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Making A Pitch Is Also A Chance To Demonstrate Your Expertise

April 7, 2017

Freelance illustrators and writers will often pitch ideas to clients. Your chances for success are better if you’ve already done work for the client, and established a good relationship.

You’re trying to sell your idea, of course, but a pitch is also a chance to demonstrate your expertise and stay top-of-mind. To show you’re an idea person, a collaborator, someone who’s invested in promoting the client’s brand.

For me, it means presenting the idea, then showing how it could be expanded or spun in different directions.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Here’s an idea I pitched to Chick-fil-A. It’s a storyboard in animated GIF format. Basic idea: nobody can resist a Chick-fil-A Original Chicken Sandwich.blank vertical space, 24 pixels highAnimated GIF Easter Bunny meets grouchy kid acts rude gives thumbs-down to Easter eggs but kid goes wild with happiness when bunny gives him Chick-fil-A original chicken sandwich

I submitted the pitch via email, and included the following thoughts:

  • it doesn’t have to be the Original Chicken Sandwich; you could feature any menu item– perhaps something seasonal
  • you could change the plot line; for example: have the Easter Bunny give up in disgust, then have a Chick-fil-A employee show up to save the day

Demonstrating expertise is mostly about sharing info and pointing out possibilities. Some other thoughts:

  • using an animated GIF makes sense strategically, because most content being consumed today is video-based (it’s what people want)
  • the GIF has a nice seasonal tie-in (Easter); brands score points (=credibility) when they acknowledge seasons and current events
  • the single frames of the GIF could be repurposed and used separately: digitally, or even for placemat decorations, coloring handouts for kids, etc.

A pitch can also be a learning experience. Consider the following “still”:blank vertical space, 24 pixels highEaster Bunny with hand on hip frowning at rude yawning kid

It was in the animated GIF, right?

Actually, no. It looks right because it’s a stand-alone sketch: kid gives bored yawn, bunny reacts with frown and hand on hip.

But if you scroll up and watch the GIF again, you’ll see the yawn-frown combo doesn’t occur in a single slide. The kid yawns in one slide, the bunny reacts in the next. That’s the only way it “works.” It’s just the nature of animation.

Did I already know that? No. I learned it while I was constructing the GIF.

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Thoughts? I’d appreciate your feedback.

We’ve still got snow here in New Hampshire, USA, but see if you can identify these 10 Spring Things.

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About Mark: I’m an illustrator specializing in humor, branding, social media, and content marketing. I create images that get content seen and shared.

You can view my portfolio, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Questions? Send me an email.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2017 2:22 PM

    This is wonderful! You made such a powerful GIF – and it’s very useful, too. I like your alternate ideas of using it; that sounds like a really good selling point. Had no idea that video is the most consumed content today. Wow. Haaa! Big lesson to learn, the way to segment “multi-event” static images so they can turn into videos. I used to write video scripts (long, long time ago) and worked from sketched story boards that I had to clear with the clients. It always surprised them, how long a video would run after just a handful of multi-event sketches. LOL – frequently surprised me, too! Super post!!!! Your art always makes me happy and teaches me something! 🙂


    • April 21, 2017 6:03 PM

      My dear RK!! Thanks for this lovely comment. You have, once again, exceeded all kindness parameters!! : )

      Yes, I seem to be on a GIF kick– or do I mean schtick?? In a way, they’re like shooting a quick, rough-cut video. Takes a bit a time to put together, but I figure I’ve got a better chance of selling an idea if I show rather than tell (especially when the “plot” is as goofy as this one!!).

      Yeah, I keep reading that video is the dominant form of content being consumed today, and that its market share is only going to increase. I hope it doesn’t become some kind of coercive fad, where everybody feels compelled to jump on the bandwagon. Video doesn’t magically turn poor ideas and content into good ideas and content. Plus I think it will make it harder for small businesses to compete– not every business can afford to make a big investment in video technology, and then spend a lot of time cranking out videos.

      I’d forgotten about your writing video scripts– I think you’d shared that previously. You were clearly ahead of your time!! Do you make a lot of preliminary sketches when you’re working on one of your paintings or mixed media collages? That could make for a very interesting blog post: you could use the sketches to show your thought process, and how a particular concept evolved. Just a thought!

      Glad you liked the post, and thanks a million for all your kind and supportive feedback!! : )

      Liked by 1 person

      • April 22, 2017 1:27 PM

        Thank you, Mark -that’s a terrific idea for a post! The blog’s toast, though. LOL – wouldn’t that be a cool GIF? A charred blog popping up out of a toaster? Haaa! Re sketches before art: I love to plan to the “nth” degree in every part of my life EXCEPT where colors and shapes come in. Planning there always leads me to inaction. I do a sketch? That’d better be “it” because after the sketch I’ve analyzed the plan into so many impossibilities that I can’t move. So – for colors and shapes and photos (and digital compilations) I just jump in and do the thing right away. Maybe 10% of the time the result’s worth it. But nothing’s truly wasted and I do enjoy the thrill of leaping into the unknown. Thank you for asking!!! 🙂


        • April 22, 2017 3:27 PM

          Understood! Over-planning and obsessing with details can rob art of spontaneity and leave it looking stilted and forced. A subtle thing, and a dilemma for any artist, working in any art form.

          Liked by 1 person

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