Parenthood and the pitch
by Jill Effron
Recently I went on a pitch meeting with my writing/producing partner. It was like a great doubles tennis game: She set up the match, I volleyed back and forth with the opponents (er, execs) and then she was there in case any balls tried to get by us. It felt so nice to be pitching again.
However, during the game (pitch) I kept trying to quiet my inner dialogue and just focus on the match (pitch). I kept internally interrupting myself with thoughts like, “They’re 25!! You’re not!” or, “I thought Hollywood was supposed to wait for me while I raised my kids? But Hollywood got younger and I got older…” or, “Good lord, this guy graduated from college while I was giving birth to my second child!” Finally, after all of this inner badgering a comforting thought popped in, “I’m really enjoying this moment. The execs seem to be enjoying this moment. My partner seems to be enjoying this moment. This is an enjoyable moment.” And that was followed by, “What kids?”
A week later, still high off of the pitch, I wondered why I was so comfortable in a room pitching my idea. Prior to kids, I would have had a few nervous moments in the room before my sea legs appeared. But this time it was different. The nerves were there before I entered the room – reading over the pitch, peeing a thousand times, trying not to memorize it because I’d remember the placement of the words on the page and then my eyes would look like they were reading a piece of paper floating in the air, as they constantly moved from left to right. I can’t even imagine what that would look like to someone sitting across from me.
The other day I was trying to convince my 3-year-old to do something when it hit me: I pitch everyday of my life, multiple times a day! No wonder I was so comfortable and was quick to answer any question thrown at me. That’s what we do as moms.
Here’s an example:
Me: “Love Bug, I made you oatmeal for breakfast today.”
6YO LB: “But I wanted egggggggs!”
Me: “You had eggs yesterday. How about oatmeal today, and eggs tomorrow?”
6YO LB: “Fiiiiiiiiiine-ugh.” (Why do annoyed kids add “uh” to end of every word? “Fine-ugh.” “No-ugh.” With emoticons and acronyms and the non-suffix “ugh,” the English language, as we know it, is being butchered!)
Back to my point…
Now watch this:
Exec: “We’ve tried to shoot what you’re saying before but it didn’t translate well.”
Me: “I totally get that. So the way I was thinking of doing it was a quick montage of hands to show the action happened and then we speed it up in editing, so we don’t use up too much time.”
Exec: “Oh. That could work.”
See? The challenges my kids present me with on a daily basis and being ready to answer any question that comes my way (except where babies come from) prepared me for this pitch. Thankfully, when I answered the exec’s questions, it wasn’t met with a “fiiiiiiine” even though he could have been (gulp) my son… if I were to have a child as a very young teenager.
I’m not that old. Yet.Tags: Entertainment industry, Hollywood, Jill Effron, Parenthood, Pitch meeting, Television, Writer