If you had asked my 18-year-old self what I would be doing after college, I would have confidently told you I would be living in New York, waiting tables and auditioning until I was cast in the next big Broadway show.
These days, I spend more time perfecting pitches than pirouettes, but it turns out that media relations and the theatre business are not as separate as I thought. While we might not have to show off our best 32 bars, it turns out that the regular practice of pitching is an awful lot like an audition.
1. Get a good head shot.
Clearly, you need to look your best to put yourself in front of a casting director. It’s your first impression. But besides looking good, you need to resemble your head shot in real life. A director quickly wants to know what they’re getting. When you’re pitching the media, it’s important to have a subject line that’s intriguing and attention getting, but that’s also related to your content. Let the media know what they’re getting.
2. Control as much as you can.
Whether your goal is landing a placement in a media outlet or a part in a play, elements are always out of your control. However, you can keep yourself from looking silly by doing the proper research. Just as it helps an auditioner to be familiar with the show and director, it’s incredibly helpful for PR professionals to have an understanding of the outlet and the reporter or producer they’re pitching. By learning what is and isn’t a good fit for you as a performer or for your client, you give yourself a greater chance at success.
3. Get to your money note.
Neither casting directors nor the media have the luxury of time, so don’t take too long to show off your best stuff. Cut the intro that doesn’t show off your voice, and cut the fluff out of your pitches. When you get to the point quickly, you up your chances of success significantly.
4. Keep moving.
You probably won’t land every show you audition for, and it’s unlikely every pitch will elicit a response. In both cases, though, we benefit from reflecting on what we did well and what we could have done better. In my experience, the only way to get better at auditioning or pitching is just to do it, so briefly think about what you could have done better – and keep moving.
5. Don’t give them what they’ve heard before.
No casting director wants to hear another girl sing “On My Own” in an audition ever again, so don’t give it to them. Similarly, media outlets are looking for something new, so creativity is key in the angles you pitch.
These days, you’re more likely to find me with a stylebook than my book of audition cuts, but I still use those skills every day.
Do you have some other similarities that I missed? Tell us in the comments!