Words of Advice For Young People From Culturebot
This was originally posted by Andy, one the arts + culture experts from CultureBot—we thought it was sound advice for all the up-and-coming artists out there. (Or an invitation to the old and jaded artists who are reading this to take a stroll down memory lane to a time when you were poor and earnest.)
Here at Culturebot we get a lot of pitches from newly-minted college grads who are either promoting shows or looking for writing gigs. Here’s some advice:
1. Don’t tell your life story as a pity pitch.
I know you think that your confusion and alienation on hitting the real world is fascinating. Guess what? It isn’t. It is usually completely irrelevant so don’t tell me about how you’re struggling with this time of your life. Twentysomething alienation is a gift, enjoy it. Go get loaded and get laid like the rest of your friends. Or start a band. Or write a hit TV show.
2. Focus, dammit, focus.
This is kind of an addendum to the first point. I don’t care about your life story unless it is relevant to the pitch. Otherwise, take some time and think about what the story is, what the pitch is, what is different, unique, insightful and relevant. Convince me that there’s a story there. If you’re pitching yourself as a writer, then focus on your positives and your experience, not your negatives. Once again – I’m not concerned with your life story unless it is relevant to your writing skills.
After the jump: the importance of spelling, not being a dick, and offering sex (attempt at your own risk).
3. Spelling, Grammar.
Don’t misspell words in your cover letter, don’t make self-deprecating asides that throw off the syntax of your sentences. Once again – it is not about you, don’t make it about you. Be concise, thoughtful and to-the-point. Spell correctly and use good sentence structure. Even if we here at Culturebot sometimes screw up, that doesn’t mean you should.
If you’re promoting a regular old “play” play about historical matters by a regular old midtown theater company, Culturebot is probably not going to cover it. Target your pitch to each outlet appropriately. Don’t waste everybody’s time with an inappropriate pitch.
5. Take a class.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, that’s okay – just don’t tell me that and hope I’ll cut you slack. Go to The Field or some other organization and learn how to pitch, how to write a press release, etc.
6. Take a deep breath.
Believe it or not, success doesn’t come overnight. It takes a LONG time! So chill the fuck out, learn what you need to learn, buckle down and work. That’s what everyone else does. The quicker you focus on work and less on your alienation, the sooner you’ll make progress. Trust me, as someone who extended their adolescence as long as possible, I know what I’m talking about.
7. Get some rich friends
If you’re not rich, it really helps to have rich friends. Their parents will pay for the publicist.
8. Ask for help – but not from the press you’re pitching.
That’s why God invented the internet and internships.
9. Don’t be a dick.
It isn’t funny and it isn’t appreciated.
10. Offer sex.
I’m middle aged, alone and peeing in supermarkets. Sex with young people is a great incentive to compensate me for my time and attention.
Don’t want to take my advice? Then listen to these words of wisdom from William S. Burroughs:
Got advice of your own for young artists? Send it to ellen_at_pafringe.org and we’ll post it on the blog!
–Nick Gilewicz and Ellen Freeman
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.