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Elevator Pitch

Lesson 23 from: Create Powerful Photo Essays & Personal Projects

David H Wells

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Lesson Info

23. Elevator Pitch

Lesson Info

Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a short summary used to quickly to find a person product service and his value proposition all right, the name elevator pitch reflects the idea should be able to deliver the pitch during an elevator ride of thirty seconds to two minutes it comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important the elevator if the conversation in the elevator is interesting in the values added it will continue after the elevator ride and or end in the exchange of business cards and actually pull this right off the web you can actually go wikipedia and search elevator pitch and there's a lot of definitions of elevator pitch but I actually think wikipedia does a good job of distilling it down to something really simple and you've seen these in movies you know, the aspiring actor and you're already so excited about this you can't even imagine how excited you are about this okay? You and unfortunately we're all going to come up here stand right next to me right it's a gre...

at exercise okay? You are in an elevator with photo editor of the national geographic or the sunday new york times or the museum on our security it can be anybody in part of your elevator pitch is you have to recognize that person say aren't you from the aren't you the secretary of transportation who is a secretary transportation these days? I don't know okay you're actually a secretary of transportation so you actually recognize that person doesn't have to be those but it has to be somebody who you'd consider important okay you have forty five seconds to sell them on your idea so they will give you their business card so you can send them some work so anthony foxx anthony foxx is the secretary transportation ok you might so write it down because that's probably going to be the starting point of the secretary of trans for days so in a few minutes you're going to come up here so you might as well take a deep breath okay and you give me your elevator pitch maybe we should put jim on the spot make him do it first so you come up here and you'll give me your pitch okay? You need to convey your project in general and your point of view what makes you uniquely qualified to do the project these air all the buttons we've been pushing before but you're going to have to simplify them the presentation for meant and what that adds to your project and don't obsess about these because I'm kind of putting you on the spot here and you're gonna have to do this on the fly but these are the things that you do want to go home and you actually really do want to write the elevator pitch because you are actually going to end up at a convention for example, in washington d c for example someday cindy and the secretary of the interior whose name I already traditional already forgot did you write it down? Anthony foxx is going to be on the elevator and he's going to be sitting there kind of daydreaming and you're actually gonna have the opportunity of a lifetime so you really actually want to do this okay um why they should be interested and don't today don't obsess about it but this is all in the pdf that you get you really want to learn how to do this okay first recognised them by name in their position so it's not like hey, you look like somebody important you're anthony foxx you're the secretary of transportation not my pits but I'm getting there okay um my name is david wells I live in providence what I want try to connect with them okay? You're going to get to the point of want to get something out of it don't go for the kill right away. Okay um try to comment on your recent work I wish I could take like a secretary because mostly I'm thinking about bridges falling down that's a problem? All right? Um try to comment try to connect to that comment of what they're doing toe what you're doing okay, this is not something you're going to do now but the ideas you'll do it eventually then picture project and how it fits in tow what they're doing you're trying to make a human connection so try really hard not to just be this sort of over anxious person so you are I know you're going to be worse the first time when you come up here he wants to kill me right now and again at the end of the game the object of course is to get a business card that's what you're there for you to make a connection but to get a business card as well be brief to the point and then have your own card ready okay your own business card ready so who wants to come up here and I'm going to actually be the pitcher and you're going to be the person who's going to get pitched to okay, so I'm actually to do most of talking you just come on up here and react to me you gonna stand next to me here? Okay. All right so we're in the elevator was close ding hello? Hi. How are you? Good. Aren't you cure a pollock you work for time magazine? I did you run that light box? I think what you guys doing light boxes really, really fabulous. Okay, what I like the most about recently was you had the great thing about matt blacks project on the geography of poverty in the central valley of california I thought the way you guys used, it was really, really compelling. My name is david wells, by the way, I'm a photographer. Also, I live in province, weird island in the central valley, california been a really interesting thing to me as well, because I've been photographing for the last few years, doing a project called for closed dreams. I go into the houses after the foreclosure and before they've been cleaned up, put back on the real estate market, and during that brief window, you can see the ghosts of the people who used to be there. Would you be interested in seeing some of that work? I think I would. Could I get your card? Sure. Thank you very much. That's a pleasure. Okay, right. I have an advantage. Obviously, because I practiced this a lot, but you get the idea. I like to think you did a reasonably good job of making you feel like I wasn't trying to get something out of you and actually happen to be two. Akira polic really was the photo out of the time magazine, and it really and I would actually love to do that exact thing with the real kira pollack if you're watching by the way hero let's talk about that, all of those things are absolute. Only two so there wasn't like I was being disingenuous or anything