June 6th, 2017 Donovan de Souza
Don’t make your presentation like an arthouse film!
As a kid I used to go to the Drive-in nearly every weekend. I remember vividly that night at the Top Star: boy meets alien, alien makes boy fly, backlit by a full moon, tears of sadness, tears of joy – my world BLOWN! Since then I developed a lifelong passion for movies – all types: the big budget blockbusters, RomComs, Sci-Fi, Film Noir classics, the B-grade horrors, you name it! So while many sit back to name and shame what is and what isn’t a cinematic masterpiece, I’ve managed to find the genius in all of them (granted, some with more effort than others).
HOWEVER, there are those truly bizarre art house movies (usually in French) that I really struggle with. Don’t get wrong, I can appreciate the time and effort it takes to create that 10 min scene done in one shot with focus pulls across a crowded street while the light shifts ever so slightly into the twilight hours – but far too often there’s one crucial piece missing – THE STORY!
The reality is that no matter how pretty it looks, if there’s no plot for me to follow and I have no clue what the hell is going on, it’s gonna bug me more than popcorn stuck in my teeth!
Unfortunately, in the day-to-day running of a specialist presentation company, this is what we are faced with more often than not. We have requests to “just make it look better” and of course what then get’s handed to us is a Frankenstein’s monster of slides copy/pasted from Google and/or a thousand other slide presentations in the most hodge podge/haphazard way.
We have a few sayings at Missing Link – one goes like this: “We’re not in the business of putting lipstick on a pig!” and to be completely honest, what we often see would be an insult to pigs (they’re actually quite cute little creatures and they provide us with nature’s cocaine – BACON! I digress…). The point is that, just as a movie doesn’t start with the cameraman filming a random series of shots that are handed to an editor to piece a story together, neither should a presentation be put together without a rock solid story-line in place first!
You need to close PowerPoint, think about your audience: who they are, where they are and where you want them to be once you’re done talking to them. Then plan specific pieces of content and the experience that will get them there – Step by step, scene by scene (timing is important here too). Only AFTER you have that can you get thinking about the slides and how to make them pretty.
In the words of my childhood hero, Steven Spielberg:
“Audiences are harder to please if you’re just giving them effects, but they’re easy to please if it’s a good story.”