Informatics Capstone Pitch #1

Director, editor, videography, sound.


The graduating students of the University of Washington's iSchool spend their final two quarters arranging themselves into groups in which to collaborate on one final, cumulative project of their own invention; at the very end of spring quarter, these projects are presented in a kind of celebratory public symposium. My group, self-dubbed "Who Said You Can't Bill Gates" (no, not "Who Said You Can't—Bill Gates?"), chose to create a storytelling social network which combines the temporal consumability of SnapChat with the audial intimacy of oral storytelling. Our working project title is "MomentO," though we plan on replacing it with something more searchable and unique in future iterations.

Part of our capstone curriculum is to create a short pitch video for our product. What makes this pitch video unique is that we use it to tell a story about our storytelling application—a kind of proof-in-pudding approach. Having participated in the market of explainer videos and the like, I determined that we avoid the tropes of copy-heavy narration and hyper-enthusiasm in order to position ourselves as unique and draw more attention to MomentO as a project to keep an eye on. Furthermore, I think that this unnarrated approach is demonstrative of our product's viability; we don't have to tell you why you should use it—all we have to do is show you the application in motion, and we're certain that you will find something compelling about our idea. When the market is oversaturated with very same-ish promotional videos watched one after another (as would be the case in our screenings of these during class and in the wild, where the web is inundated with commercials), the key to capturing the focus of your audience is to jar them with an abrupt break in the pattern.

Another thing I'm proud of about this video: It's bereft of cynicism. It would be easy to make something campy or funny—it's much easier to be funny than to act, and explain away poor production value as part of the package of humor, and one can use funniness to avoid the discomfort of authenticity—but instead, we chose to present our product in a serious light. This video is meant to communicate confidence: We don't have to use irony, copy, time-lapses or trendiness to sell MomentO to you. We can show you the product, and it'll sell itself. If our team is so confident about our project, then there must be something there, right?

NOTE: This project later evolved into TellToo. You can watch a version of this video with the old designs swapped with the current ones at TellToo's project page.

Director Joel Elizaga
Screenplay Joel Elizaga, Eduard Grigoryan, Christopher Li, Sanchya Mahajan
Videography Joel Elizaga
Post-Production Joel Elizaga
Sound Joel Elizaga, Sanchya Mahajan
Melancholic Guy Christopher Li
Storyteller Eduard Grigoryan