A group of Art Center students have spent the past 13 weeks preparing and rehearsing for this Sunday’s Idea to Pitch, a red carpet Hollywood-style event that marks the culmination of the Entertainment Design Department’s first course to integrate written story development with concept art.
Hosted by Idea to Pitch instructor Nick Pugh, the event will feature 11 upper-term students–eight from Entertainment Design, two from Illustration and one from Film–pitching original intellectual property created during the course to an invited audience of Hollywood studio heads, producers, talent agents and development executives, including individuals from Dreamworks, Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures and Creative Artists Agency.
The concept behind the experimental Idea to Pitch course is to empower Entertainment Design students by showing them they can shift from being a work-for-hire concept artist to a content owner. How is this accomplished? By teaching them how to wed their original film treatments with dramatic concept art to effectively sell their ideas.
And what better way to teach this concept than to have the students actually pitch to real decision-makers in Hollywood?
“These students have been practicing their pitches every week since week one of this term,” said Pugh, who says the course eschewed traditional critiques and instead had each student revise and refine their pitch each week. “As an instructor, I’ve tried my very best to cultivate ideas that are original, unique and very sellable. I want the students to understand what it means to make something that has real value.”
“The goal of the course is to teach students how to own their intellectual property, how to pitch it and how to become an overall conceptualist,” added Tim Flattery, Chair of the Entertainment Design Department, while emphasizing that the real-world element at play at the event will make the proceeding all the more dramatic. “If somebody at this event is interested in optioning their story? Well, that’s all the better.”
Idea to Pitch takes place this Sunday, December 11 at noon. Creative individuals in the entertainment industry interested in attending can RSVP to email@example.com or 626.396.2464.
Hollywood producers, writers, development executives and other invited individuals filled the LA Times Auditorium this past weekend for the inaugural Idea to Pitch, where they were treated to 11 full-length motion picture pitches that ranged from a sci-fi thriller to a children’s fantasy to to an absurdist action comedy. Feedback from the audience–which included individuals from RGH Entertainment, Bad Robot, Ziskin Productions, Digital Ranch, Paramount Pictures and Blacklight–was both positive and constructive, with one producer commenting that the pitches were substantially better than what more than 90% of professional writers come into his office to pitch. That comment drew both a laugh from the audience and a feigned outrage of one nearby writer who cried, “Hey, I’m sitting right here!”
Students received tips on everything from how to adjust their pitches to match specific budgets to how to keep their cool during a high-pressure presentation. One producer in the audience asked the students, “Out of curiosity, how many of you are so passionate and excited about your project that you want to turn it into a script?” To which every student in the class raised their hands.
“I’ve always pitched this class as a pipeline to real projects,” said instructor Nick Pugh, responding to the question. “This not a theoretical class. This class, with its focus on property creation and property ownership, is not just about getting a good job. It’s about heading out into the industry with a property that’s worth something.”
Turns out the student’s properties may already be worth something. According to Pugh, individuals invited to the event expressed interest in three of the projects, with one receiving multiple inquiries.