WHAT IS A PRESENTATION FILM?
A Presentation Film is a short film to act as a sample of what the TV Series might be like if it were to go into full production as a Series. They act as an example of what the Producers want or intend to do, and to show the capabilities of the show in terms of scenes and special effects.
Presentation Films serve the same purpose as a Pilot episode, but run much shorter and for a fraction of the production cost.
Other than a 7 minute "Teaser", the shortest Presentation Film I have found ran 8 minutes. The longest were 20 minutes.
Presentation Films have in the past included :
Interviews with the Actors, Producers, Studio Executives, etc.
The Presentation Film for the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids TV Show" included interviews of hyper overly excited Disney Studio Executives who couldn't sit still for one minute who were too overjoyed about the "endless possibilities" of the stories for the show.
Test Footage of the Special Effects and Computer Animation. Warner Brothers gave the go ahead to produce the "Babylon 5" 2-hour TV Movie based on a minute and a half of test footage of the computer animation.
The studios gave the go ahead to produce "Planet of the Apes" based on a sample scene with Charleton Heston and several actors dressed up as the apes (with an early version of the make-up). The scene took place in a cave that was being explored, with various artifacts that were being excavated and dug up, including the child's doll that made it into the ending of the movie. Charleton Heston was trying to convince the lead ape that humans were there first based on these artifacts, again just as he did in the ending of the movie, except this time he was well dressed as an archeologist (like Sam Neill from Jurassic Park) instead of half naked as he was in the movie.
Viacom agreed to take "Super Force" based on a 7 minute 'Teaser' segment featuring the armor suited guy on his super-bike rescuing a woman from bad guys (narrated by Patrick MacNee).
CONCEPT DESIGNS & ART WORK
Richard Hatch was at first reluctant to do "Battlestar Galactica", until he saw the artwork for the Cylon attack on Caprica and realized the grand scope of what the Producers were aiming for.
One year before "The Empire Strikes Back" reached Movie Theatres, a One minute and Twenty-five second preview was created for advanced promotion, consisting entirely of Ralph McQuarrie concept drawings of scenes from the movie. The only actual real footage that appeared in it were still images of each actor shown at the very end.
The Presentation Film for "Land of the Giants" was a storyboarded version of some scenes that ended up in the Pilot episode.
HOSTED or NARRATED
The Presentation Film for "Land of the Giants" was narrated by Don Matheson, who ended up on the series.
The 7 minute Teaser for "Super Force" was narrated by Patrick MacNee, who ended up as the voice of the computer on the Series and a character in the Pilot.
CLIPS AND STOCK FOOTAGE
All the footage shown in the Presentation Film for "Honey I Shrunk the Kids TV Show" consisted entirely of scenes taken from the 2 Movies and 1 Direct to Video Movie.
Irwin Allen used Stock Footage shots of some special effects from "Lost in Space" and his other series in a 17 minute Presentation Film for another Series that never went into production, "Man from the 25th Century".
The 7 minute action 'Teaser' that sold "Super Force" to Viacom was a self-contained segment that could be viewed on its own.