Our assignment for this week was to pick a documentary of our choice, view it, and analyze it for how it presents a story. Documentaries are a great way to get a point across. They go at the pace of the viewer, include multimedia, and follow a specific sequence of thoughts. All of those elements should be considered when creating an oral presentation, which is the reason for this assignment and something that we’re all trying to improve.
When I first got the assignment, I was planning on watching “Why We Dance: The Story of THON” on Sunday, the day after UNC Dance Marathon ended because I haven’t seen it yet and have been wanting to for a while. I thought it would be great for that sacred Sunday after the marathon the Executive Board usually celebrates by laying in bed all day. Long story short, I’m not ready to wrap things up with my 4 years of UNC-DM [blog post with a recap of this weekend coming soon!], so I chose to watch something more innocuous.
Based off the recommendation of a friend, I watched “Inside: Chipotle,” a short documentary by Bloomberg. It starts with a short biography of Steve Ells, the founder, and how he started the company. With that it sets up the premise that Chipotle is a company on a mission to find the freshest and most ethically sourced ingredients. The presenters then walk us through the growth and style of the company.
The entire time, there is a theme of staying true to the company’s values — awareness about how animals are raised and sourcing food from local and organic farmers. There is also a theme of being the underdog and overcoming all odds. In the movie, during the growth phase, it talks about how McDonalds was the first big investor and what allowed Chipotle to take off, yet their styles didn’t match so they parted ways after a while. Then, Chipotle was able to create the “fast casual” dining category, shared with Qdoba and Panera, for example. The presenter sets it up so we are supposed to be surprised of and in awe of how Chipotle is able to be so successful despite paying for more expensive ingredients. They set up the story to make it sound impossible that a company can be successful and not harm the planet, yet someway, somehow, Chipotle is able to make it work and reinvent the fast food business.
This documentary sets up Chipotle as an underdog who made it big, and actually stays true to its beliefs. They interweave quick spotlights on individual stores or people, and relevant background information as they go. I think this was a great idea, because it’s much more interesting than just saying “Day 1, decide to open restaurant. Day 2, look for location. Day 3, buy location,” and so on. It leaves room for suspense and keeps the audience wanting to know more, but not enough to be frustrating. It’s as if the presentation will introduce a question and come back to it just as the audience is realizing they want to know the answer. That’s what really drew me in (other than the fact that I believe a burrito is the perfect way to serve food, and thought Chipotle’s latest ads were really interesting).
For my future presentations, I’d like to tell more of a story. Group presentations are often so rushed and focused on getting the right information, that you think of the presentation as more of a report and less of a persuasion, although it really is a persuasion. I love the idea of a less linear timeline, but that’s something that would need to be perfected and given lots of trial, otherwise it could be confusing to the audience. I’m really excited to be reading Presentation Zen for this week and can’t wait to try out some of the principles for my next presentations!
Full movie here.