Crafting Your Pitch

Here's a quick guide to get you started as you plan out the structure of your pitch. As is only fitting, the guide is itself a 3-step pitch.

1. The Opportunity

You have an awesome idea. You've done the research; you have a plan of action. Now, you just need to convince the relevant stakeholders to enact your proposal.

You know you want your pitch video to be both compelling and easy to follow. Structuring your video in a few key segments is a strong way to accomplish this.

2. The Plan

A classic approach to structuring a pitch is to divide your presentation into three memorable steps. You might have seen these pitches framed in one of these ways:

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
Version 1 What is What could be Call to action
Version 2 Problem Solution Ask
Version 3 Why this? Why now? Why you?
Version 4 Opportunity Plan Call

(This guide features version 4: Opportunity, Plan, Call.)

In Step 1, you talk about the status quo. Depending on your audience and your goals, you might frame it negatively as a problem to be solved or more neutrally as the current situation. What needs are there? Are there things that are going well that can be built off of? Where are current efforts, policies, projects etc. falling short?

In Step 2, you present your vision and plan of action. Be as concrete as possible. How does your plan address the issues you raised in Step 1? What makes your plan stand out from other initiatives? How do we get started?

Finally, in Step 3 you call on your stakeholders. It might be as simple as "Join us!"; or you might offer first concrete steps that they can take to help.

While all of this may sound a little business speak, it's not all that different from a proposal you might write for a research paper. You begin with a research question and its stakes. What is the current state of the field? This is Step 1. You then present your thesis or hypotheses. This is Step 2. Finally, you present the approach you'll take toward answering the question and/or supporting your view. While this isn't an ask for someone else, it's a way of laying out next steps for yourself, so it's an analogue of Step 3.

3. The Call

Craft an amazing pitch!

Since your pitch will take the form of a video, we've also put together some resources to help you use the medium of video to augment the elements of your pitch.

Techniques for presenting new information or movining on to the next part of your argument:

  1. Transitions
    • dip to black - could suggest a complete shift in direction of what you’re speaking about.
    • crossfade - a transition, in which the first clip’s audio fades down while the second clip’s audio simultaneously fades up. Could be used if the two points you’re crossing between are similar.
    • J or L cuts - overlapping audio to create a smooth transition.
  2. Title cards
    • can be used to literally label different parts of your argument
    • can call attention to the fact that you’re moving onto the next section

Techniques for compiling similar information

  1. Instead of going through answers to questions in order, you could compile all the similar responses together under each question through editing. You could splice interviews up and edit the relevant information under a different title card.
  2. Using split screen or screens within a screen to feature all the similar information at the same time.
  3. Using minimal transitions or filming segments in longer takes to keep similar information in the same clip.
  4. Segmenting your project into sections with similar information (see above for how you can use Title Cards to help with this).

Techniques for juxtaposing different arguments

  1. Have a succession of completely different viewpoints to demonstrate the intricacies of the conversation, then tie it up at the end.
  2. Use a Split Screen or screen within screen. Like John Oliver, you can present evidence in this way by inserting a video alongside yourself so you can comment on it as it plays.