Students Find Experience with Pitch Perfect

For the last two years, a group of University of New Haven students has come together to create “Pitch Perfect,” an online show in which college students compete against one another, pitching entrepreneurial ideas to a panel of judges. The show is almost entirely student-run, from the composition of the production to the students actually participating. The host of the show, Michael Maguire, was the one who came up with the idea.

“I ran it by the communications dean and the College of Business dean, and they were all supportive and offered the studio,” said Maguire.

Maguire has been involved with the university since becoming a chair on the board of advisors for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation program. He works on the show as the host and moderator and recruits the panel of judges.

Senior communications major, Brendan Kennedy, the producer, director, and editor of the show for season two, enjoyed the hands-on experience that the show brought him the most.

“The biggest skill I think I acquired from ‘Pitch Perfect’ is self-confidence, for myself and in TV production,” said Kennedy. “There were plenty of issues we had since last April but knowing that I was the one who found a solution, makes me extremely proud of myself.”

The show operates similarly to ABC’s “Shark Tank,” in which local college students across Connecticut pitch their ideas to a panel of new judges every week, where they then receive feedback and coaching to improve their pitches and move onto the next round. Students are slowly eliminated from the show based on performance until there are two final contestants competing against one another.

“Mike and the judges keep everything positive because these students volunteered to be here, are looking for helpful advice, and it gives us communication majors a relaxed environment to experience a television production,” said Kennedy.

All the recording for the show is done throughout the fall semester and then edited throughout the spring semester for release in March. Recruitment is also done in the spring semester, in which students can sign up to be on the show through their social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The show is anticipated to begin filming its third season in the upcoming fall semester.

“Whether [students] are watching the show, whether they are a contestant on the show, whether they are running the show from a production standpoint, there’s an opportunity to learn and grow,” Maguire said.

Looking forward to season three, there are a few ideas floating around that could change the overall quality of the show and get students more excited to see new things.

“One of the things that I would like to do, is to have one of the shows, perhaps the final, be in front of a live audience,” said Maguire. “It would be a great experience for the production crew to say, okay we got to shoot this show live, and we have to do it in a different set.”

“Pitch Perfect” season two is set to be released sometime early March and the team will also be recruitment for the next season.