The EIC Accelerator blended financing (formerly SME Instrument Phase 2, grant and equity) has recently introduced a video pitch for Step 1 of the evaluation process. This has placed an additional level of storytelling on top of the written application and the pitch deck. Since there is no useful guideline or proposal template for the video pitch, this article aims to share thoughts on the storytelling and the overall process of the editing of a pitch video for startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME).
Editing is an extremely important part of the video creation process since it can completely change the entire narrative, can alter the story or make things seem less or more plausible. Many famous writers and producers have long recognized the importance of the editing process and are performing or administering the process carefully.
Editing and Writing
The relationship between filming and editing is the one between creating a raw proposal outline and the writing of an actual application. What needs to be considered is that the editor must have the same skillset as the scriptwriter to assure that the final narrative is aligned with its initial intention.
Yes, changes can be requested but the decision as to which word will be cut out due to time constraints or which sentence is more important will lie in the responsibility of the editor. This means that the editor should not only be familiar with general storytelling but should also be familiar with the EIC Accelerator application process and its specific focus on disruptiveness, innovation, risk and non-bankability.
Professional writers and consultancies are already deeply familiar with this process but many third party filmmakers or editors who are being hired in 2021 due to the sudden need for video pitches might not be.
The Editors Tasks
The main task of the editor is to take the raw footage and turn it into the required 3-minute video as defined by the European Innovation Council (EIC)’s recommendation. The general workflow and segmentation for this are:
- Selecting the video and, if needed, synching the external audio with the video
- Cutting the video down to the needed segments and length
- Audio enhancement
- Video enhancement (colour grading)
- Adding effects (titles, transitions, overlays of logos, etc.)
- Exporting the footage
Feedback and revisions are quite simple but the early tasks of footage selection and the cutting to the respective times are very difficult to control if a writer does not understand editing and the editor does not understand the writing. It is common that editions are in the form of:
- Can you add a logo here?
- Can we get this part first?
- Can you use a different camera angle? (if multiple were recorded)
- Can we change the title?
But what is almost impossible to edit as a non-editor is:
- Can you add the deleted sentence back in and remove the one you kept?
- Can you remove these 10 pauses throughout the video and add this sentence at the end?
- Can you change the order of these parts?
It is hard to identify what will work best if you do not have an overview of all raw material and knowledge as to what can work in a video setting. The scriptwriter gives an outline of the story but the editor creates a story that is different from the original script due to time constraints, the quality of the material and the availability of supplementary material such as logos, footage or animations.
How to Improve the Editing
A key factor in preparing a well-edited pitch video is to already account for the editing in the scripting and not only prepare a script and hope that it will work in 3 minutes. Key factors to plan for the editing inside the script preparation are:
- Sentences that can be trimmed if needed or can be removed without hurting the narrative.
- Segments that allow the addition of relevant logos, animations or titles without overlapping with non-relevant sections.
- Omitting transitional sentences that force the editor to keep them in succession as opposed to having the freedom to change their order.
- Short sentences as opposed to ones that are long and complex.
- Thinking of visual support for certain aspects (i.e. already preparing stock or in-house footage to be used ahead of time).
The articles found on Rasph.com reflect the opinions of Rasph or its respective authors and in no way reflect opinions held by the European Commission (EC) or the European Innovation Council (EIC). The provided information aims to share perspectives that are valuable and can potentially inform applicants regarding grant funding schemes such as the EIC Accelerator, EIC Pathfinder, EIC Transition or related programs such as Innovate UK in the United Kingdom or the Small Business Innovation and Research grant (SBIR) in the United States.
The articles can also be a useful resource for other consultancies in the grant space as well as professional grant writers who are hired as freelancers or are part of a Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME). The EIC Accelerator is part of Horizon Europe (2021-2027) which has recently replaced Horizon 2020. Previously, the EIC Accelerator was named SME Instrument Phase 2 whereas Phase 1 was discontinued in 2019. It should also be noted that the current Steps of the EIC Accelerator application do not correspond to the Phases that were available in 2019 but only act as additional evaluation thresholds for the project's assessment.
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