Real people make a difference. Obviously, that can be said of life, relationships, politics and business – but sometimes, as filmmakers, we forget that not every promotional video needs a professional actor or a TV presenter. That’s especially true if you’re promoting a campaign or scheme that relies on real people giving up their own time for the benefit of others. A number of projects we’ve worked on with Leicestershire Police have centred around that very theme.
A Special Campaign
Last year we were fortunate enough to produce a film to aid recruitment of Special Constables. ‘Specials’ have the same powers as their regular counterparts. However, they volunteer their time, often fitting their shifts around their own work and careers. In our initial research, it was clear that many existing Specials love the work they do and find volunteering an incredibly rewarding experience. From that moment, it was clear that the only way to convey that message with any kind of credibility and sincerity was to use some of those ‘real’ Specials in our film.
Real doesn’t mean ‘boring’
This is where many clients and producers can lose their way. Using staff or non-professional performers is sometimes seen as just another way to cut the budget: ‘Let’s just stick Dave from Accounts in a chair and have him say how wonderful spreadsheets are.’
It’s true, Sir Ian Mckellen could read from the Excel manual and still entertain us for a few minutes, but we normal folks need to be part of a well-structured, engaging script. We need succinct, direct copy and a visual approach that best matches the intended audience. Leicestershire Police were looking for something fast-paced yet insightful and honest – the type of script we love to create.
Give it time
Seasoned presenters and experienced actors are used to hitting their marks, delivering their lines and giving you several different takes to choose from. They should be, because it’s their job. But Julie from HR hasn’t been in front of a camera before. She’s bound to be a little nervous when you turn on the lights and say ‘Action!’ for the first time. We’re used to putting non-performers at ease and ensure the shoot is fun and lighthearted. We don’t expect them to get it right first time, second time . . . or the twenty-third time! We know our patience and friendly guidance will be rewarded with a great take and a better film. That means allowing enough time in the schedule for each participant to give a relaxed, confident and sincere delivery.
Real people really care
The other upside of using real employees and contributors? Once you unleash your film and campaign, those same people will be invested in the message. They will feel part of what you’re trying to achieve or convey and they’ll be more likely to share the video with friends, family and your clients. When the #couldyou promo was first shown to a group of existing Special Constables, they said they felt emotional and proud to be associated with the people and aims stated in the film.
We’ve had fantastic feedback from the recruitment team and, at the time of writing, the YouTube version of the promo has been watched more than 20,000 times. Proof positive that when it comes to promoting an important message or idea . . .
Real people make a difference.
What ideas or campaigns would you like to share with the world? Let us know in the comments, or get in touch to find out how we can help you craft the perfect film and campaign.