Don’t ask unless you are ready to receive.
An up-and-coming Producer met with me recently in my office and pitched me a brand new project. The pitch was a good one. Very professional. Not too long. To the point. And she knew exactly what she wanted from the meeting: her objective was to get me to invest in her show, which she was sure was the next Rent.
I wasn’t so sure that she should be polishing her Pulitzer just yet, but the project did have some merit even though it was very early, so I decided to play along to see how ready she was to take the project to the next step.
When she very clearly got to her close and asked me for the money, I told her I was interested and asked her who I should make the check payable to if I was ready to invest right then and there. Her eyes went wide. Then they glazed over. It became clear that she didn’t think anyone would ever write a check on the spot. She obviously didn’t give herself credit for being that good, or for her project being that good.
She stammered a bit, and then tried to back herself out of the corner by saying that the investment vehicle was still being created, and that she was discussing some options with her partner and their lawyer and that as soon as they had some papers they would send it to me.
Flash forward a few weeks later, and despite some very nice follow up on her part, I still haven’t received anything. And without a doubt, my interest has waned, as you would expect it to when I’ve had weeks to think about it, I’m not in the same room with the passionate pitcher, I’ve had other projects get pitched to me, etc.
This happens a lot, actually, especially when projects are artist driven. Often the business-side of what we do gets lost. If your goal of a meeting is to get someone to give you money, be prepared on how you will accept it. Front money agreement? LLC? Non-profit donations through Fractured Atlas?
Have a plan. Any plan.
Because if you’re going into meetings trying to sell your show, you have to be ready for someone to buy it.