Orally present his film to a commission

16 August 2013. Published by Benoît Labourdette.
Reading time: 4 min  

I am very regular member commission to award financial aid to film production. In my experience, what are the best practices and pitfalls ?

Why oral presentation

All commissions do not offer the ability to project to make an oral presentation. But more and more people have this practice, which is invaluable in my opinion. Projects are first pre-selected folder (on the subject of writing files, this is for another article!) And a number of project are invited to defend their project to the Commission. Generally, the producer and director are solicited. Sometimes, of course, that there is one of two that is present. This is really not desirable.

Why it is important

I have seen many times, the opinions on issues change dramatically in the right direction or in the wrong, after the oral presentation.

“Dramaturgy” of the oral presentation

The oral presentation usually takes place in “three acts”

  1. Roundtable personal presentations : each member of the committee present, and you must each present.
  2. Your oral presentation : usually 10-20 minutes.You are alone to manage this time, the committee members ask no questions.
  3. Questions : usually 15 to 25 minutes. Each committee member has his “hobby.” Some are “on your side”, others do not. There are always important debates in the committees.
  4. And finally, after your departure, there is a fourth private deed, deliberation.

Issues oral presentation

How is it that the oral presentation can weigh as in the opinion of a committee, whose members have yet previously read all the files ? No he was not “objective” criteria ?

In my view, there are a number of “objective” criteria for writing a file, including its budget part. But on the oral presentation is entirely subjective, and it is the sense of the meeting in vivo confront subjectivities, by members of the Committee who have very different opinions (often commissions are formed by very heterogeneous members in their vision of cinema). This means that the project affects more directly the sensitivity of each in this encounter.

So one could argue that there is some injustice that people who are better speakers will be better off than those who are paralyzed by emotion. Well, not that much! Indeed, generally, members of the Committee have all been in the position of defending a project themselves before a jury. So everyone is aware of the great difficulty of the exercise, and everyone is clear on the fact that the challenge is to judge the artistic value and viability of a project, not one or two people. So even if you are emotes that you stutter, I know that this will not in itself a negative impact. Obviously, it’s better to be as comfortable as possible. But anyway, the situation itself is a situation where you are not comfortable! Everyone is well aware. And very safe people themselves in the situation do not value their project necessarily better.

But what about more than what is written in the file ?

Everything is there!

The members of the commission have all read your file, and usually so careful. Remember that people who are members of a committee are not paid (or very little, it is rather a cost-), ? ?and agree to sit to make something of this collective professional sector. So everyone takes it very seriously.

In my opinion, here’s what you can cover in your oral presentation :

  • Make a synthesis, very fast, your project, so that everyone will “reconnect”.
  • But do not repeat your case, everyone has read it.
  • Explain where the project is, if it has advanced, and at what levels : in fact, often the commission takes place several months after you have sent your application, so water has flowed under the bridge. This point is very important : be specific, take the members of the commission in your adventure to complete your project. If things have happened is that you believe is that you have the energy to do, and it makes you want to support you.
  • Give concrete details and live your world, your way of working, your other projects, give an example of a scene, a device for making ...
  • Perhaps you did some auditions ? Maybe you just did rehearsals filmed (in the case of fiction) ? Maybe you progress on trails (for a documentary) ? Bring examples.
  • In short, make your listeners come into your world.
  • There are many years a director of theater told me : “The show is the proposal of a world.” I think a movie, and already a film project, it’s the same thing.
  • And do not forget to mention the broadcast : a film is made to be seen, and even more so now with the new media, you need to think about how this film will exist. The committee members are often very sensitive to this : they want to help a film that will be seen. This does not mean that it is a quantitative judgment of a potential audience, your film can “shoot” a sharp public. What matters is that we also feel and understand your projects do exist publicly.
  • And finally, locate the project in your artistic career (and production for the producer) : commissions are very sensitive to the fact to “follow” the authors, support dynamic over time. Sometimes very “fragile” projects are supported, because the commission felt the potential in the long term, that person or team.

Prepare for oral presentation

How to prepare for this year ? This is not a stage. If you are two, you divide the roles. This is very important because when there is an imbalance in one direction or the other, between the director and the producer, members of the committee feel very frustrated.

Make an outline of the topics you will cover each rather than repeat verbatim presentation. Work, really, on the content of your presentation, that is what you are going to talk, rather than the form.

The essential

The important thing is to move forward on your project, and make it to the state commission. Argue that it is in material terms, artistic, financial and practical ... So the most important thing is your movie, you’re going to do. For some stages, there is need for financial resources (the role of the commission), but other steps that matters, it’s your energy, sense of this project for you and for others, and that it is not a financial issue.

Each his “job” : yours is to create something great, and the “work” of the committee is to support you financially for this project to succeed.