Quick Tip: Dominic Bracco II on Writing Better Pitches and Grant Applications
Photographer Dominic Bracco II says working closely with writers has contributed a lot to his success. He has produced and published stories with two writers in particular: Erik Vance and Jeremy Relph. “Collaboration is huge. It’s been really good for me economically,” he says. “A lot of photographers don’t think like writers, but freelance writers are good at approaching magazines. They write really good pitches.”
Bracco has worked with Relph in Honduras on a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. He has also successfully pitched environmental stories with Vance to Harper’s Magazine, Scientific American, bioGraphic and other publications. “It wasn’t easy at first, but we have a track record,” Bracco says. “We know what our beat is, and publications and funders know that we know what we’re talking about.”
By pitching constantly, and observing how Vance and Relph pitch stories and write grant applications, Bracco has improved his success rate. “My early pitches were long and wordy. I had a tendency to blab on endlessly,” he says. Now, he opens with a one-sentence theme, explaining what the story is, and why the reader should care.
Jurors for grant competitions “have to look at a ton of work, so yours better be damn good, and your writing better be concise. You have to punch them right away,” he says.
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