like that and I like to think I did a really good job of getting to the point without being too aggressive you seem smiling throughout so that's basically what you are going to have to do and I know you're so excited because you came up first I think he came first cause you thought you're gonna go last right you want to come up next okay once you come on up okay we're going to the exact same thing ladies so you might as well get ready you're not you're not a pin up next but you might start thinking about it okay so I'm going to do the same thing okay, so you're the photographer and I don't know who I am you you do you know who I am by the way um you really should think about that who would you like to get this stuff in front of david let go from so you think you could be oh so we're I'm guessing we're in california hungry oh aren't you john let's go from so you think you can dance? I am in a matter of fact I am going green glass I'm a professional photographer and past dancers long time ago so you have experience in dan I do I love your show so thank you actually I've been working on a project that was inspired somewhat by your show of our show inspired new? Actually, yes, there was a photograph dancers out in the environment, because as you work in your show, you take them and you choreograph and you show meaning intel stories that's what I do, I'd love to tell stories. And so what I'm doing is the photographing dancers in different genres like ugo and I'm taking them out in the environment where they belong. It's interesting. It's also. Nice to know we inspired you. Um, you want to see more? Can I give you my card? Ding. Excuse me. Hang outside. Absolutely meeting and here's. Great. Using image, my card of one of my dancers. Thank you so much. When it was nice meeting, you get a good okay. Yeah, right. It was great and it was very good. You might have gone a tiny bit longer on what it is that he does. The inspiration part makes him feel like because because the first thing you know this, you're on an elevator in some strange first and talks to you. First thing is, I know if I want to do this. But it was good about that. You knew he was that you knew the show that you were inspired. I might've gone just a teeny bit further on the what's special about him. And then you did a very nice job. Okay? And so what I'm doing and the connection to the two of them is and yeah, I got the car that we made it in time, so yeah. That's that's an elevator pitch. Oh, boy again. Don't worry about it this time, but you want to get in this happened. Ok, step up a little bit. Hang on a second. Door's gonna close, aren't you? Michael? J fox. I am michael. I love your work. Just your story and your journey has just been amazing how you've shared it with so many people with illness with parkinson's. Yes. You know, my father's actually got parkinson's. I'm sorry to hear that, but and I have a project that you might actually be interested. I'm a photographer, but on top of that, I've got family's been dealing with parkinson's for the last thirty years and I've been photographing him and I'd love to share it with a larger audience and increase awareness. Would you be interested in looking at my photos I think I'd be interested I do gotta go here gotta minute but here's my card if you have a card main chance yes I do oh here you go ok you name again was julie norton it's nice you have a good day good theo hind of the same thing and again michael j fox is a really good example people probably do that to him all the time and I love your work how you say tackle everybody likes it you started to go to know what's really interesting is unfortunate about your illness in your journey I might get to that a little bit faster because then he moves from oh it's one more crazy stalker too this this and you know his work this is his now his life work for better for worse so you want to get to that a little bit faster okay but no you're the real thing you'll do fine we're doing great doing great stand right here ok ok all right so hang on a second ready deep breath hi to anthony foxx liam in areas of transportation you want any hail how are you doing? Nice meeting you not many people recognize me in elevators like nice to talk to you I'm originally from seattle washington I've been doing a project everything on the bridges and everything in western washington that are you know, on the historical registration and trying to get some input and everything on how to get, um, some funding and everything for, you know, to help the communities and everything back home. Okay, you're aware that like one of the secondary teams that were pretty high? Oh yeah, I mean, it's not one thing that was good that you weren't going to like her rang me and say, I got to fix your first, um, tell me a little bit more about this and who isn't I mean way know about bridges, but tell me we broke the impact I've actually been working on one particular bridge that is kind of dear to the family and everything my dad lived in the area south park washington actually, seattle it's a suburb because it is a it closes it impact when it was closed for four years just has opened do funding and everything getting back, but we found out that there was a lot of other bridges in the in the area and everything well, I'd be interested. Are you a photographer? Didn't didn't hear that unit is yes, I am talking okay, all right, well, unfortunately, I got to go here, but I want to send me some work, okay, okay, data card ideo nice to meet you again, cindy, thank you very much. You did great you're a little bit nervous at the beginning, but once you started going, you were really fine because one of things I caught was you doing a project? What kind of project? I'm the secretary of transportation. Is this person gonna pitch me another highway? No, no, no. It's, a photographer. Okay. And the other thing we talked about this in your proposal, I understand how it's important to you, and especially this thing with your father, but it's really important to those people who are on the wrong end of these closures. And I'm the secretary transportation. My job is to make sure that that doesn't happen, so need to get to that a little bit faster. Okay, but you really I know you're nervous, and I get the impression that standing in front of people is probably not your favorite things. No, but you're really were starting to get it there, and my guess is by the time you finish that proposal, um, do a little bit more shooting and you have a clear idea of how it's gonna be. You're gonna