Do the judges prefer if you essay theme matches your presentation theme? Can presentations be tangentially related or should they be exactly what the essay was like?
Our essay broke down the solar system and compared the team to planets (because of our intense influence with Northrop Grumman and LEMs). We wrote and filmed pieces of the presentation around space exploration in general. I’m wondering if it’s worth making the presentation parallel to the essay.
I haven’t judged at FRC, but I have at FLL. Having a consistent theme or image among the various documents and presentations certainly helps a team stand out from the crowd and makes those key details more memorable. If your submission is anywhere near the top of the heap, this can only help.
I definitely think it’s all about how cohesive and effective the theme is at communicating the important/newer details about why your team should win the Chairman’s Award.
Last year, we had a theme of “Building the Future”, and for that we dressed up as construction workers, and had a prop shaped like a building in construction. Picture here. After we won in Iowa last year, I remember a couple of the Chairman’s judges coming up to me afterwards and complimenting our presentation, mentioning that the way we executed the theme was “very charming”.
I feel that if you can find a way to make your presentation build upon the theme you crafted in the essay, and communicate your “wow-factor” efforts, then go for it. As stated earlier in this thread, those things can make you stand out and show your charm & passion to the judges!
In my experience, I’ve had the judges actually ask why our presentation didn’t include all of the elements in our essay in addition to why our Entrepreneurship award essay included elements that weren’t in our Chairman’s essay. I seems like judges actively looking for a consistent theme not just across Chairman’s, but for all awards as well.
I would only include elements (in addition to expanding on these elements) in your presentation that you have already mentioned in your essays instead of adding in any detail that you missed.
While this may be good advice for some specific situations, if you team is a very good contender for Chairman’s, you are probably better served to add more content in a thematically consistent way on top of your essay. Speaking from having been a part of preparing 2220’s submission this year, we simply didn’t have the space in our essay to include all the relevant details while still keeping it readable. I have no doubt other teams are in this position is well. There is a balancing act between ensuring the judges get all of the relevant details and not swamping them with excess information.
On a related note, we did structure the two similarly, mentioning the same four initiatives. However, much of the content was tweaked and updated for the speech, and some elements were dropped and replaced due to us deciding they weren’t as relevant. This year we focused very much on clarity of purpose over anything else.
The big thing to remember about themes is that they need to compliment your presentation and purpose if your goal is to win.
This is gold. We learnt this the hard way one year when we had what we thought was a brilliant theme but sacrificed much of our content.
Remember that the Essay and Presentation are part of your Chairman’s submission, so they are already inherently linked. All three aspects (including the video) are part of your submission ‘package’ so they need to work together to communicate your ideas effectively.
As for where the content goes, remember that different forms of communication will be better for different stories. One story may be more effective in the presentation because it is more emotive, whereas another story might be better for the essay because it is more factual/stat driven. I would never be afraid to have things in each part of the submission that are unique to that part of the submission. Additionally, not repeating stories in the essay/presentation/video will allow you to say more (dependent on your Chairman’s strategy). Why say one thing twice in the essay and presentation when you could use that time to tell double the stories, and potentially double your impact on the judges?