The second pitching event at Hackney House, leading to a Speed Mentoring session on 29 June, was even more well attended than the first. Everyone worked very hard, and after 4 hours, we had all stories reframed and ready for practice.
One of the participants, Peter Johnston of Hedgho.gg wrote to me afterwards: "I wanted to thank you for the feedback from Friday, I've digested a lot of it, and will be much stronger next time I hope."
Where Does Hope Come Into It?
Here's a big challenge: the first time you transform a story whose telling has become habit, you're left in the in the space between the comfort zone you had before and the dazzling effect you're like to achieve.
In other words, it's unfamiliar territory.
The only way to go back to a place where you feel comfortable -- with material more effective than that which you had a habit of repeating - is to practice. You then have replaced ineffective habits with more effective ones.
All the participants promised to do some homework -- to write their pitches on cards and learn it so that if someone were to wake them in the middle of the night, they could rattle off the story by heart. Only once you know something cold can you improvise - as you must with each new set of listeners -- because you know how far you can go out on a limb before you have to come back.
It's a lesson Max Roach taught me at 21 on my first day working at La Mama Cafe back in my days as a theatre dramaturg. It's one that I relearn every time I work with a new client.
So here's the very impressive Peter Johnston and me -- come hear his story on the 29th.