Hey there Silverline Family! We’ll be doing something a little different today. I’m having to rethink the way contributors are tapped for blog content, so today, I’ll be contributing! Currently, I’m resting a toe that’s been twice split open at my kickboxing gym, so I’ll be working through the painkillers to talk about something I feel interestingly qualified to speak about. Pitches!
Pitch Your Heart Out
According to my job description, I am the Associate Editor at Silverline. This means that I am sometimes tapped to review story and art submissions then cast my vote for what I think would be good comic material. I have also written, and successfully pitched a couple of comic series. This means that I know what editors are looking for in a pitch document, but I am also sympathetic to the artist feeling like creating a good pitch is selling or watering down their creative vision.
To be honest, my Achilles heel when it comes to writing pitches is condensing the material, but that’s another article. Today I want to talk about how a tight, marketable pitch does not diminish the artistic quality. If anything, the creator can use this as an opportunity to enhance and focus the heart of their art. Not to mention that art needs to be sold for the artist to eat, and for it to be sold, it must be pitched.
A good pitch is short. A few sentences, maybe a paragraph. They can be long sentences, sure, but certainly not a full-page (unless it is explicitly asked for!) Think of the phrase “elevator pitch.” How long is an elevator ride? A half-minute, maybe? Your submission does not exist in a vacuum. However many half-minutes are in a day, that’s how many pitches an editor has to get through. You have to hook them fast and with conviction. This does not lend the format to breaking down the whole plot. That’s because it’s not the plot that sells the work, it’s the heart.
If you look at how film scripts are marketed, you’d learn about something called a “log-line.” This tool is universally applicable. It teaches you how to focus your vision into a small package. This is the tool I use to base my pitches out of.
First: one line on the setting. Second: who’s your protagonist. Third: What’s Unique about them. Fourth: What’s their external/internal struggle and what do they learn in order to overcome it.
At glance, you can convey the whole heart of the work. As an editor, I learn the cool factors of the setting and the protagonist. I can see the motifs explored throughout the creative process. Most importantly, I know the important struggle, how relatable the conflict is, and what themes the work expresses.
As a creator, you should be passionate and protective of your work. It should come from a place that moves you and do things you think are cool. A good pitch allows you to focus all that information so that it is easy to understand how important the work truly is. Creating a pitch can also help you, the creator, as you continue the process. In creating a pitch, summary, log-line, whatever, you ground the elements that the work revolves around. It is something to look back to if you ever get lost in the story.
All this to say, you’re not selling out by making your work appear marketable. If anything you’re helping yourself enhance its artistic qualities. So, go ahead, pitch your heart out.