Tips for pitching to the Interactive Development Fund
February 9, 2017
The New Zealand Film Commission’s pilot Interactive Development Fund is an exciting opportunity for game developers to get support for the early stage of their development.
We reached out to NZFC to clarify three of the most frequently asked questions:
FAQs from NZFC
Is the fund intended for VR/AR only, or will being a VR/AR project significantly influence the panel’s decision?
No, the fund will support projects on all platforms. The panel will consider how an application will take advantage of the target platform, but that is just one criteria alongside many. Be sure to explain in your pitch why you intend to target a specific platform from both an audience standpoint and its suitability to your concept.
What is considered “narrative focused”?
Narrative focused is a game with a clear story and/or world which players experience and/or go through with characters, game story and gameplay. This could be anything from traditional linear narratives with strong characters interacting with each other, to procedurally generated sandbox experiences which tell their story through the game mechanics and world design. What’s important is the message or theme you want your audience to get from the unique way you choose to craft their experience.
What does “significant New Zealand creative and cultural outcomes” mean for the Interactive Development Fund?
NZFC will be using the guidelines provided here (http://www.nzfilm.co.nz/sites/nzfc/files/field/resources/New%20Zealand%20Content%20info%20sheet%20April%202015.pdf) to judge. For reference the details are copied below, with “film” swapped for “project”.
To assess if a project has significant New Zealand content, we consider:
- the subject;
- locations or intended locations;
- ownership or planned ownership of shares or capital of any company, partnership, or joint venture that is concerned with making the project;
- sources of financing (both present and future);
- ownership and location of equipment and technical facilities that will be used;
- nationalities and places of residence of;
- authors, scriptwriters, composers, producers, directors, actors, technicians, editors and anyone else who has or will be involved; [for game development teams: be sure to include artistic, technical, and design staff]
- owners/proposed owners of the shares or capital of any company, partnership or joint venture concerned with making the project;
- those who have or will have copyright in the project.
- anything else we think is relevant to fulfilling the requirements of the New Zealand Film Commission Act 1978
Aside from the FAQ above, here are some general tips on filing your application. Please note: these are suggestions, not a recipe for success, and have not been endorsed by the NZFC.
You’ve got a logline and one page to encapsulate your project for an audience that has never heard of your game before. Focus on the game, how the player will interact with it, and what the story and message is that you’re trying to convey. Avoid jargon and acronyms as they can distract from your pitch by requiring the audience to learn unfamiliar terminology to appreciate what you’re saying. Be able to demonstrate why you think the game appeals to the audience, and it’s always good to be able to back that up with some market research.
In your video be clear and concise. Explain the key messages and themes of your pitch, and be sure to present how the audience will play the game and who that audience is. Include music and images or video of the game if appropriate, but ensure the primary message is being delivered by the developers.
Budget and Schedule
NZFC is requesting three specific components: the budget for this phase of development, the timeline for how the funds will be spent, and what you plan to do with the results of the time and funding (forward plans).
- In your budget be sure to include the salaries of involved individuals, hardware expenses, and software licenses for this phase of your project.
- How long do you anticipate the work will take? Break this down into incremental pieces. It will help you understand the scope of work better and make it clear how you intend to apply the funds.
- What are your next steps? How will your development and learnings from this phase of production guide your plans? What does the scope of the final game look like? What is the business model you will pursue? Consider multiple scenarios, such as seeking crowdfunding vs. publisher vs. private investment and how those would impact your plan to deliver the final game.
Submitting Your Application
Complete every part of the form, and submit it in the requested formats. Make it as easy as possible for the receiving party to understand how all parts of your pitch fit together. Simple steps, like including your project or team name in all of your file names, will help keep your materials in order.
KGS Pitch Example
We’re pleased to be able to share with you Team Ninja Thumbs’ successful Kiwi Game Starter 2016 pitch for Grabity.
Please note, this is a very different format than the one requested by NZFC for the Interactive Development Fund, but we hope this provides some inspiration, and shows how thoroughly Team Ninja Thumbs prepared and were able to answer the questions required about the game, their team, and their development plan.
You can have a look at their Kiwi Game Starter application here.