Hey, everyone gearing up to pitch me at San Diego who doesn't have a completed graphic novel for me to review, read this before you come up to booth #2001 next week:
"Let's say you want to pitch me something (you have) and let's say I told you what I want to hear in a pitch (I did). Let's say even though I make no secret that I don't want to hear pitches from people (I don't), I have enough talented friends that they still pitch me stuff anyway (they do). Lots of these folks work in creative areas that are not comics, and they pitch me in a way that works in their area of expertise but maybe not so much in comics (also true). Since I get one of these well-meaning calls or emails at least twice a week, I have finally been broken down by the persistence of the talent and have written this down. This is the Holy Word; THE way to pitch me
your project. But since everyone's creativity is coming from a different place, I can't show you how to pitch your INDIVIDUAL project. But you've seen STAR WARS, right? Let's say you're pitching me the original STAR WARS as a graphic novel. THIS IS ALL YOU NEED:
"Tonally like the FLASH GORDON serial cliffhangers of old, this 144 page OGN has us meet a desert planet farmboy, LUKE SKYWALKER, who gets caught up in an epic rebellion against an evil Galactic Empire. Guided by a member of the old guard, OBI-WAN KENOBI, Luke is swept up into intergalactic intrigue and machinations along with PRINCESS LEIA (last survivor of a doomed planet) and HAN SOLO (a roguish space pirate). Two robots Luke encounters are secretly carrying plans to the Empire's Ultimate Weapon, The Death Star, and it's up to our unlikely band to deliver the plans to rebel forces in the hopes The Death Star can be destroyed.
"Along the way, they are hounded by DARTH VADER, an evil Hitler-in-space sworn to serve the Emperor. Vader has kidnapped Princess Leia and is holding her aboard the Death Star. After the destruction of Leia's home planet by the Empire, Han, Luke and the rest are captured and brought aboard the Death Star as well. Evading the Imperial forces, the lads decide to rescue the Princess and get away clean. Kenobi confronts Vader, a pupil of his until he turned to evil, and sacrifices himself in a futuristic laser sword duel so his crew can get away.
"Reluctantly, Luke leaves his dead mentor and Han and the boys escape behind Rebel lines, delivering the plans but inadvertently leading the Death Star to their base and imminent destruction. The rag-tag rebel fleet launches a last-ditch effort to protect their base and destroy the Death Star. Led by Luke and with a last-minute save by Han, evil is vanquished and the good guys win. Cue fanfare; happily ever after.
"See? Obviously it doesn't have all the story beats and it doesn't say the droids are comic relief and doesn't even mention Grand Moff Tarkin and Chewbacca, but it tells the three-act breakdown enough that anyone can see whether publishing STAR WARS fits their publishing plan or not. An added benefit is that once you know your story this well, you can pitch the whole thing to a hungover editor on a convention floor in 90 seconds.
"This is the secret to the clean pitch, and doesn't waste anyone's time. They're either on your bus or not. They don't like it, pitch it to the next bus. Metaphorically."
An oldie, but a goodie.