I was doing a job application the other day and I was asked to sell myself in 150 words. They called it an elevator pitch. In truth, I was taken aback that someone would ask me to summarize the entirety of my being in 150 words, but after some reflection I simply spoke from the heart. After some research, I managed to spill my guts in as concise a manner as possible. Then I realized the utility of such a pitch and began thinking of how to apply it to my daily life. What I realized was that if you’re creating any piece of art regardless of the medium and your goal is to make a living off of these creative works, then it’s imperative that you can make the consumer feel what you feel.
Here you are, having created something… let’s say a short film and you’re looking to find someone to pick up or produce the work. Having created the work, you no doubt believe it to be a quality product and you more than likely have some form of attachment to it. Unfortunately, that may not be the case for others. To many, the art we produce is simply aesthetic or is viewed superficially. It’s up to you to get the consumer to understand the vision.
You’ll no doubt have a very specific reason for making the work and have a certain intentionality when crafting it. Still, even the best masterpiece will remain unseen if you can’t get the masses to understand why what you’re doing matters. So, don’t be afraid to speak highly of your work. If you’re a visual artist and you’ve created a painting. Even if it’s just a poorly drawn stick figure, you present it as if you’ve just painted the Sistine Chapel. At times, it can be hard to be confident as it’s often mistaken for cockiness. But, if there’s ever a time to be proud of your work it’s when you’re showing it to others. So, work on it because you’ll need it.
However, there’s more to an elevator pitch than just being confident in your product. It’s also about selling yourself. People connect with stories. If you can make them feel invested, like they’re a part of something, then you’ll have done your job. I’m not saying lie but play to your strengths…extremely. You should always ask yourself these questions whenever you produce:
- Who is the work meant to reach?
- How is this work relatable?
- How should someone who has just read or viewed the product that you’ve created be left feeling?
You should always know who you are speaking to. Whether it’s a specific person or the entire world, your audience serves to impact the style, form, delivery, or medium you use to impart your message. Secondly, your work must be relatable, otherwise it may go unnoticed. I hate to say it but we’re all narcissists. People tend to tune in when things are relatable. We hate feeling left out and if we don’t get it, we tend not to care. Lastly, how should the viewer be left feeling after having been exposed to your work. In other words what’s your purpose? Are you making a statement, telling a story, sparking a movement or all three. There are a million and one reason to create, but until you’ve found yours it’ll be hard to convincingly sell it to others. Don’t fret if you’re just starting out and you haven’t quite found your reason for creating. Take the time to reflect on your reason for creating and you’ll find that not only will your work become more marketable, but it’ll become more meaningful.