First, design a clear, simple, and informative character sheet.
Second, fill those sheets with pregens. New players do not need to make mechanical choices.
Third, design a very short campaign that connects directly to the backstory of the pregens.
Fourth, Keep the encounters easy to understand with very little fiddly corner cases.
Fifth, and yet show off all three pillars.
I once wrote a script for a short "sports film" parody except it was the final bout of a stadium filling tournament of competitive DM vs Players D&D. Having no capacity to produce it, i shelved it and subsequently lost it in a hard drive crash (this was before easy and cheap cloud storage).
I still think a good movie about playing D&D is a better idea than a D&D movie.
I was recently listening to a Podcast by Mastering Dungeons about the Playtest and they had a few interesting points. The one that got me thinking was in regards to new players and character creation. They pointed out the confusion of having a new player pick a Class, a Race, and then build a background (including choosing a Feat). They discussed the idea of choosing each as a feature of the first three levels.
Level 1 - make a simple background (2 skills, a language, and some starting equipment) along with your race, focusing on the narrative over mechanics.
Level 2 - pick a Class and ASI. This could look like a current Level 1 character.
Level 3 - pick a subclass and a Feat. You have a fully realized character, returning/advanced players start here.
At first I laughed the idea off it sounded so weird but upon reflection it makes it far easier to explain to new players. Keep the choices fewer for those first levels and let them grow into the rules (allowing swapping) of each until they hit level 4. It feels similar to level 0 characters of yesteryears and makes teaching the game simpler.
What are your thoughts? How have you streamlined character creation for new players? I am introducing a new group of young teens and an always interested in ideas.
That's why I feel they should just jump in and play (no chargen, no rules lecture). They can pick up the rules as they go along. Once they've got a few sessions under them, reading the rules might actually make some sense to them. As should making a character.