Video – Diversity and Visibility Initiative

About this project:

This was a terrific project, I was incredibly flattered and happy to be asked to take on the challenge. Here’s how the request came in:

There’s going to be a very posh dinner for about 200 of the most important benefactors and VIPs. It’s 2 weeks from today. Someone will speak from a stage about someone else’s successes, including working on expanding and celebrating diversity at the institution. While she’s standing at the lectern on stage, we want a video showing on the screens behind her that shows the artwork around the Law School that has been added in recent years as part of the effort. The video should look fancy, but not be so distracting that it takes away too much from the person at the lectern. She isn’t going to say, “Now let’s watch the video” and stop speaking while it plays, it’s going to play while she’s talking. We need to see a convincing draft one week from today. Just make it awesome. All of your other projects will be put on hold. Budget? Keep it small.

Not only was it great to be given a challenge with no explicit direction about what was needed, I really loved being part of this particular effort. I often say to people that video can make people more visible, it can amplify their voices, and I love being able to do that.

I spent a week shooting and putting together a rough cut, it got approved, and I spent the next few days doing more shooting and polishing it up in postproduction. I felt the effort was very much worthwhile but knew that as a silent, abstract video about the artwork it wouldn’t have much further use. So I set up some interviews with the students who were the primary participants in the Visibility Initiative, and put together another version of the video, the version above, so that it could be sent around and have more context, with their voices continuing over the imagery. The two versions were done on time. I rented a few items for the project, and the budget was small and well contained.

Here’s a link to the video that was shown at the event – longer, silent, and much more abstract, like a montage.