Pitch, Rough Cut Review, Exhibition
The Pitch, The Rough Cut Review (RCR), and The Exhibition are three important aspects or stages in the media-making journey. Elements of this production process can be adapted across all art forms and be seen as three steps: Pitch, Review, Present. When incorporated into a project this process will:
- Greatly improve the quality (content and aesthetic of the media)
- Authenticate the experience (helping students build important career and life skills)
- Create a portal to working collaboratively with other students, and teachers, and can take students beyond school walls into community.
Pitch is a term from the creative industry. A typical pitch to producers makes a short, simple, and compelling argument as to why a project is important. Similarly, a project pitch session in a classroom setting should involve students doing short, time-limited presentations with the purpose of convincing or selling their idea either to you or to a panel, comprised of either peers, teachers, parents or administrators. A project idea should not move forward without constructive review and revision.
Reasons why the pitch is a crucial step in the classroom media-making process:
- Gives media maker or a team of young artists feedback and input on their project idea and helps them to narrow their project scope
- Gives teachers a chance to help guide student choices and assess the project idea for relevancy and feasibility. At this point they can either greenlight the idea, or get students to modify before moving to the next stages in production. (A skilled facilitator must walk a fine line between being completely hands off and telling young people exactly what to do.)
- Asks students to convince others about the creative potential and value of their proposed projects helps them learn to stand up for their own creative ideas as well as yield to the expertise and potentially innovative input of others.
- Teaches students the valuable skill of how to engage audiences. It's the kind of skill that is central to performing well in a future job interview, or advocating effectively for a political cause.
- Helps students to produce better quality media.
*Encourage youth to work on making their pitch engaging and fun. The pitch can include a visual packet that can make it more likely to get a project approved.
Elements of a Good Pitch
In a project pitch session, the following fundamental questions should be addressed: What is the purpose? What's the goal of your project? Who is the audience? What is the message? What is the style? Considering the story, audience, message and style is often referred to as SAMS.
TYPE OF PROJECT
- Film, audio, print, photography, animation, etc.
- What is your project title?
- When do you plan to produce the work?
- When do you plan to present the work?
- Why are you creating this project?
- Why are you excited about this project?
- Why should your supporters be excited about this project?
- Does your pitch contain a captivating hook that captures the listenerâs attention? The hook can be surprising, thoughtful, provoking, personal, dramatic, confrontational, etc.
- Is the hook relevant to the rest of your pitch?
- What happens in your story? (Tell your story; don't explain your story.)
- Is there a 3-part story arc? (How and where does the story start; what is the journey of the characters; is there a great last line?)
- What key themes are explored?
- Who will this project appeal to and be directed at? (Be as specific as possible.)
- What is the central message of the piece?
- Are the key secondary messages to convey as well?
- How would you describe this piece?
- Is it fiction or nonfiction, poetic or expressionistic? Is it a personal story?
- Whose point-of-view (POV) is the story being told from?
- How is the message conveyed (interviews, music, performance, text, etc.)?
THE ROUGH CUT REVIEW (RCR)
In Drama a script writer hosts a 'first reading', in Dance a professional company invites colleagues to view a work-in-progress, in Visual Arts the artist may have a critical friend review their work. All art forms utilize a review process as they prepare to present a final product. In Media Arts, it is called the Rough Cut Review.
The Rough Cut Review (RCR) is exciting. You have finished a rough draft and now you are ready to test it with an audience before editing your final draft. The RCR process, however, should not be taken lightly. If not done with care and preparation, things can easily go south. The reason is that at this point in the media-making process, your young artists are by now highly invested in the project and so critique can feel like a personal attack. Therefore, the language used for constructive feedback, whether presented in an online format like a private youtube channel, or delivered in a classroom RCR session, some etiquette needs to be taught.
Walk students through the Critical Response Technique worksheet (downloadable below), teaching students to start off with what they liked about the piece and segue into carefully crafted questions for the artist about message, style, technique, etc. And remember to tell the artists it is their prerogative to decide whether or not to apply the feedback to their final draft.
