Q: Is anyone here really good at giving an elevator pitch?
For the TheaterMaker, mastering the elevator pitch is one of the most challenging aspects of the business. The ability to take all of the passion and nuance you have for your new project and edit it down to a 30 second career-changing pitch is a skill enviable to many of us, and one that must be honed for that fateful moment you find yourself face to face (or mask to mask) with an industry professional ready and willing to listen.
When crafting a new elevator pitch, one simple yet effective tool is using the “Hook, Line, and Sinker” method. This breaks your pitch down into 3 distinct sections.
- The Hook
Just like your favorite song, the hook to your elevator pitch should be impossible to resist. Your hook is what will get the producer (or other industry professionals) invested in your story. Engaging your listener with a directive from the start is highly effective.
“Imagine a world where xyz has happened and abc is no longer as easy as 123.”
Immediately, the mind is engaged and forced to continue listening. Once you’ve got that big fish on the hook, you can move on to “The Line.”
- The Line
A logline is a sentence that states the central conflict of a story, often providing a synopsis of the story’s plot. When done correctly, the line should flow naturally from your hook.
“Imagine a world where xyz has happened and abc is no longer as easy as 123. My script is called “And Sometimes Y’ and it tells the story of the chaos unleashed when the letter Y refuses to be a vowel anymore.”
Though the goal is to keep this logline down to one sentence, for the elevator pitch, expanding your logline to two or three sentences can provide an opportunity to give more information about your story and the characters involved.
- The Sinker
The Sinker may be a little controversial for some writers. The debate over whether to give away ‘THE BIG FINISH!” or keep it shrouded in secrecy is constant. Many writers don’t want to give away the totality of their idea, but it is an important part of the package. Once you’ve hooked them, reeled them in with the perfect logline, use the sinker to complete the pitch.
“Imagine a world where xyz has happened and abc is no longer easy as 123. My script is called ‘And Sometimes Y’ and it tells the story of the chaos unleashed when the letter Y refuses to be a vowel anymore. It all builds to a final Play On Words where victory cannot even exist without saving the Y. It’s Sesame Street meets Apocalypse Now.”
A good sinker is always topped off with a final “It’s this meets that.” Leaving your listener with two tangible examples that possess the same qualities as your story gives an instant frame of reference that will be useful when it comes down to making the final decision to move forward with your project.
Now that you’ve got your pitch down, practice makes perfect! Spend time rehearsing your pitch so that it becomes natural and relaxed. The goal is to be able to remain calm, collected, and concise when pitching your idea to the powers that be. Practice your pitch on friends, family, and even a stranger or two to gauge effectiveness. Make edits based on their reactions and before you know it, you’ll be elevator pitch perfect!
P.S. For even more tips like these, check out The TheaterMakers Studio.