Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Andy Schmidt on Pitching: Get Comfortable!

In last week’s Creators Workshop live session, Comics Experience founder Andy Schmidt provided tips and answered questions about pitching projects to editors and publishers.

Andy’s presentation was filled with information gleaned from Andy’s career as a comic book editor and a freelance comics writer.

And one piece of advice stood out: Before pitching a story, be comfortable and confident enough to answer any questions that come your way. If an editor asks any questions about your character, your story and your world, you should be prepared to answer them, without scrambling to fill in the blanks.

Andy noted that different writers can reach this comfort level in different ways. At the beginning of his time as a freelance comics writer, Andy would write out an “extremely tight outline” for the entire mini-series or story arc.

“It would be a scene-by-scene, and even a page-by-page breakdown,” Andy said. “Sometimes, I would even write the first script.”

The pitch itself included only the bare-bones plot and character elements. But by preparing so much extra material, Andy was confident that if editors had questions, he would have the answers.

Eventually, Andy said, he became comfortable working from a shorter outline, or notes focused on character motivation and turning points.

However, this comfort level isn’t only for writers. Andy noted that artists should also be extremely familiar with the characters and the world. Adding storytelling through character design, while creating appealing, appropriate artwork, can help a pitch stand out, Andy said. And when someone asks a question about the character designs, or the world, the artist can quickly provide an answer, sometimes with the help of a sketch.

This was just one small part of Andy’s presentation on pitching. Andy also discusses pitching in the Comics Experience Intro to Writing class. Additionally, members of the Creators Workshop often share their pitches with the workshop, to receive critiques and gain advice on making them stronger.

A recording of the entire discussion will be available to Workshop members for a few weeks, so it's not too late to check out the full session.

Comics Experience Creators Workshop live session, Adam and Comfort Love will be discussing how they make a living on the convention circuit -- attending conventions nearly year-round -- as well as answering questions about their Harvey Award-nominated comics work.

Comics Experience live sessions take place every month, giving members real-world knowledge that will help them succeed in their comics career. There’s still plenty of time to sign up before next month’s session. We hope to see you there.

-- Posted by Paul Allor