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My First Investor – After the Pitch!

November 18, 2011

Last week (as a class) we had the opportunity to pitch our theater company to a real-life producer, made of flesh and blood – I saw him with my own eyes and felt his hand as he shook mine.

The aim:

  • Impress Damon Chua (Executive Director, Keen Company – among many other credits) enough that he would personally give us our first seed money for our theater company.  $50!

Now, I don’t know about you, but the idea of trying to impress someone with my own ideas and passion is a terrifying prospect.  The fear of the sound of the ego inflating, the dry mouth when you realize that you don’t really know the answer to the questions, the hiccups that arise from thinking on your feet, argh… someone is judging me!

This is something I clearly have to get over by the time I send out the first round of letters for funding (that’s a whole other blog post!)

I should have known of course that anyone Carl (Forsman, Keen Company http://keencompany.org/blog/index.shtml) brought in to meet with us would not only be supportive, cool as a cucumber but know his sh*t so wonderfully that there was no need for such insecurities on my part.

After a reassuring welcome to the meeting – I was off… like a horse going for the Triple Crown.  (A confession – I remember nothing of what we discussed, it’s a blur of sweaty palms and reaching for words).

Following our meeting, Damon, (having met with nine other prospective theater companies) came in and spoke with us about our pitches and shared many insights into the whole process.  These points sounded so simple and so obvious and yet, we all lacked some of these qualities in our pitches.

Some Advice on Pitching (for money) – Some Simple Things to Remember:

  1. Passion – Passion is essential.  If you’re not passionate about your project, why would anyone else be?  Luckily, this is something I have in abundance… I mean really, I’m Welsh how can I not be feisty.
  2. Personal Connection – Between me and the project.  The “Why”. The connection between minority language and theater for me is so clear – as a Welsh speaker, I grew up reading and watching plays that changed my life, and I miss having them around me in NY.  I can only imagine how many other people feel the same way in this city about their own language/culture.
  3. Be Specific – About your project. Argh… this I found difficult, and during the pitch I remember thinking “I need to work this part of the project out better”.  My main concern being, how do I source these plays and how should the translation process take place as I want to save as much of the cultural flavor of the country in the translation as possible.
  4. Be Honest – It’s ok not to know everything. Another difficult one for me as I have a tendency to roll with my mouth.  I am the queen of Bull and vulnerability is not one of my strengths.  Need to work on this!
  5. Collaborators – Who are your collaborators? This is where I currently am in the project.  Who do I want, trust and need – and of course who will do it for free at this point?

Funny thing is… Damon seemed to like my idea for Five Thousand Mile Theater (finally a name!), and awarded me the seed money (split 50/50 with my fellow class mate and lovely guy Phil).

What does this mean?

  • I have my first donation to my new theater company.  $25!
  • Shit just got real.
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One Comment leave one →
  1. Phil permalink
    November 19, 2011 12:12 am

    Shit got SO real. Congrats! I feel like karma got us back for undergoing the directing-in-class ordeal first…

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