Pitch teams research their chosen topic and prepare a 5-10 minute presentation that communicates to the rest of the group an argument for why their topic is appropriate to be chosen for production. Participants should use the selection criteria to guide their argument and are encouraged to be creative in the ways that they present their argument to the group.


  • Conduct focused research into a small number of topics.
  • Prepare creative presentations of research findings.
  • Identify potential sub-topics and production techniques that the group could use in production.


2 – 3 workshop sessions (if time allows)


  1. Given that teams self-selected in the last step, it is not unusual to have uneven sized groups at this point. Depending on the way in which your group is staffed, you might choose to have facilitators work with each group, or have a facilitator move between groups as they work independently for periods.
  2. Remind teams that when the time comes for them to present their pitch, the audience will be made up of the other teams, facilitators, and if you like, invited guests (eg professional media-makers, friends & family, other staff from your organization). The audience will give general feedback, but will mostly use the selection criteria in their response to the pitch. It is very important that the pitch speaks to all of the selection criteria.
  3. Before breaking out into small-group research and pitch prep, discuss the range of research options available to the group. Some of these should have already been modeled in the basic topic exploration done in the last step. Encourage groups to think about using a range of research methods that will produce different types of information that they can present in their pitch. For example, a group exploring the topic of “homelessness”, could find statistics on the numbers and demographics of people without adequate housing by searching the internet or visiting a library, and they might also conduct street interviews to gather information on attitudes towards homelessness. Depending on how large the teams are, they might decide to break up the research responsibilities into smaller groups, with subsets of the team working on different aspects of the research.
  4. In the process of their research, teams should be on the lookout for even more focused sub-topics for their project. Following our example, “homelessness” is a very large subject area, too big for one piece of media to cover. A successful pitch (and piece of media) will address a focused aspect of a topic. In the “homelessness” topic, subtopics could include things like “homelessness among military veterans”, “root causes of homelessness”, “the women’s shelter system”, “youth homelessness”, etc.
  5. Teams should put thought into creative and engaging ways of presenting the findings of their research. A boring pitch could suggest a boring project, and is unlikely to get a lot of support from the group. A successful pitch will energise the audience, leaving them eager to watch or participate in the production of the media that is being proposed.
  6. All pitch team members should take part in the actual pitch presentation.
  7. Elements that a pitch presentation could include:
  • Aworking title for the project
  • A “tagline” – a tagline is a short, punchy sentence that goes along with a film’s title to give some idea of what the project is about and to get an audience interested
  • A “mock-up” promo poster– visual tools can help an audience imagine the project as a real thing, rather than just a vague idea
  • Statistics– can be used to quickly illustrate an issue in general terms
  • Anecdotes– real stories connected to the issue, either from the experience of the production crew or from other research
  • Role-plays– pitchers enact scenes related to the topic. These could be used to illustrate the issue, or to sketch the type of scene that might appear in the project.
  • Video or audio interviews– could be done among members of the group, with random people on the street, or with various types of “experts” (people directly affected by the issue, academics, policy-makers, etc)
  • Media survey– a look at existing representations of the topic, accompanied by an idea of what this project could add to the landscape
  • Audience interaction– pitchers could do some sort of educational activity, or topic-related game with the group
  • Potential impact– a description of what role the team envisions that the piece of media could have in affecting the situation they’re discussion
  • Target audience – who will this media appeal to?
  • Distribution methods– how will this media get out into the world?

Pitch teams should rehearse their presentations before the day of pitch presentations


This model was developed by Dan O’Reilly-Rowe, benefits from his collaboration with a number of educators at Global Action Project in New York City, and builds on practices common in many youth media organisations. The model was first recorded and refined as a part of the Youth Media Learning Network Fellowship , 2007-2008.

Storytelling Prompts | Finding Topics to Explore

Morgan Sully, 2010.  Coming up with a worthy topic for a story can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be.  Here’s a few prompts to get you started. Participants Can work for small or large groups.  Not much technology is needed for this activity. Skills/Technique This...