How to create a great pitch video for your idea

Creating a professional video is expensive and extremely time consuming. When done right, a video can be very effective in getting users and spreading your idea to a large audience. For a small startup, videos might end up taking their entire marketing budget! I’ve been exploring ways to pitch an idea effectively while keeping time and cash investment to a minimum. Here’s how I got a great video done in 2 days and $35 for AlwaysHungry.

 

Researching for great videos

Epipheo is a great place to start. There is no doubt they make the best pitch videos! They are fun, clear and informative. I love their focus on relaying an idea instead of showing feature X and Y of a product. Of course, these videos also cost around $20,000 to make (I asked).

Take a look at their YouTube channel for some inspiration.

 

Storytelling tools

I looked for a tool that might help me tell a story specifically. I found Adobe Voice!

Adobe Voice is an awesome app that focuses on just telling a story. It only allows you to use icons, graphics and pictures coupled with music and a voice over. If you have a wonderful voice and happy with very simple graphics, this is your stop.


A little more Jazz

I wanted something a little better for AlwaysHungry. So what is similar to Adobe Ideas but has much better animations, and gives you more control over your content? Keynote! Keynote has slides, animations, graphics and all the other bells and whistles you need for a basic video. It also has a nifty feature that allows you to export your slide deck to a movie (mp4 file).

What about the icons? I immediately noticed that Adobe Voice used TheNounProject icons. It just so happens that AlwaysHungry icons are taken from TheNounProject too!

I wrote a script. You have to write a script. It helps you organise your thoughts and keep your narrative concise. You can start storyboarding your idea as you progress the script. Here's the final version of my script: Video Script.

... 
[Subway icon comes in] 
you constantly end up eating the same old thing, because you are too hungry to make a decision! 
[tone and emotion we want to convey is that it’s a downer]
...

I used simple icons, text and graphics to come up with a set of slides on Keynote. I focused on creating slides that supported the ideas conveyed on the script, sprinkling in animations where relevant. All of this turned out to be an exercise in creativity: trying to use the most basic elements to tell a story. I believe this kept me true to what I was trying to achieve.

Additionally I added some screen recordings from my iPhone to show off the app.


Searching for a voice

The right voice helps a video convey its message really well. VoiceBunny has a large number of voice actors who posses many unique attributes. They will deliver audio recordings within a day or two. My script came to about $100 all up for a VoiceBunny job.
#protip: email their support and ask for a discount :)

Another place you can find voice actors is Fiverr. Freelance community has a lot to offer on the Internet. We found @drewthedj who offered to do the voice over for just… $35! As you might have guessed, we went with Fiverr.


Getting it right first time

If you have a small budget, you want to get this audio recording right the first time around. Here’s what I did:

  • I imported the movie produced by Keynote to iMovie.
  • I started reading the script out loud while continuously playing the iMovie file over and over. 
  • Each time, I would shorten or extend the length of a section, based on how long I took to read out the script comfortably.
  • Following these steps, I ended up with about a minute long silent movie. I went on to edit the script and iMovie project further to get it down to about 50 seconds. I found that people generally leave around 50s mark for other YouTubes I've made. 

I sent the silent movie to @drewthedj. Drew was extremely professional, sent me back files with these formats: WAV, MP3, and Video with audio + background music!!! Whoa! If you need some royalty free music premiumbeat.com is great too.

I went back to iMovie and synced the audio file with my video timeline. Exported the video at full resolution and… DONE!

 

Concluding thoughts

The AlwaysHungry pitch video only took a weekend to make and it turned out to be better than a lot of expensively made videos out there! It is really a matter of channeling your creativity through some of the basic tools available to make something awesome. Focus on what matters: conveying the idea. Don't get distracted with showing off everything you have to offer. Simple things are easier to understand.

2 things your app can focus on to be successful

Apps that do really well on the App Store focus on PASSIONS & PRODUCTIVITY. The higher you rank in the scale on these two categories, the better chances you have of making a kick-arse app concept that resonate with its users.

 

People are passionate about all kinds of crazy things. What's important is that passions makes us very emotional. And everybody knows emotional hooks are the best way to sell something to a consumer. Your job becomes exponentially easier if you don't have to convince them why something will be of value.

The effectiveness of the 'passion-hook' increases as the reach and the prestige of the passion gets higher. For example, fitness is a great category to be in. Everyone's emotionally invested in it, so your market size is large. More importantly, people are willing to pay to get fit.

 

Productivity is why IT exist in the world. Instead of figuring out what 28912 x 92891 is in your head or on paper, you have a calculator. If you can save time, make life easier, and return the human back its lazy couch potato stage as quickly as possible from real work, you are doing a great service. This service can worth a lot of money.

People pay to make things go away all the time. So if you are designing an app to help people be more productive, you have a great chance to make it. The bigger the problem you are solving, the higher you can charge for it. If it targets companies instead of individuals, then there is even bigger bucks to be made.

 

Then there are really good apps that combine the two. Food apps like Posse or Urban Spoon are great examples. People are very passionate about what they eat, and what says about them to the people around them. They take pride in finding little gems around the city and recommending to friends. At the same time, they are extremely productive. It saves me from having to Google for places to get lunch from when I'm hungry and irrational.

 

Of course there are other angles to succeed by making an app. You can look at improving communications and social interaction. But these are markets that may not follow the general pay for a download model that well. They are also very hard to succeed in.

If you want to keep it simple, make something that target passions and productivity. Analyse where you stand in the two scales when you are at the concept stage. Bring features in to add value in both categories as you go on. Find your own little edge in these scales that make your idea better.

As long as you are helping lazy humans be extra lazy, and help enjoying what they rather be doing, there's a chance of success.