I prefer working with local non-profits for a few reasons, one of these is that I can use my skills and experiences to see a tangible result in the lives of my neighbors. Another is that the content is always dynamic and interesting. Usually these projects take the form of documentary storytelling, and that, by definition, includes an element of discovery that you won’t get in strictly commercial shoots on any stripe.

This last year I produced a grant video for Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts. This particular project included coverage of the Mississippi Creative Arts School Residency program, including the launch, the workshops, and the final performances.

As you can see, we also produced a series of interviews with participants at every level of the program. Unlike the focused interviews I would do for a one-minute social media video, these interviews were fairly wide-ranging and not limited to a few select talking points. I also was at the school for several hours during much of the residency. So, I took the approach of making a long-form documentary film, even though I knew the final product would be much shorter than ninety, sixty, or thirty minutes.

Shooting this much video might seem like overkill, but it accomplishes a few different things. First of all, it makes me confident that I will have effective imagery to show any of the story points that might develop during the program. Also, this creates tremendous value for the client and allows them get the most life out of the money they have dedicated to video. By shooting a lot of video in a variety of styles, they will have a catalog of footage they can use to repackage if that becomes part of their plan. They could easily get ten or twelve social media videos out of this material, or even more with a slight change of focus. Or a series of very dynamic 30 second PSAs (For this reason I made sure all the footage matched broadcast TV specs).

Whenever I am in the pre-production phase of a project of this kind, I always emphasize getting as much “evergreen” footage as we can. To this end, I can tailor the camera work to serve different purposes, so rather than limiting ourselves to a specific shot list we can capture video that can serve stories we may not even know we are going to tell yet. Sure, it’s a little more work on the front end, but it is a great ROI for everyone in the end.

Finally, as I have covered several years of this residency, there is also a visual archive of the development of the program, something which can be crucial as the team looks ahead to future development or fundraising work. Until time travel is readily available, this sort of future proofing can be crucial for the lean world of non-profits and arts organizations.

Does the sound like something that might work for your organization? Drop me an email and let’s chat about ways we can make the most effective use of your video production budget.

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TWVS: MN Video Production + Content Creation