This week we're delighted to 'Sit Down With' with the delightful Sherry Collins. As a founder of Pitch we had so many questions we wanted to ask. For instance what led her to set up the fanzine and why this industry inspires her and others so much. In a short period the much admired magazine has evolved into a creative force, delivering showcases of new and established talent. They have highlighted exceptional work, causes and people from across the globe. Alongside this the team have shared their passion with a whole new generation of future creative people. So, please take a few moments to hear from Sherry herself...
1.Tell us a little about your previous roles and how they inspired you to launch The Pitch Fanzine in 2015.
I used to work as a freelance producer for production companies like Partizan and RSA Films on music videos, commercials and content films, and before that I worked in publishing for Penguin Books. I decided to launch Pitch because I really love the creative world, but after having kids I needed a job that fitted around my new life priorities.
2. The fanzine and site are beautifully produced. What were your influences and how did you go about creating a publication that was so well conceived from its first issue?
I was influenced by independent fashion magazines and art books. In every issue I want to show off the talent featured as though their work is in a gallery space. I want to give it room to breath on the page, and I wanted the text to be short and informative without boring the reader.
3. Within the fanzine and beyond, Pitch has worked hard to raise awareness of female creative talent. Do you see a shift in people’s perceptions yet?
I think there’s a shift, especially since there are a lot of organisations and groups bringing the topic to the table. Initiatives like Free the Bid and Creative Equals are doing amazing work on this front. I launched my own initiative, Pitch 100 Superwomen, last year, because I really wanted to champion the women working behind the scenes who are getting shit done, but usually don’t get to stand on stage and collect an award. We’re bringing Pitch 100 Superwomen back again this year. We’ve already started getting nominations in, and the call-out hasn’t even opened yet! We’ll be taking nominations from mid-April, so watch this space.
4. We saw that you recently introduced various creative folk to some schoolchildren. What was the idea behind this and do you have more sessions planned?
We launched Pitch Futures at the D&AD last year and had talent from Saatchi & Saatchi, LIDA, RSA Films, Leland Originals and Smoke & Mirrors give us their time, to educate and inspire the primary school children about what they actually do. There is a lot of talk about the creative industry not being diverse enough and with the cuts for art in schools, there is less opportunities for children to learn or even consider the creative industry as a potential career. I believe that the industry needs to go into schools (or bring the children in) starting at grassroots, Primary School level and show them the creative world that we work in, if we are to truly have a more diverse industry.
We are hosting another Pitch Futures event at the D&AD Festival with Year 5 Primary School Children in April. We’re also launching our Creative Club with our pilot school later in the year, where primary school children will get a chance to work on a real advertising campaign for a local high street business and we are bringing primary school kids into an ad agency this year as well.
5. If there were one thing you could change about your job what would it be?
I wish I had a larger team - as a small publisher I do a lot on my own, but that’s when my producing skills come in handy
7. What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t running Pitch?
I’d be gardening more and getting bored. I love working on Pitch. I love meeting new people and I’m learning new ways of doing things all the time. I’m never bored.
8. What projects are you most proud of?
Of launching Pitch. We launched with no money, only enough to print 500 copies and to post them out. I’m really pleased the creative industry likes Pitch and keeps reading it. I’m also proud of Pitch 100 Superwomen, Pitch Futures and launching our first podcast. We had the lovely Chaka Sobhani, CCO from Leo Burnett and director Jenn Nkiru, from Iconoclast as our first guests.
9. What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Our next issue Pitch Stories lands on desks in mid-April, so I’m working on that at the moment, and also planning ahead for the Pitch Creative Talent / Pitch 100 Superwomen, our Cannes special, plus working on Pitch Futures. I’m already planning the strategy for next year, but I don’t like counting my chickens, so I won’t be sharing that just yet…
10. What advice would you have for a young person looking to get into the creative industry?
I would say find someone already inside, and ask them to give you the real low down on how the industry works. For a start, you won’t need that Media Studies degree. If you want to be a filmmaker - pick up a camera. If you want to produce - organise an event. If you want to be a creative - go create something. If you have passion, drive, talent and belief you can achieve anything.