Elevator Pitch is a party game about thinking fast and talking persuasively. Two at a time, players take turns stepping inside an "elevator" with a rotating third player who acts as The Decider. The Decider draws from a themed deck (movies, games, startups, more TBD) and asks each player for their best short pitch for a given title, gimmick, or buzzword written on the card. They can each talk until the Decider gets bored and cuts them off, but if they want more time, they have to yell "BUT WAIT" and draw from a special deck.
Here's the catch: Players must incorporate whatever's written on the card into their existing pitch, even if it's ridiculous. Hilarious justifications and inspired one-upmanship continue until the Decider's had enough. A winner is chosen, a point is scored, and the winner becomes the new Decider.
We pitch every day. Most of us think that the act of pitching is reserved for a boardroom, but we all have something we just need time/money/permission to do. The trick is making a good case for it.
After spending more than a decade in entertainment, I realized that I was only ever any good at pitching because I practiced and did it often. When I started teaching part-time at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, I was suddenly surrounded by intimidated young people with lots of talent and no skill or confidence when it came to COMMUNICATING that talent to interested professionals they had mere moments to impress.
Elevator Pitch was designed to be a fun, lighthearted way to practice the core skill while completely removing the high professional stakes. You're not pitching your real precious ideas. You're pitching a game that has to be called "PAGES" and maybe that's a visual novel about librarians seeking love, or a Skyrim-like fantasy world where you’re just the lowly page, BUT WAIT now it has a tie-in with local pizzerias and Lady Gaga is the voice of a magical cat!
The idea doesn't matter as much as you might think. The skill in the game is being persuasive, being entertaining, and winning over a specific audience, often in a very short time.
Even though there was an educational motivation to make the game, the focus was always on a genuinely fun party game. The point, after all, is to practice pitching.
Jesse Vigil - Designer/Writer