Turn Table: The Anatomy of a Pitch

In the most creatively courageous way, London-based creative agency NB Studio wrote a play of their Design Indaba Conference Talk.

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Alan Dye from NB Studio tells us about the process of writing a play in his own words, originally published on the NB blog. To watch Alan Dye and Nick Finney on the Design Indaba Conference stage explaining the play and talking about their work watch the NB speaker talk

Creative Courage is NB’s mantra, a rallying cry to be bolder and braver. It makes us question how we design, how we think and ultimately makes us produce better results for our clients.

Creative Courage became the theme for the play we produced for the recent Design Indaba festival in Cape Town, South Africa. We were challenged by Indaba’s inspirational founder, Ravi Naidoo to go out of our comfort zone and not just show a portfolio of ‘And then we did this…’

So we decided to make a play.

A play about all the emotions, nerves, adrenalin and a anxieties that make up that magical half hour of pitch presentation. It’s where you get your first gut feeling, it’s when you make up your minds about each other. We’ve experienced these intense moments for 20 years so it felt like we had enough to go on.

But, we’ve never produced a play before. Never worked with actors, playwrights, props, sound and video engineers and certainly never used a revolving floor. And never even dreamed of getting on stage in front of 2500 people and being streamed live to a further 10000.

So, the tables literally turned, we became the client for the first time. We auditioned and found the play-writes Jimmy Osbourne and David Aula (who also acted in the play alongslide Georgia Clarke-Day).

We worked closely with them, rehearsing, rewriting, rethinking. We literally kept making things better right up to when the curtain lifted.

Our actors acted out the story of an agency pitch to a client. They explored all the things that are unsaid in the interactions between the client and the agency. It was based on all the things we have learned over the years - which took the form of a manifesto:

Learn the rules before you break them
Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups
Indecision kills
Become your customer
If everything is important – nothing is important
Tell the truth. Be on Time
Life’s too short not to be a designer

In the meantime, Nick and I would like to say a massive thank you to Ravi Naidoo for inviting us to Design Indaba, our playwright Jimmy Osbourne and our actors David Aula (who also directed the play) and Georgia Clarke-Day, Paul Davis for his poster artwork and the NB team for putting up with us.


Watch the Talk with NB Studio