Recently I finished up a series of pitches for an up and coming group project of mine. For his project, I completed two pitches, one internal pitch for my peers to explain the game's concept and one external pitches for potential collaborators to ask for help with the creation of audio and animated assets. I wanted to look back at the two pitches, compare the general responses from the pitches and what can be done better in the future.
The phrase "Well that could have gone better." should be ever present in a growing mind and this holds especially true for those in the games industry. Making games is rather difficult, and the only way to make it that much easier is to look back, realise your mistakes and make some kind of plan to counteract them.
The first, our game's concept was very much lost in translation, in turn our pitch was not as strong as perhaps we thought. It's difficult to realise, pitching a concept effectively whilst maintaining the audience's attention is rather difficult. This was most likely due to us whom made the pitch skipping over some major details of the concept in both pitches. Post-pitching, we found questions about our game's concept to be very repetitive, asking about aspects that we had thought that we covered clearly or just weren't in the pitch to begin with. I believe that for future pitches, a prerequisite brainstorm should be made of: Who are we pitching to?, What do they need to know? When do we give them that information? I've found that making a list of things based off of these questions would have been much more effective than simply going up and blurting out things that we know about the game.
Secondly, and one of the most important, some of the team's members were not present during the pitch / did not contribute to answering questions about the game's concept. I found that once our pitches were finished, when it came to feedback or questions about the game's concept, it would largely be me or our primary speaker answering questions about the game. This aspect of the pitch made the entire team look disorganised and grasping at straws for answers to the questions. Whilst it is important for the entire team to take notes on feedback and reactions, it's equally important to show that your team is confident and able to answer questions that maybe others in the group can't. In the future, before pitching I should make sure that the entire team is present, attentive and on the same page as the rest of the team along with designated part of the pitch that they may present. This will help to ensure that the team can help other members whom are struggling with presenting, while assisting in showing to the audience that the team has experience and confidence.
Finally, third, which I find to be personal to me, is that I find that I can get quite dismissive of feedback or responses, which I know is a horrible habit. It's difficult to describe the circumstances under which I do this, though I find that at times when I get up to pitch my idea with the intent of taking down any and all feedback, I find that I'm discouraged. Perhaps that's a more adequate way of describing it. Whilst receiving feedback on my group's concept or pitch I can find myself quite discouraged, especially if I find that I've made a mistake, or someone is pointing something out that I know I clearly should have put in the pitch of thought about beforehand, this holds particularly true if someone is nitpicking the wording in a slide rather than addressing the pitch itself, that in particular I can't help. However, I can still counteract this, I believe that perhaps this discouragement is borne of overconfidence that the game's concept is set in stone and the second coming of Christ when (I know full well that) it isn't. In the future, I think that I will have to give myself a confidence booster, it's important to remember that the people giving you feedback are (in majority) trying to understand your game's concept in order to give you valid input on refining the game before you've wasted time and money. I think that to remove the emotional barrier I'd need to just take notes on the feedback and answer the questions I know the answer to, contemplating all of it after the presentation. Of course, dealing with emotion is easier said than done, however, this should be something that I find easy to correct in further pitches with the right amount of preparation, consideration and confidence in the concept.
If I didn't say it last time, I'll say it again, with all bad things come good things. it just so happens that the good thing that happened to us was a complete revamp of our setting and game mechanics. This was largely due to our somewhat fruitless attempt to consider and refine our game's mechanics in between pitches. I will say though that I'm much more happy with the design that we scrapped everything for, as I think that it's nearly perfectly scoped. That's not to say that I can actually replicate this, I'm sure that it won't be often that I'm backed into a corner with such a bad design that a long hard look at it will allow me to mold it into something that I really like the idea of, and so I doubt that I would be able to replicate this kind of result all of the time. But in the future, this kind of thing can still happen with proper consideration of feedback.
I'm kind of strapped for things that actually went right with this pitch, and so I think that's about it. I think that from these pitches I learnt first and foremost that having your team there to back you up is one of the most important aspects of pitching, if you have an organised team, you will most definitely have a confident and organised pitch. As someone who finds himself in the project manager's seat quite often I think that it would be important for me to try to get this kind of stuff down and organised beforehand. Other than that, instilling in myself the confidence to mull over important feedback is probably one of the things that I should be focusing on right now.