Sunday, July 15, 2007

What is a pitch?

Since I was asked this question again, I will clarify.

A "pitch" is a "query," or basically a letter describing a possible story to an editor, who will hopefully give you the assignment. In it you should address the topic in an interesting way, speak to why it's relevant now and give a couple sentences to you and your credits.

Here's a sample pitch letter:

Hi, Mr. X:

Adam West, the campy 1960s series "Batman," and modern art?

The X Gallery has given West and 40 other artists space to interpret the 1966-68 television show and the phenomenon of Batman through July 23. West's show is called "Beyond Batman" while other artists make up 50 pieces called "Gotham," after Batman's hometown of Gotham City. The show is to commemorate the television series' 40th anniversary and includes sketches and paintings by West of several Batman regulars. He reportedly worked on the exhibition for the last three years and his work has been called "minimalist" and "fresh."

Although the exhibit has drawn fanboys and Batman geeks aplenty, art collectors and critics agree it's a unique and humorous artistic account of the series. In "Gotham" international artists like the Japanese Naoto Hattori also use their own interpretation of "Batman," which features an innocuous bat-like creature hanging from a branch with large eyes and human features.

It's quirky but definitely a diverting way to spend an hour or two, even if surrounded by 30-something guys still living in their parents' basement.

I have been published in . . .

It's not the best query, but it's one that worked for me. Got the hook, got the meat of the story and showed its timeliness. I use humor, but it doesn't always work for every editor and it's certainly not appropriate in every scenario. So use at your own risk!

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