be able to pitch me or anybody else really pretty fast, so that was actually really very, very good. The lesson there, as you saw from everybody, is you need teo practice, practice, practice, and sorry, you just you have to the only way it's going to get better, and then the other thing that's an irony is it a year from now, it'll be different than it was today, and then it'll keep evolving and keep evolving. And then at some point in time, almost all of you may be talking about not all that same pitch, but then you're also going to be able to say, oh, no, by the way, it was just exhibited at or it was published in, and the person on the other end of the pitch immediately says, oh, this person actually is not a stalker in the case of michael j fox and actually has already been anointed all the stuff we I'm talking about, so you're moving into that. I absolutely want that car. I'm gonna wait even if the elevator comes open to get the card and that's the the position you're trying to be in. All right, um, let me ask you before we go into the very last part. Any more questions about the elevator pitch? Don't do it again. You had so much fun when you for for over here, please. All right, great. So an easy would like to know and observation what is the unspoken rule about contact with pitch other than handshake? That is such a great question because a lot of times you have cultural specific thing sir for example I work a lot in india and the default in india is I'll walk up to a woman I don't know and I keep my hands here like this not stiffening but I just keep it in a way if her hands come out my hand comes out of her hand comes up like this my hand comes up like that and so a lot of it is that is a very culturally specific thing you also run into the gender thing if there's a maid's disparity male female you may want to do it a little more of a distance to start let the other person control the interaction in terms of do they put their hand out or not or if they're like to go back to michael j fox he's probably not one hundred percent sure but when he discovers that year on the on the same mission that he is almost guaranteed he's going to be out there but he needs to get to that comfort level so that's a cultural specific thing there but a good question a really good question we're good all right? Well I'm actually almost done here now I'm going to now do the hard part we're not done yet this is the homework this is the exercise and a call to action and this is one especially for the online audience this is the online audience his homework and you're welcome to do it if you want you guys have sort of a balancing act one of your things to do is go home and rewrite your project proposals based on this whole discussion if you're feeling good you can also do this homework the online audience though if they want to get the most out of this class should do all the homework that we've done so far and then they should actually write out your own elevator pitch and you've already started writing a trail on the elevator pitch actually do want to write it out practices a few times first on your own and in fact practice in front of other people including with his group for example you could practise it tweak it too you get it right and the case of the online audience the homework recorded with a digital camera a cellphone camera or the camera in your laptop so we can see you and here you it doesn't do any good if you send audio of you and you're going and there's nothing coming through and we also don't want just the audio we actually want and she really want to do it right do it exactly the way that he did find a person do the doors do the body language thing sends them out because it's gonna be imagine me doing this on my own without you it's easier to have another person so the homework is to actually do it record it with a digital camera cell phone cameron your computers so we can see you and hear you and send a link posted online somewhere youtube somewhere else send a link two creative live by nine p m pacific standard time tonight and it's again homework a creative live dot com and tomorrow we'll share the top three I'm really excited about this because I've done this a lot as you've seen I've never actually done this I'm really dying to see how people elsewhere in the web universe interpret this and the people that they want to meet it's a big part of members said who do you want to meet each one of you actually had it it was quite you had a very specific person in mind who you wanted to meet and you may someday don't don't laugh you would be surprised and so you want to have that opportunity and students out there that's basically the homework for tonight too create his little video it's going to be a minute tops with exactly as I just just did you saw three versions of it four versions county mind send it in and we'll look at the top three tomorrow anything else there jim? I think we're good to go but right right now let's talk about tomorrow what way coming in our final day tomorrow we're going to be going through mohr mechanical stuff on things like the tools that I use in terms of the cameras and again, I'm not going to be selling you a brand of camera, but I am going to be selling you a logic of why I choose to camera I'm going to walk through a whole slightly boring but really important talk on workflow and organization of your images because everybody out there who's a digital photographer's going oh my god, what do I do with all those pictures? How do we organize them? How do I sort them? So I'm gonna walk you through my work flow, okay? I'm gonna walk you through the gear that I use, we're going to look at the top three elevator pitch is, and then I'm going to do a presentation on how we use my time to go backto our eighty twenty questions such a great question. The whole point behind this whole class is to develop the skills to use your time wisely, whether on the shooting side, the research side or if those were pushed aside on this other side as well. So you make a living doing the professional work, etcetera, and so tomorrow I'm going to talk a lot about how I use my time, what I've tracked over the years and also how have acquired the skills because what I used to do, and what I'm doing now is completely change. So I have a little talk called reinvention as a career path where everything keeps changing. And the irony, of course, is try to think forward. So is weirdest. Changes are of the last twenty years, right? What's going to be the next twenty years. Holograms or three d?

