Monday, May 28, 2007

The Pitch


Coming from a background in Advertising, I'm not unfamiliar with pitching - something I hear I'll be required to do once I make it in this business. I'm curious to see how a "Hollywood" pitch differs from some of the most outrageous ones I've been a part of.

Here is one of my more memorable ones.

I had just started my own firm, and was hungry for clients - any clients. I was willing to take meetings and work with people I normally wouldn't have. But that's okay - you gotta do what you gotta do to survive sometimes. Bring it on.

One such meeting was with a group of individuals so sleezy - they made even my womanizing, crass self flinch. Our first meeting was in a strip club.

This in and of itself wasn't so shocking. It definitely wasn't the first time I'd had a meeting in a strip club, and it wouldn't be the last. There was something about the group of guys, though, that made me feel dirty.

You know the type, right? Greasy, slicked back hair. Expensive suits that look cheap. And always trying to get shit free or at a discount. Including drinks and lapdances.

I wasn't impressed.

Didn't matter, though. They had lots of money, and I wanted some of it. Our original meeting went great, and they were eager to get started. After three weeks of their "eagerness" to get started, I'd had enough. I called up the CEO of the company who invited me to their offices for a second pitch.

At the time, I was sleeping with my assistant-slash-girlfriend who would accompany me to my meetings. She wasn't that well versed in the business, but she was good eye candy and smart enough to answer questions intelligently.

Unfortunately, we were fighting at the time.

We showed up 10 minutes early, and were immediately pulled into the meeting.

Here's how it went down.

CEO
Good to see you again.

Me
Likewise. So, how're we doing this?

CEO
Well, see, this other firm wants to go in a different direction with the campaign - and I think maybe we agree with them.

Me
Let me guess. They want to do something darker. Something a little more risque--

CEO
That's right...

Me
Typical. That's the direction every other firm would want to go with a product like yours. I'll admit, we even considered it at first. But I think you'd get far better reach with the campaign we proposed. I mean, sure, we can go in that direction and do something like--

At this point my assistant-slash-girlfriend kicks me in the leg.

I'm not exactly sure what she's trying to tell me, so I try to finish my sentence and give him an example of the direction we could go if they really wanted to - but letting him know it wouldn't be prudent to do so.

She kicks me in the leg again. This time, they take notice of it. Whatever it was she was trying to get me to say, or not to say, she should have just said herself. Instead, I'm stuck there being kicked in the middle of a meeting - with no idea of what the fuck she wants.

And they've seen it.

Now I know I haven't mentioned the product, but hopefully I've done an adequate job of describing the types of individuals I was pitching to - because my response to the situation was tailored specifically for them. In most other professional circumstances, I'd have either lost any chance I had even before I could speak - or this would have definitely sealed the deal:

Me
Sweetheart. I have no idea what the hell you're trying to tell me. Either say it, or stop kicking me in the leg.

To make matters worse, this set her off. Big time.

She stormed out of the office, and I was left with a bit of an uncomfortable situation.

So I do the only thing you can do - I smirk, and continue with my pitch - just as their secretary, almost as if on cue, walks into the office with our coffees.

I stop her before she leaves.

Me
Do me a favor and sit down next to me. I think better with a female nearby.

They're eating it up at this point. They tell her it's okay and she sits down next to me and I go into my close. They love the pitch. More importantly - they love me.

And now, it was time for the finale.

The assistant-slash-girlfriend has composed herself and walks back into the conference room to rejoin the meeting - except now there's another girl in her seat.

Me
Sorry, babe. You've been replaced.

I give her a wink, and a furious girl who would never again play hide the salami with me exits the room.

The CEO looks at me be with a big shit-eating grin on his face.

CEO
You have got the be the biggest asshole we've ever met.

Me
Does that mean I get the job?

He looks over at his COO and President and they give him the nod.

CEO
Let's sign.

Now if I ended this blog here, I would have just called it "Confessions of an Asshole, Redux." Because let's face it - I was a huge asshole in that meeting. Gigantic asshole.

But that wasn't the point - you guys already know I'm an asshole. No need to start repeating myself just yet.

What I was trying to say, is that if Hollywood pitches are anything like the ones I'm familar with - then you need to be malleable. You need to constantly be aware of your surroundings.

You have to know who you're selling to, just as much as what you're selling.

2 comments:

The Moviequill said...

how was the pootytang at that joint?

IQCrash said...

Never met pootytang I didn't like (at a strip club).