Brush Up your Elevator Pitch

Image by Robert Allmann from Pixabay

It’s almost the holidays, the Fall awards eligibility screening season is happening, and it will only get busier as the year progresses. It’s time to make sure your elevator pitch is ready for all those networking events and opportunities.

Elevator pitches have traditionally referred to telling a potential producer or investor about your spec script should you ever have the good fortune to be riding in an elevator with them. Nowadays, it means about 30 seconds about you and your job search as an introduction.

The true function of your elevator pitch is to form a connection and possibly start a new professional relationship.

The structure is simple:

  • Where have you been?
  • Where are you now?
  • What do you want to do next? (What are you looking for?)
  • Then a question: “What about you?”

The key concepts are brevity, clarity and then, in most networking situations, to ask a question that shows your interest in the other person. Often simply saying, “What about you?” is enough, or “Are you part of this project?” It’s a conversation, not a job interview.

  • Of course, if you happen to have the good fortune to be speaking to the Director of a blockbuster, this isn’t the right question since they might expect to be recognized. But chances are you are at an event and can ask a sane and reasonable related question – “How are you enjoying the convention/festival?”; at a screening – “Are you pleased with the turn-out?” The best way to be thought of as interesting, is to BE interested.

There are some great examples of elevator pitches in my book, Work in Production Part 2: How to write a killer cover letter the UPM will actually want to read. Here are a couple:

“I came out here once I graduated from film school in Michigan. I worked on a couple of commercials and local shorts. I’m looking to get started as an assistant in development at a production company. What about you?”

“While I was in film school back home, I did some different day jobs – food server, event photographer. But I was on the crew of a few local things – a commercial, a music video, a couple of short films. Now I’m here looking for PA work. What about you?”

“For the last two years I’ve been writing the authorized biography of my father-in-law, the actor James Coburn. Right now, I’m putting together a list of photos from his archives which should take another couple of weeks. In the meantime, we’re submitting the manuscript to literary agents so we can get a major publisher. What about you?” (Yes, this is mine for when I have my writer hat on.)

As you start to write your elevator pitch, it’s important to say it aloud. Practice it until it sounds easy and natural. Plus, the more often you hear yourself, hear your own words, the more you solidify your own intentions.

Need help with a resume? My full service includes working up a elevator pitch.