Go Big or Go Bust: On Pitching and the Burning Question: Do You Have to be Cool to Pitch Successfully?

As I see it, there are three types of people: people who are cool, people who are not cool andpeople who, through an alchemy of body type, style and self-restraint (silence is a great tool), manage to give the impression that they're cool.

I fall into the third category. Or I did. And let me tell you, it’s a sad life. And it’s exhausting. With all that energy going into creating an impression, into pretending excitement, empathy, interest and everything else. I always felt like the inside of a pumpkin, hollow and a little slimy.

To get somewhere as a filmmaker, you pretty much have to pitch. And the essence of pitching plays into all of the darkest fears of someone who doesn’t feel cool, who has a fear of rejection,  of being publicly humiliated, who has, let’s just call it what it is, a fear of *annihilation*. And so, up until now, with one miserable exception in front of a Brooklyn arts organization and one horrifying weekend at IFFCON (a pitch festival by invitation only, GOD HELP ME) I have avoided pitching. That is about to change because I want to make this fake reality show for television and am going to have to pitch the idea. I feel compelled to explain the depth of my anxiety.  

In middle school, new to the area, I asked the girl who sat next to me in study hall if we could be friends. I agree it seems more like a question from a pre-schooler than from a seventh grader. Hey, I was young for the grade. Anyway, she had an interesting long nose and was serious and thoughtful. She answered me the next day: her mother wanted her to be friends with girls who lived in town. Dagger to my heart. We lived way out in the country, far from school and she lived in town. Obviously, the cool people lived in town.

I spent the rest of the next six years trying to become the most popular girl in the school.

I’m not sure if my classmates would agree that I succeeded but I did get elected to a lot of positions. And I felt popular. Hey so what if I barely graduated? I felt cool.

(To be continued)