Last week, I shared what felt like a huge epiphany from my sabbatical: We have to stop lumping advocacy videos into one big category. Goals and audiences vary. Issues and characters vary. The idea that we can apply some one-size-fits-all format to video is only keeping us from producing the truly stellar stories that good causes deserve.
In hindsight, it all seems so obvious. But maybe by having these conversations, and by shedding light on some production-related details, we can turn a squishy, abstract art into something more tangible and process-oriented; something that you don't have to be a genius filmmaker to grasp.
We'll kick things off with the Inspirational Trailer. Again, please weigh in if you have experience making a video that fits this style-- these posts are just the start. I'm relying on TDN readers to help shape these ideas!
THE GOALS: To inspire viewers to connect to a cause, in a style that plays to the emotions. Advocacy can be subtle. Engage first; educate later; this is just the first step in what is hopefully a long and loyal relationship with this audience.
THE PLAYERS: On camera, it can involve anywhere from one to several different characters, or even simple scenes that connect to an idea or a cause. Behind the camera, it might take several filmmakers, a creative director, an editor, possibly a designer/animator, and also potentially advocacy staff to help guide the concept or suggest characters for the film.
THE FINAL PRODUCT: A 30 to 90-second video that's super inspiring. The film doesn't have to deliver any hard messages, facts and figures, or talking heads-- it's meant to be inspirational, even entertaining; it may even almost "trick" people into caring by tugging at specific emotions. Images and scenes might be symbollic. Metaphorical. Subtle. Big-picture. Lofty. End credits can include a website and/or a simple, clear call to action.
THE GRAB: Inspiration, inspiration, inspiration. Stats and hard messaging can come later.
THE CREAM OF THE CROP:
Am I forgetting something brilliant? Feel free to post links to additional videos. Otherwise, tune in next week to learn about the News/Event-Driven Video!
Over and out from beautiful Yosemite...