those fads. I went out and cheaply produced 2 episodes of a whole new show dancing all over that fad, put a unique spin on it and sent it off with confidence I'd get a call back. 3 hours after they received my sizzle reel and one sheet, they called and we have conference call scheduled in 20 minutes to go over fine details. This is good. This is real good. And while happy as all get up to get this show in front of them and get a show on the air, man, I'm selling that first show to em and I have not even introduced it to them yet. Once this new one is on the air, they'll ask what other content I have. I'll simply tell them.
that's the plan anyway... fingers crossed.

moral? When ya can't find a door to open, find a place to kick a hole, man.


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Mark Suszko
Re: pitchin'
on Apr 10, 2009 at 3:07:31 pm

Good luck with it G, though I think the whole reality thing is about played out, there is so much of it now and so much parody of the form going on, I think that's a hint that everybody will get sick of it soon and switch to something else, like what, I dunno, maybe back to westerns... okay, maybe not westerns... but I feel like the airwaves are due for another cycle of change, to what exacly, I can't perdict. I just know that the current TV grid just bores me to tears.

But does anybody really need another medical show, autopsy/CSI show, Law and Order type show, food show, rehab-and-flip-your-home show, or bunch-of-stiffs-bickering-in-a-machine-shop show? I find my TV viewing has seriously declined ever since the writer's strike, and the hours I watch of network/cable stuff keep declining as I spend more time on the internet or living life.

But I was nodding vigorously while reading about how you as an editor pitch ideas in the suite. There are different kinds of editing clients, and the kind that make me most miserable are the ones that are just using me as a human remote control, telling me down to the frames how long a dissolve or fade should be, the exact order of scenes and their length, which scene to work on next, etc. etc. That's like digging ditches sometimes. Thankfully, it's rare for me these days.

If I can see in my mind a better way to do the cut, I want to be able to advise them, but as you asy, this is a people skill. You can easily go wrong and get perceived as some kind of obstreperous diva or meddler. But I always want to be more than a technician, I want to be a creative partner in the process. I think the fusion of editor and director's creative visions is what takes the work product to the next level. So you have to walk a tightrope in that collaboration. You pick what hills to die on, you measure your arguments for a particular editing decision and never make it personal, you explain it in terms of established film theory, or the semiotics of what's beeing seen, some technical reason you think it works better this way versus that way. If you have to back down, well, you have to, but I feel even when the client is the boss, it's your duty to at least advise or note potential problems, then leave it to them to make the final call.

Luckily, a lot of my clients and repeat customers have built a level of trust in my creative and technical judgement, and often they just hand over elements and a rough outline and say; "I know what you can do, cut it the way you think best and call me to review it when that's ready". God, I love that. Usually, they really like what I do with that, the corrections, if any, are usually minor. That's a good day.



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grinner hester
Re: pitchin'
on Apr 10, 2009 at 3:45:49 pm

You are right on all points. When reaility became scripted, it lost all flair.
I pitch a first person actuality in the name of rebirthing what feels like reality. man, it's powerful now that reality is not reality and the more big productions make this worse, the more I have to offer and sell. I like that.
The talk went very well. We liked each other and that's the key to success if ya break everything else down. Once that is done, it's just a matter of details most of the time... or should be.
I'll yas posted on what happens. I waisted no time in introducing the big picture I had. I have good feelings about it...



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Roy Schneider
Re: pitchin'
on Apr 22, 2009 at 6:15:17 pm

Grinner:
Your my hero man! Another editor that is trying to break into program development. I have been on this road for a while. Eventually one of these darts is gonna stick. It really is a who ya know business. Best of luck Bro!

Roy Schneider
Long Live Da Cow!


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