Pitch Your Project Like An Artist

For those about to pitch your video idea to a group, we salute you. This three-part series is designed to help you decide on a style for your presentation and approach to the decision makers in your organization. We encourage you to pick the style that best suits you, the idea in question, and the decision-makers in your organization. And when you’ve been given the green light, let us know- we’re ready to start production and help however we can!

We’d all love to believe that the weight of our ideas alone will get them approved by the powers that be, but behavioral science has proven that this is often not the case. Organizational behavior scientist Kimberly Elsbach has done extensive research on how creative ideas are proposed and received, and she has identified three successful archetypes for the successful “pitchmaster.” Today, we’re focusing on the creative as artist.

Elsbach defines the artist’s style as follows:

Artists [...] display single-minded passion and enthusiasm about their ideas, but they are less slick and conformist in their dress and mannerisms, and they tend to be shy or socially awkward. As one Hollywood producer told me, “The more shy a writer seems, the better you think the writing is, because you assume they’re living in their internal world.” [A]rtists appear to have little or no knowledge of, or even interest in, the details of implementation. Moreover, they invert the power differential by completely commanding the catcher’s imagination. Instead of engaging the catcher in a duet, they put the audience in thrall to the content. Artists are particularly adept at conducting what physicists call “thought experiments,” inviting the audience into imaginary worlds.

If your style of creating and developing ideas, for video or otherwise, feels imaginative, tactile, and all-consuming, the artist pitch style will serve you well. Their methodology is attractive to those seeking an innovative approach to reaching an audience; they present ideas that conventionally-minded staff or supervisors won’t think of. However, once the video pitch is ready to take center stage, you’ll need to ensure it can be shared in a way that guarantees its success. To be a successful artist, and deliver a pitch that sells that art, consider the following tips:

Paint a picture.

As Elsbach stated, artists are adept at creating a product, service, or solution in response to a thought experiment. When you’re given the floor, take the opportunity to walk your audience through that same thought experiment. It doesn’t have to feel like a visualization or meditation exercise; instead, concentrate on telling a story that will help them see how you arrived at the video idea you’re about to show them. Once they see the story through your eyes, it’ll be easier to sell them on your idea.

Learn the language.

With that said, people love the idea of creativity but have a hard time conceiving it if it alienates them. To prevent this disconnect from derailing your pitch, seek to articulate your vision for the video in language that they understand. If the powers that be want to see facts and figures proving the validity of your video idea, provide those. If they want to hear from segments of the market that will be affected (or reflected) in your pitch, gather that information and present it. Take note not just of how you came to your idea, but how others will need to hear it. Care for the mindset of both sides will give you the best chance at a successful greenlight for the project.

Demonstrate you’re prepared to deliver. One worry “catchers” often share about pitches given by artists is their ability to work within a corporate timeline. Odds are, if you work for the organization you’re pitching to, you have an established record of delivery. But if the concern arises, it will benefit you to create a timeline of how you see the project unfolding. If a script will be needed, how long do you anticipate needing to complete it? If actors will need to be cast, how long will that take? And if this role is one that will happen in tandem with your “regular” job, how will you balance the two? Reassuring those in control that you have your work under control, will help tame the stereotype of the flighty or unreliable artist. Tell them all about the fantastic project you intend to create...then get out there, and do it!

The team at Trove is ready and willing to help when the green light comes- best wishes as you take your ideas into battle, and let us know when we can join up to make movie magic!