One of the classes that I am taking in the Newhouse LA is TRF 471, better known as TV Nation with Professor Bob “TV Bob” Boden. This was a class that I had been excited about before I even got to Los Angeles. For the midterm and final of TV Nation, you have to come up with an idea for a TV show, either scripted or unscripted, and then pitch it to not only your class and professor but also to a network executive who will hear your pitch and then leave comments. It was definitely daunting but I was up for the task.
For my midterm pitch, I pitched a scripted TV show. I had done presentations in class before and knew how to present a good-looking presentation. However, I never accounted for the selling aspect of the idea. The idea can only be as good as the pitch is. I did okay in front of the executive to whom I was pitching but I definitely lacked that next gear in my pitch and selling skills. “Lean into the comedy more” was his biggest note. “Okay,” I thought to myself, I can do that. I had been so used to other presentations just regurgitating things I found on the internet and putting them into a slideshow and calling that presentation, it was so much more than that.
All of the information that exists about my idea is solely in my head, there is no prior knowledge or information about it on Google that can be researched to get a better understanding. I realized that I needed to sell myself and my passion for this idea just as much as I needed to have a halfway decent TV show that a network exec would be impressed by.
I worked on my confidence and on my pitch for the final. Recently, in class, we pitched our ideas for the final to our classmates and Bob. I felt as though I had a decent show on my hands but knew it was not going to resonate with anyone if I did not bring the energy and make this world and characters come to life. So I did exactly that, I completely put myself out there bringing the energy I thought necessary to really sell the idea, and it worked. I could feel the connection with my classmates that was missing on my first go around for the midterm. They were laughing at the characters and ideas and gave me the confidence I needed to really sell this idea.
That confidence is not limited to TV Nation or the classroom. Learning that lesson and how to pitch has made me more confident in everyday life. I feel confident in everything I am saying and have been a part of more engaging conversations because of it. It is always a great feeling when you have a solid tool or outlook that you take away from a class, and I definitely have that.
Jack Gonzalez is a junior in the television, radio and film program at the Newhouse School.