Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pitch Practice with Cap'n Bob

Yes, Ye Olde Cap'n Bob Napier, author of Love, Death and Toyman and The Toyman Rides Again (of which you may have heard), is in town this weekend for the annual Willamette Writers Conference. This is Bob's second year working as a volunteer, and my . . . well, I forget how manyth.

Bob in rapt attention.

A major attraction of this conference, one of the largest in the country, is that a bunch of literary and film agents (roughly two dozen of each) fly in to take pitches. That's where Bob and I come in. Before going in to face the agents, wise attendees stop by the complimentary pitch practice room to try out their spiels on us, or one of several other stalwarts. Some pitches are excellent and some horrendous, with most falling somewhere in between. We do our best to help folks hone their pitch down to the essentials and increase their chances of getting a request for material.

Bob spots the not-so-hidden camera.

The work is challenging and fun, and we get to meet oodles of interesting people. Between sessions with would-be authors we do what the other convention goers do - attend panels, seminars and workshops on various aspects of the writing game. Over the course of the three-day conference there are 96 of these presentations, so it's not hard to find something of interest. This stuff never fails to get the creative juices flowing.

Here's me, gesturing hypnotically á la Mandrake the Magician.
(I use this power only for good.)

11 comments:

Deka Black said...

Oh, so you're a magician! And writer. That's cool ^^

By the way, A "pitch" is like a sort of place/time where agents look for clients?

Evan Lewis said...

Making a pitch to an agent means you are trying to sell them on the idea of your writing project. Whether you're writing a novel, a self-help book or a screenplay, you want the agent to look at it, or at least a sample. So your goal when you pitch is for him to say, "Send me three chapters," or "Send me the script." Getting the agent to actually represent you, of course, is much harder.

Richard Prosch said...

So what about you and Bob? By the time it was all said and done, did you fellars get any pitches in --or were you and the agents all tuckered out?

Richard Prosch said...

So what about you and Bob? By the time it was all said and done, did you fellars get any pitches in --or were you and the agents all tuckered out?

Evan Lewis said...

By the time we volunteers were allowed to register, all the good one-on-one appointments with agents were gone. We're still enountering a few and gathering email addresses, but it ain't the same as having their undivided attention for 10 minutes.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds like something very helpful. Every bit of practice must help.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I attended a conference in NY on this a few years back but find I am more effective in writing a pitch than delivering one orally. I get tongue-tied or seem looney.

Deka Black said...

Ah! Thanks Evan. Hope your get your ideal agent ;)

Laurie Powers said...

Good to see Bob getting out of the house. :)

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I'll have more to say about this experience on my blog. Dave forgets to mention our main motivation for doing this: we don't have to pay the cippling registration fees to attend the conference.

Cap'n Bob said...

That's "crippling" registration fees.