When you meet someone in an elevator you have 5-10 seconds to tell them who you are and what you are all about.
The same thing applies when you come face to face with a Casting Producer and they say “what’s your story?”
A Casting Producer will be impressed and intrigued if you are confident in your story. Confidence comes with practice and perfection of your elevator pitch.
The casting story you have developed is the basis for everything you do in casting, but you need to have an elevator pitch ready. You will encounter a few important people in the casting process, who will flat out ask you “what’s your story?”
The time you have to grab their attention will be no more than 10 seconds.
These 10 seconds, and how you respond, are critical, which is why you need to have your elevator pitch locked and loaded at all times.
What Makes Up An Elevator Pitch
Very simply, your pitch should be one or two sentences – maximum. It needs to contain only the most relevant and compelling parts of your story.
The pitch should have at least three hooks in it (a hook is something someone can identify with, positively or negatively). Conciseness is as important as how you deliver it.
To make thing easier for you I’ve built an example elevator pitch for “Cindy.”
Cindy’s Elevator Pitch
Cindy is a nurse, who has been picked on and loves a good challenge. She loves her children, sewing, and running – all very common things.
With common everyday qualities, you can present yourself as relatable but not hate-able (not always a bad thing). Here is an example of an average elevator pitch for Cindy:
I’m a 47 year old nurse, and a mother of two. I love a great challenge and am not afraid to show everyone what the mother who likes to sew is made of.
This is a solid elevator pitch. It identifies Cindy as nurse (sympathy), and that she has two children (motherly). She loves being challenged and is confident in herself.
There are two hooks in this pitch, but none of them draw any overly strong emotions besides being a mother. A simple tweak can turn her average elevator pitch into a great elevator pitch.
Cindy’s Best Elevator Pitch
Changing two small things with Cindy’s elevator pitch turn it into a great one:
I’m a 47 year old nurse and a mother of two who doesn’t put up with any crap. I was bullied as a young girl, and overcame a lot of challenges in my life that most mothers never have to deal with.
Adding flare (put up with any crap) and including a very strong hook (most mothers never have to deal with) really strengthens this pitch.
The flare solidifies her pitch as a tough mother.
The hook makes you wonder what else she has gone through in her life, and creates an automatic interest in her story.
When you create your elevator pitch, start backwards and identify your hooks before you put it all together. Identifying what is polarizing and memorable about you will make writing your elevator pitch a lot easier.
Putting It All Together
Having an elevator pitch you have developed and are comfortable with is not just a strategy, it’s a necessity. Using this technique allows you to have a well-crafted response to a question you KNOW you will get asked at some point during casting.
One word of caution: don’t have your elevator pitch memorized so well that you sound like a robot. Keep in mind the main points of your pitch, but don’t recite it word for word. The more natural the better (get more natural by practicing it on others). Keeping your elevator pitch locked and loaded is one of the things you have to do in preparation for getting cast on a Reality TV show.
What is holding you back from creating your elevator pitch? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.