Game of Thrones: The Art of the Pitch
[Spoiler alert: Plot elements from Season 7, Episode 7 revealed].
As a filmmaker and an entrepreneur, I’ve made a lot of pitches. I’ve pitched start-up ideas, apps, screenplays, and myself to a variety of decision-makers. I’ve also taught workshops on how to make an effective pitch. But, it wasn’t until I rewatched the Season Eight finale of HBO’s Game of Thrones that I noticed what turns out to be a near-perfect example of a pitch that makes people literally sit up and take notice. Here’s how it breaks down:
1. The Cold Open
2. State the Problem
3. Present Supporting Evidence
4. Build Dramatic Tension
5. The Big Reveal
6. Your Secret Sauce
With the audience now firmly under your sway, it’s time to unveil your ‘secret sauce,’ your plan, product or idea that you want your audience to fund, support, or adopt. Once again, Jon Snow opts to demonstrate to Cersei how they solve the problem of the Army of the Dead. In this case, the secret sauce is Dragon Glass. It’s simple, effective, and efficient.
You’ve laid it all out and now your fate lies in the hands of your audience.
7. Stick the Landing
You’ve made your ask, your audience considers your proposal, and now your future hangs in the balance. Regardless of how good your pitch is, there’s always the possibility that a decision-maker just won’t go for it. At this point, the best thing you can do is to listen and be receptive to feedback. Even if they ultimately pass, you may learn valuable information from their feedback that will help you hone future iterations of your pitch.
Pitching isn’t easy, especially if you haven’t done it before. Above all, you’ve got to practice, practice, practice until you can, at minimum, nail your transitions. You don’t need to memorize your pitch, but if you can smoothly move from one section to the next, your audience will likely go along for the ride. These tips can help make it more enjoyable (and fruitful) for both of you.