Just find a show that's great, tell us why, and make us feel sure we can do it.
Include this basic information in your pitch:
- Rights availability
- Character Breakdown
- Run time
- Tech/staging requirements
- When you want the show to go up
- Where you want the show to go up
- Why it’s awesome
- Why you love it
How to pitch a show
As a theatre group, Wandering Minds likes to do shows. How do we pick these shows? That’s where you come in. For main stages, special projects, and other pitch situations (i.e. one-act festivals) shows are pitched to the general membership and then voted upon by the whole group, all-American style. A pitch is a show proposal, using the guidelines below. They can be daunting, and not everyone is a natural salesperson, so here they are for general use.
We require all show pitchers to have been a Wandering Minds member for at least one year.
- Convince us [WM voters] that your show is humanly possible
- Convince us that your show is awesome
That is it. Not too bad, right? You'll be great. That said, what does this exactly entail? Already too long? Jump to SUMMARY.
1. Things that demonstrate that your show is humanly possible:
- Confirmation that rights exist and are available
(a how-to guide is included here )
- A character breakdown
(how many actors/actresses do we need? do that many exist in the world? Double casting?)
- Run time
(will the show run for five hours? five minutes?)
- Any kind of tech/staging requirements that might prove challenging or require dedicated spaces
(i.e., a motorcycle needs to descend from the ceiling onto center stage)
- A sense of how long you think you'll need to rehearse it (when should the show go up?)
- And preferred location
(student theatre, SED 130, etc…).
If you don't specifically bring up any of those things in your pitch, someone will ask about it, so as long as you've thought about these things in advance things will be grand. Also, as the prior sentence implies, the voting populace can ask you questions about your show, so the more you know about it, the more comfortable everyone will be. That said, "I don't know" is a reasonable answer sometimes, particularly to unnecessarily specific questions, such as “How much wood will your set use?, or “How many lines does X character have?” or if you just don’t know.
It is important to note that this section is all about things that make the show possible. Be able to separate this from artistic vision and things that are wanted rather than needed or your pitch will last forever.
2. Things that demonstrate that your show is awesome.
- Why do you want us to do the show? What makes it special?
Be specific: every show is 'well-written' or 'entertaining' in someone's hands. Is the dialogue moving? Are the characters amazing (and thus great acting opportunities abound)? Is the show smart and fun, and if so, how do you think that will radiate throughout the group? Why does this show fit our group?
- What kind of tech opportunities are possible and encouraged by the production?
If you can take the things that make you love the show and transfer those feels to the voters, you will have succeeded. If it’s a special project, tell us what makes it different from a mainstage production ie why it’s a special project (charity show, audience interaction, etc…).
YOU WILL NOT: want to get bogged down in character descriptions or plot rundowns. Unless the plot is what makes the show special, we don't need to know that Jacob is a werewolf and that Edward is a vampire and that the tribes are enemies; that Bella is 5'7" and an Aquarius with brown hair but that brown hair isn't really a requirement; that Jacob imprinted on the weird undead kid and that means that he is destined to forever love……
Et cetera. That hurt to even type.
Specificity means you know the play but it doesn't necessarily mean anyone will care. Make us care first, and do whatever you need to in order to make that happen. Humor, read dialogue, plot synopses, how the show progresses emotionally, why its subject matter is relevant, and its historical context can all be vital, but they don't have to be.
Practicing your pitch
Things to include:
- This is a show [1 min]
- It is awesome [3 min]
- and it is humanly possible [2 min]
- Q + A [? min]
You'll notice that that style of pitch is a mere six minutes before questions, which is great. Pitches that last longer than ten minutes rarely make it through, as people tend to lose interest and/or focus with longer pitches.
Still have questions?
This is a lot of information. What do you do if you have questions about pitching?
The best person to contact would probably be the president, as he/she is barred from pitching themselves, which means he/she will be as impartial as anyone can be, but everyone on e-board is a knowledgeable individual. If you have questions about tech or are worried about a particular technical element within your show you should contact the tech advisor, who can help you iron out any tech issues before your pitch.