Adam Sigel's Free Template For Creating Better Powerpoints For Pitching Your Product (or Movie?)
The goal of Adam Sigel's slideshare (which he has kindly shared with us above) is to provide a template for pitching.
Although the example he uses has images and text that could really help a startup that is about to pitch a new app, the structure of Adam's template (based on The Hero's Journey) could easily be adapted by filmmakers.
Come to think of it, the template that Adam lays out could work for almost anyone making a powerpoint for potential investors. Basically, what Adam Sigel provides is a sequence of thought exercises that can be (should be?) followed by anyone with something to pitch.
Also note: Because Adam Sigel is mainly focused on improving powerpoints - his slideshare demonstration is a really good tool for pitches that might benefit from the added punch of visual storytelling. In other words, the storytelling tools that Adam Sigel suggests can be used by anyone who is making a pitch - but, because he is thinking about making slides for a deck, Adam Sigler's presentation leads up a powerpoint. So visuals get equal billing - with Adam asking you "to put the first two steps of presentation design—content gathering and narrative construction—on equal footing with slide design."
Don't be put off by its simplicity. I was skeptical at first. And I see how Adam Sigel's template might be most helpful for someone who isn't an accomplished storyteller. This exercise is aimed at users who don't ordinarily think in terms of visual story. But even accomplished filmmakers - with a lot of pitching experience - might find something useful here. So, even though some filmmakers may feel they don't need Adam's help (I can hear you now: "I'm not some newbie who has been tasked with pitching a product or service..."), I still suggest giving the tool a quick trial run.
But what about the goal of producing a powerpoint? Should filmmakers pitch via a powerpoint? In my experience, that isn't how it's done in Hollywood - although I'm sure there are exceptions where a great visual presentation wowed studio executives. But most movie pitches I've been a part of in Hollywood were verbal. That said... it may be very useful for even the most veteran filmmaker to work through Adam's steps - if only as an exercise to consider more options before settling on one strategy for their verbal pitch. And outside of Hollywood, filmmakers may find that a great powerpoint is exactly what opens the wallets of potential investors in Smallville.
So even if you're a filmmaking veteran and you're just going to pitch verbally to a major studio - or you're an app developer and green as hell at pitching but really intent on creating an impressive deck - there's probably a way that fitting your project into Adam's template can help you.
As Adam explained in a Nov. 14th, 2013 blogpost:
"The first few slides of the template are instructional. They outline the narrative structure to follow—for starters, I went with the venerable Hero’s Journey—and offer an example storyboard of the slides and how they can be used to tell your product [why the studio or private equity guys should invest in your film?] story."
"The last of the instructional slides is a “Shot list” of the words and phrases specific to your product that will get plugged into the template—very Mad Libs. Filling out the Shot list requires real consideration of your product, target users, and market landscape. That’s the point."
Let me interrupt Adam here to observe that filmmakers have at least two ways of using Adam Sigel's tool...
Filmmakers can 1) simply try to fit their film's characters and plot into the template and pitch the film as a powerpoint or 2) they can use Adam's template to think about the pain points of whoever they are pitching to at that moment - be it investors, actors, etc.
I actually think Adam's tool could be really helpful in the latter scenario... as it helps you to understand what your investors or actors are thinking - how can this project make them look like a hero?
So here is how Adam wraps up his template - the actual making of the slide deck:
"The presentation slides are simple and straightforward and designed not to require any visual jiujitsu. There is a human or a screenshot on every page so your audience can make a connection with your story. Text and image placeholders can be swapped out and edited as necessary. All the images are licensed under Creative Commons usage so feel free to leave them in or replace them with something more relevant to your product."
Many thanks to Adam Sigel and Siobhan O'Flynn who shared the link.