Class Materials

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David H Wells - Business
David H Wells - Literary Journals List.pdf
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David H Wells - Sample
David Wells - Keynote Day 1.pdf
David Wells - Keynote Day 2.pdf
David Wells - Keynote Day 3.pdf

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Ratings and Reviews


First off, I was a photo assistant for a few years to a photographer who did numerous multi-day workshops. This was my first time as a student sitting in on a webinar that actually kept me interested. Sometimes I'm turned off by the pace of the teacher, his or her voice, or the manner in which they disseminate the information. But this was truly fantastic. David showed lots of his work in a way that was NOT egotistical in any sense (something that does happen quite often). I was utterly impressed by the quality of his work, the wealth of knowledge he has on the world, culture and politics, and how he shoots "on the go". All of those qualities are essential parts to creating a great photo essay/story. I came into this seminar needing inspiration and in the end I have more ideas than I know what to do with. David's work is truly magnificent; his photo stories pertain to people and their struggles, which really could be something any one of us could go through at any point, but he shows it in a way that is beautiful - either beautifully desperate or beautifully destructive - instead of in an exploitative way. On a side note, he also offered up a lot of great information having to do with funding, exposure, workflow, time efficiency, income streams, releases... you won't find this a lot with other photographers. You will find the "go find the info yourself" attitude. This has been my problem as of late with photography - we don't work together as artists, we work against each other competing for what, I'm not sure. David's seminar seemed to embrace photography as the art form it is, and shared with us the tools that we as artists need to really understand and utilize in order to get our story out there. A story it seems he really wants to see/hear. Just an amazing "Thank You"!!!!

a Creativelive Student

I have purchased a number of classes on Creative Live. This class taught by David Wells is one of the best. David is a thorough teacher, personal and connects with his students. Along with his superb and inspiring imagery David talked about his experiences in getting funding, his workflow, developing his stories and distributing his work. David is talented, generous and an excellent teacher. Highly recommended class.

Anjani Millet

Just completed the course. Fantastic, practical information on everything from grant writing, finding foundations, proposal development, even how to shake hands overseas. I am not sure where else I would have found this information for photographers. So appreciate it. One friend asked if this would be worth watching for anyone outside the US and the answer is a definitive yes. Very happy I purchased, and already starting to implement.

Student Work