Anonymous said: are pitches nerve-wracking? have you ever had any rough moments, like dead silence after a joke you thought would be funny? tell us about pitching an episode, owen!
So a pitch goes basically like this:
1) Schedule some time on JG’s calendar to pitch the board.
2) Pin all our storyboards up on some gigantic foam core boards. If the episode needs music, usually one of us will set that up and we’ll figure out when we want to play it and rehearse that part real quick.
3) The actual pitch.
5) Redraw and rework whatever got notes and find another day to pitch on.
6) Repeat 2-4 but this time do a group pitch with the other story boarders getting to watch as well.
7) Do final revisions and hand them in.
I don’t usually go into a pitch nervously, I’m always about 80-90% confident that what I’ve made was what JG wanted. If it’s not what he actually asked for, it’s at least in the spirit of what he asked for.
There are usually a couple jokes where Toby and I are like “ehhhhh they’ll probably want to cut this” because it’s not in the style of the show or it’s too obtuse or something. There’s one episode I remember going in and thinking “There’s no way they’re going to like any of this, we got really weird in this one” and they ended up loving it and wanting more. It’s very hard to guess.
Pitches absolutely have jokes that fall flat. One of the more frustrating things is when they fall flat in the very beginning of the story, because sometimes that will make it so people might be thinking of alternates to that joke or something and become a little distracted, missing other jokes later. Then there’s just silence for awhile. That’s hard. It’s just human nature though, it’s what happens. Happens to me too when I watch someone else’s pitch.
After we pitch, JG and the other writers walk around the room and point at various spots that they think need work. It might be that they want a little bit of a structural change or that a joke could be funnier. Occasionally JG will suggest a design change on a character or a background or something.
I had many, many problems doing the designs for the satellite in Portable Toilet. Every satellite I drew ended up looking like a penis. I couldn’t not make them look like a penis! Eventually I tried to model it after a spider and gave it to JG. JG drew a different design from that and I used his.
One of the things I personally really like is seeing everyone’s different pitching styles. Everyone has a unique way that they go about getting people on board with the pitch, because it’s as much a performance as it is a presentation. I think getting the audience to side with you immediately, even when they’re a whole bunch of people you’ve known for years, is extremely important in pitching.
I really like Toby’s style of pitching because it’s very matter of fact. Every time he pitches he stays so straight and never accidentally laughs while he’s talking. He’s really good at it. Minty’s pitches are very funny because they’re like listening to a friend tell a funny story. It’s very conversational sounding. Maddie performs and moves around a lot. It’s like watching an actor. Benton makes a lot of sound effects. Calvin is also pretty matter of fact, but I almost don’t even remember how he pitches because I love his drawings so much. Ryan laughs while he’s talking sometimes, which is just how he is in non-pitching real life anyway.
When I pitch I almost always end up talking to the audience in an aside. I think it’s a style I picked up when I was a teacher to try and keep the students alert. Like I’ll say the line that I wrote or point at a picture or something and then say “You know though right? Yeah you know, you get it! JG stop writing! So then Mordecai’s like…”
All these different ways of pitching are very fascinating to me. You see a different side of people when they pitch versus when you have a one on one conversation with them.
A writer/storyboard artist on Regular Show explains the process of pitching on the show.