A popular trend among startups these days is to create a video pitch. Cameras are cheaper, and do-it-yourself applications like iMovie on the Mac make video editing fun and easy. But like any form of new media, video is not just a secondary platform on which to present a carbon copy of something from an earlier medium; in other words, a video pitch needs to take advantage of the fact that it’s a video. Videos have motion and interactivity and the ability to show anything with pictures and animation, which is much more than we can say simply with text.

Foundry Group’sBrad Feld wrote today that he gets pitches in his inbox everyday, and while some of them are videos, they often don’t take advantage of the medium. As the title of this morning’s post suggests, Feld encourages video pitchers to “Show Don’t Tell“.

“The video I watched today was a two minute segment of the entrepreneur looking into the camera and describing his business idea,” writes Feld. “I ended up watching the full two minute video to see if he ever shifted from “tell” mode to “show” mode. He never did.”

VCs don’t want to watch a video monologue of you telling them all about your product; you can do that with an email or a blog entry. Be a show-off with you video pitches and skip the boring discussion and get to the product. Getting a look at the actual product and its features is what will hook a potential investor, not jargon and PR speak.

“For most of the great VCs I know, the way an entrepreneur makes a connection when there is no pre-existing relationship is to generate an immediate interest with the product,” writes Feld. “That’s what happened for us in the case of Brightleaf and Organic Motion. The entrepreneurs were highly credible, but more importantly we immediately got excited about their products.”

When a popular movie is published in book form, they don’t just print the script and sell it; they re-write it in a narrative form that is native to books. So why would an entrepreneur doing a video pitch simply recite his same old spiel in front a of a camera? If it’s a Web app, take the time to include screenshots, or even a screen-capture demo of your product. If it’s something like an iPhone app, go out and show how it would be used in a real-life situation.

If a VC can close their eyes and still get as much from your video pitch by just listening to it, you’re doing it wrong. Don’t try to speak for your product, let it speak for itself.

Photo by Flickr user Andrew*.

chris cameron

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