By: Bobby Durben
I honestly can’t believe no one has talked about the intern pitch yet!
*Looks back at blog after he already started writing this article*
I honestly can’t believe I’m only the second person to talk about the intern pitch!
While my dear, sweet, innocent, fluorescent light bulb of a co-intern Katie touched upon what makes a good pitch and why she needs to take acting classes and something about Lance eating pizza with Julia Roberts at the Hiperwall, she never got into the nitty-gritty of the pitch process itself. And oh, what nitty-gritty it was.
Blood. Sweat. Beers. Sweaty beers. Beery Blood. Bloody sweat (time to see a doctor). The pitch process was all this and more. But don’t take my word for it… here’s Hugh Grant with a tastefully edited documentary on what makes a good intern pitch!
(No? He was outside the budget? There was no budget? God forbid you people tell me this stuff before I start writing… ok, blog post it is.)
The Month Prior
Team Morale In Movie Title Form: Are We There Yet?
A month out from the pitch and everything is friggin’ gravy. We have so much time. An abundance of time. A plethora of time. We will do everything. Here, have some creative ideas. Have them all. We can do anything because the good man upstairs has given us so much time and there’s no way our schedules will possibly get busier the closer we get to the finish line so expectations for this project should be impossibly high.
We are the kings and queens of advertising.
Two Weeks Prior
Team Morale in Movie Title Form: The Kids Are Alright
The creative ideas have been reviewed, and apparently we aren’t killing just one of our babies. We’re killing all of our babies. We’re leading our babies to slaughter like innocent little sheep, knowing all too well as we stare into their glistening, innocent eyes exactly what fate has in store for them. We are monsters. But what’s this? Could it be? One baby rising, stronger and bolder and more full of youthful vigor than all the other babies, a baby who grabs us by our throats with itty-bitty hands and demands to be heard, a baby that LIVES! We have an idea – a real, functional idea.
(Clarification: This is, in fact, a metaphor for the brainstorming process and not some sick-but-potentially-highly-entertaining baby fight club that could only occur if we skirted some significant ethical boundaries.)
The Week Prior
Team Morale In Movie Title Form: A Little Chaos
In the final week leading up to the pitch, the importance of time management becomes apparent. On a related note, I have no sense of time management. I have spent all night scheduling meetings that overlap each other, which Microsoft Outlook points out with reckless abandon. After calling my mom in tears asking her to sort out my agenda for me, we find time to meet with our mentors.
This is good. Our mentors are smart people full of great ways to bring our ideas to life, but who can also easily see all the flaws in our plans and preface every bad statement with “Good idea, but…”. They are like the ice machine of life, crystallizing our dreams into solid, tangible form only to crush them into a coarse and infinite number of shards before depositing them indifferently onto the kitchen floor for your poor mother to clean up because you’re too lazy.
I should call my mom back.
Anyways. There is one week left. Feeling pretty good. Preeetty, preeeeetty goooood.
The Night Prior
Team Morale In Movie Title Form: Anger Management
The deck is made. It looks… let’s just say it’s almost definitely a deck. As the old saying goes, “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig”. Likewise, you can put lipstick on a Powerpoint, but you’ll ruin your laptop screen and good luck explaining the pink smears to your supervisor in a way that doesn’t come off as both creepily sexual and borderline psychopathic.
Panic begins to set in as we progress through the setup. Like an infant that doesn't understand the concept of object permanence, we are terrified of letting things out of our sight for fear they might disappear forever. Leave your presentation notes? They’re as good as gone. Leave the room your teammates are in? POOF. They’ve disappeared into the ether. Oh well. The pitch must go on. It might be nothing short of an unmitigated disaster, but it MUST. GO. ON. There is quite literally nothing more crucial to the day-to-day operations of this office – Nay, the advertising industry as a whole – than these intern pitches. The fate of the world is in our clammy, poorly-manicured-because-interns-don’t-get-employee-benefits hands.
The Morning Of
Team Morale in Movie Title Form: There Will Be Blood
The first rays of sun peek through my blinds and stab me in the retinas like some kind of dawn assassin. That’s a great name for a book. Can we work that into the deck? Remind myself to ask the Art Director. Also remind myself to stop asking the Art Director for things.
We are an amalgamation of sharpie stains, cheap booze and corporate buzzwords. SCALABILITY. WE’RE OFF BRIEF. CLOSE THE LOOP. As we begin to collectively ponder our own existence, I am unceremoniously dragged back to reality by the smell of Falafel Hut. I will eat some fried chickpeas to settle my stomach before these presentations. My teammates will not join me - yet another hairline crack in the delicate porcelain teacup that is our team chemistry.
Fortunately, falafel is the Tums of street food. There is no way this will possibly come back to bite me mid-presentation. Or in my late 30’s.
The Actual Pitch
Team Morale in Movie Title Form: Stand By Me
I think I blacked out, but was told afterwards I was “like a young Cary Grant”, or an “older and more uncomfortable Michael Cera”, depending on who you ask. Our CEO approached afterwards to congratulate us, and reminds me she follows me on Twitter. The fear of God/Karen is now in my heart.
Team Morale in Movie Title Form: The Hangover
It’s all over before we know it. And people are staring at us. And clapping. Nice. The only evidence that anything actually happened is a couple beads of sweat slowly crawling down our foreheads and an overwhelming sense of either relief or embarrassment, depending on how we think it went. Someone gives us water. We request beer. Someone else heeds our request. We drink several, get buzzed, remember we have other work and spend the remainder of the day trying to type through slightly-blurry vision while some people shout things at us. Balance has returned to the universe.
The pitch may be over, but the memories will last forever… or at least until the one tomorrow.