Much of this content is courtesy of the Adobe Foundation and EDC
The inherent motivator! Include the exhibition component: the when, where, and to whom the finished projects will be shown in your project planning. This often takes the project to the next level - students are invested if they know their work is going to be shown, listened to, viewed, shared and experienced by others. The exhibition authenticates the media-making experience. So, with any media project, it is important to consider exhibition from the beginning:
- How will your work be exhibited?
- What plans do you have to engage your audiences?
- Who can you work with from the outset to reach your audiences?
Consider too how designing to hosting the exhibition meets your core standards and objectives. For example, having students craft an artist statement (see worksheet link below) as part of the exhibition and outreach efforts requires they process and reflect on their media-making experience, culminates young people's creative journey, and furthers their development as creators.
1. Student Committee
Delegate a student committee to plan and lead the exhibition. A student-directed exhibition is can be an engaging skill and portfolio builder.
- Design a "Community Asset Mapping" exercise for exhibition opportunities
- Assign a production crew to do a 2-3 minute behind-the-scenes reel that will kick off the exhibition -could include showing stages of production or bloopers.
- Can the exhibition be promoted through social media? On a website?
- Is the exhibition to promote social change or further a cause- how can you leverage the exhibition to do so?
2. Components of a Successful Performance/Exhibition
- Figuring out where and when: consider contributing to an existing school-wide event
- Determining audience and audience appreciation - parent appreciation/student-teacher recognition
- Invitations - design and distribution plan
- Equipment, decor and staffing needs - microphone, screen, projector, etc.
3. The Artist Statement
- An Artist Statement will enhance the exhibition and provide depth and meaning to an overall program book, brochure, museum space, or whatever the presentation or exhibition requires.
- Artist Statements may appear on gallery walls next to an artistâs collection of work, inside program guides, as the film credits roll, etc. These brief messages provide helpful background information to the audience, giving artists a chance to discuss the context in which they created the piece.
- Directs viewers to focus on something in particular in the work. They may also provide needed insight, or challenge the audience in some way.
- The act of writing the Artist Statement is valuable in itself. In order to decide what they want to say, the youth artist must process and reflect on their media-making experience. Crafting an Artist Statement, as part of exhibition and outreach efforts, culminates young people's creative journey and furthers their development as artists.
TIPS AND PROMPTS FOR DEVELOPING ARTIST STATEMENTS
The act of writing the Artist Statement is valuable in itself. In order to decide what they want to say, the youth artist must process and reflect on their media-making experience. Crafting an Artist Statement, as part of exhibition and outreach efforts, culminates young people's creative journey and furthers their development as artists.
Support artists and production teams in composing artist statements to go along with their media work. Beyond their name and the title of their work, they should write something reflective, shedding light on who they are and the uniqueness of their voice.
Try using any of the following prompts:
- Do you consider yourself an artist? A filmmaker? Can you explain why?
- Do you think it is important for young people like yourself to make media? Why?
- What interests you in the world? Who or what inspires you?
- What makes your perspective a little different, i.e., Where do you come from?
- How do you see things?
- How is your media project different from pieces made by adults?
- Why did you choose this subject/person/topic to focus on?
- What techniques did you use? Why?
- How did you come to make some of the artistic choices?
- What do you think stands out in this media piece?
- What do you want others to see? What do you want others to feel, understand, or change as a result of watching this piece?
- What did you learn, what did you gain from the experience of making the work?
Encourage the artist to write down their thoughts on their own before getting into a discussion with others in the group. This way, responses are genuinely their own reflections about their work. Note that if the media project is a collaborative work, the artists should ultimately come together to generate a collective statement that reflects the views of the group. Give them time to share their individual reflections and negotiate with each other to arrive at consensus on the group artist statement.
Use the Artist Statement Worksheet that is designed to help youth artists think through different aspects of their creative process. After they generate an initial draft, they can share what they've written with peers and make edits as they wish. The other participants serve as a test audience for their artist statement, giving them the opportunity to revise and clarify their message, so that what comes across is truly what they meant to say.
By asking youth to draft artist statements, you are:
- treating youth as professional artists.
- respecting their creative process and encouraging them to be more thoughtful and reflective of their own process.
- providing another meaningful way in which young people can connect with their audiences.
- demonstrating an artistic practice that is also good, reflective educational practice.