Hi all, thanks for starting this Iren and thanks everyone else for pitching in.
There are a few different points here that I'll try to answer as best I can! First off, just on the event itself - we did a call out for elevator pitches, but pre-submissions were actually quite low for this one, so we included all the ones we were sent. These were sent ahead of time to the agents. Then, we opened it up to the floor for off-the-cuff pitches, which I thought was nice actually, as it gave everyone the opportunity to interact live (although with 160 people in the room, we can only get through so many!)
I can see why it would definitely be confusing to be told by Harry that elevator pitches are 20 words long, only to see pitches entered that are longer than that. I hope it was useful to hear the agents feedback on the pitches mainly being that they were too long, and if we'd had more pre-submissions, we could have picked the best, rather than use the ones we had. This was a competition, but also a learning exercise with a different perspective to Harry's. As with all things agents, there are 'rules' to what makes the 'best pitch' and then there's the subjective part of what agents personally prefer.
On the feedback being too 'nice' - this is very much again a personal agent preference. Agents are some of the nicest people you'll meet and it's exceedingly difficult for us to shine a camera on them with a couple of hundred people watching and tell them to be harsh - especially when they very much see their feedback as an opinion, not gospel. Some agents will be happy to rip into something (and Harry is particularly happy to do this!) but we'd never force anyone to do something outside their comfort zone there - writer or agent. I thought Davinia and Mark's thoughts were constructive though - especially when they re-worded certain pitches to get to the heart of the story.
We'd really love to continue doing 'feedback led' webinars in 2021, but are conscious that we do seem to get a few complaints after them. We'd love to know any ideas you have to improve these (across Slushpile Live too) and i promise you, we'll do our absolute best with it.
In some good news, I've just come in today to see that one of the agents has requested a full from one of the pitches last night. So that just goes to show that even if you don't 100% nail your pitch to Bingham standards, a good idea can shine through :)
Happy new year everyone x