Startup Diary, II
How ‘Bout Those Pitches
Monday morning I got an email from the production crew at iFundWomen with a link to the first draft of my crowdfunding campaign video. The thing was actually here, real, out in the world waiting for eyes and use. I thought I was going to throw up.
The timing of the email happened to coincide with the writing of the “Blurb” for the day and so I described my feelings as content for that daily submission. Someone with my phone number either has an RSS subscription to the feed or just happened to check my homepage the minute I hit save because they immediately texted me asking if I’d be willing to share the link.
I took a deep breath and considered the request; if nothing else it prompted a rip-it-off-like-a-bandage impulse that pushed me to just watch the damn video. So I watched the video. And again I thought I would throw up.
I had gone into the video process with many concerns and more than a few reservations. I absolutely loathe “produced” media, and “produced” crowdfunding videos especially. I went to great pains to pick music that felt as far away from the other videos I’d watched, to supply assets that were humble and raw, to reference inspirations that had nothing to do with typical marketing reels (specifically, all three season intros for the AMC show Preacher).
As I hit play and saw my face and heard my words and watched the edits and footage and every single production choice the crew had made, I went from on the verge of vomiting to crying. After all my good intentions, the whole thing came out just like every other fucking crowdfunding video I’d ever seen. I rewatched it with my eyes closed because I didn’t believe they had used the music I picked. But they had — it just couldn’t hold up against the three minutes of studio-lit interview, me in a chair with my legs crossed, cut with b-roll of me looking off in the distance, sitting on a fucking ladder and some other basic AF shit. None of my choices or messaging felt evident.
Having cleared the hurdle of just watching the damn thing, I sat back and almost cried. I looked at my phone, the text asking to see it. The gentleman making the ask has been a supportive and avid reader/viewer of everything on the site and I knew he was sincere and only asking out of concern and perhaps a desire to be helpful so I decided to go ahead and rip that bandage off as well. Sure, I’ll share this dreck with someone else and admit to its existence despite how absolutely embarrassed and disappointed I feel.
It took a while for him to have the time to watch, absorb and describe his opinion so I had many hours to spin out on my couch. The pit in my stomach deep and sour, my eyes still wet, my spirit flat. If I couldn’t convey my message and intent to the two-person crew who possessed not only the written version of my pitch but who also sat through multiple takes and improv-ed backstory and story variations, then what the fuck was I doing? How would I be able to convince anyone?
My tailspin caught some momentum; why was I even pursuing this anyway? Nobody seems to get it, why even bother? Ok fine, only a dozen or so people have heard my actual pitch but that’s not the point. What matters is that most just think GRAPHICPAINT is just a blog and that’s all it will ever be. So it’s a stupid idea. Stupid because nobody hears my pitch and then goes, yeah that would be awesome. Instead they sit dumbfounded and confused. Ok, maybe TWO people have gotten it, or at least appeared to, but those same people wind up asking me to explain it again later [so did they ever really get it???].
I sat on my couch having a full-on pity party and absolutely wanted to give up.
I thought about all the things already out there, I thought about how it felt like nobody wanted this idea, how nobody would use it; I stayed in that headspace for about 8 hours. But then I left the house, and along the way I started making notes about what I didn’t like about the video and how I would change it. I found myself essentially planning to cut the majority of the footage that had been shot to replace it with a rough homemade set of statements spliced with color-filled screens depicting cheeky statements about what GRAPHICPAINT is [and will be]. I started to feel a little better.
But I still wanted to throw up.
Later it also occurred to me that I’ve been keeping my pitches a little close to the chest because they make me feel uncomfortably vulnerable to share. Well that’s exactly the feeling I want to inspire people to push past so WTF? Exactly. And so, I decided to record audio of my pitches as it has evolved over the last 3 to 4 months. The final read is the shortest, a version cobbled together during my pity party to contextualize the project to an entirely new person who never responded after so clearly it’s awful. Anyway! You might as well send me some feedback if you listen to them — can’t be any worse than what’s in my head right?
One other thing, once my desire to throw up finally left, I decided to scrap the crowdfunding campaign and instead move forward with a self-funded site build. I figure if I put my money where my mouth is, then some shit might finally start to happen. To that end, I’m taking a few thousand from my 401k and investing it in hiring some developers instead of saving it for housing and living expenses. I feel in my gut that people need to see my vision instead of hear it, so I’m going focus my intentions and resources on this next step to make that possible. I imagine it will be like the podcast, just an idea until the moment I put it out there.