Photo: The jury of last year’s MIPCube Content 360 competition. Ready to impress them?
So, that deadline is creeping nearer. You know, the deadline that will close the window for you to apply with your fabulous cross media / 360 / multiplatform / transmedia proposal for the chance to win €5000 in development funds from Russia’s top independent broadcasting company, CTC.
Now, your idea is pretty awesome, I get that. Otherwise you wouldn’t be entering into the competition, right? Well, since you’re obviously going to be one of the finalists (m’kay?), here are five pieces of advice when it comes to preparing your idea for submission on the 24th of February, ahead of your pitch for the 8th of April:
1. Meet the brief
Easy to say; at times, surprisingly hard to accomplish. If you’re entering this competition, chances are you already have something under development that “would fit the bill perfectly, if only I make a few adjustments”. Probably not, no – unless it’s actually something that meets the brief, as in it having been built with proper transmedia storytelling methods, have mobile use integrated as a core facet of the concept, have a twist or a hook that would compel new users to sign up to the internet services of the main sponsor, have a high-visibility TV aspect and so on. The brief is quite thorough in this case – make use of that, and meet it.
2. Wise up on your target
You’re competing in Cannes at the MIPCube’s Content 360 competition. Earlier sponsors have come from Korea, the UK and so on. This time, however, Mother Russia is calling. What CTC and MTS are looking for is something that will appeal to an audience of 70 million people: half the population of the country! This in turn means that niche-ideas would need to be utterly outstanding — on a Gangnam Style-level of outstanding — to convince the jury. Russia is the world’s 6th largest economy, in GDP terms, and is a country that spans over nine time zones; something that poses its own demands on, for instance, the distribution of transmedia content that would strive for audience interaction. As always, thorough research is your friend.
3. Connect everything
One aspect of transmedia storytelling and of developing content according to those principles is the need to develop all aspects of the content – on all platforms – hand in hand from the very beginning. It is heartwarming to see more and more producers realising this, and more and more writers, thought leaders and lecturers pointing this out as a necessity. This goes for your pitch as well; if you can’t show that all parts fit together naturally and logically and actually enhance each other and together offer a richer experience to the end user, don’t bother incorporating those parts in your pitch. By all means, include them in further development work, if you’re adamant that they will work, but don’t pitch Facebook games and ARGs as part of your project just because the brief stated that “games and live events are encouraged”. Either they fit your concept and you’ve built them as an integral part of your story and story world, or they don’t. And if they don’t, omit them.
4. Find your twist
There are quite a few case studies out there to look at for anyone feeling the need for inspiration — pages such as this one or this one might reacharound to help stuck producers getting unstuck — but at the same time, originality must be a priority. This could be as overwhelming as a magically complete and enthralling world of fiction upon which a story is built for this competition specifically; or something building on well-known tropes, but with a decidedly unique and compelling twist. Strive to find that twist, and when you’ve found it, let it infuse the rest of your proposal with its uniqueness.
5. Crush it
As anyone who has ever heard a pitch or pitched something to someone knows; it’s ultimately all in the delivery. There are a ton of good advice on how to actually pitch your idea and I’m sure anyone with a modicum of Google-Fu will be able to unearth some gems in no time. If you don’t have ‘no-time’, here are a couple of useful links. All you need to do now is rehearse and repeat, convince and avoid defeat. Then best of luck with your newfound partners in Russia!