FYI team member Nigel Evans stood as an independent candidate in the recent council elections and made this video for his campaign. It got over 11,000 views on various platforms, helped by PR and comms professional friends with big online followings and connections, who liked it and championed it.(and thank you!) All sharing was organic and unpaid for.
The video even ended up in The Times political online stream http://nuk-tnl-deck-email.s3.amazonaws.com/2/9b1fc5df81cadf52164c02bf92678f95.html and on Wales Online.
I ask Nigel about his thinking behind the video and at the end of our chat, try and draw some useful conclusions:
How did you get the idea for your video?
The video was partially pastiche - there was a Bob Dylan film from the 60s made for his song Subterranean Homesick Blues, where he had a number of cards with words on. That was shamelessly plundered for the 'Use Your Vote' video, using local election issues like rubbish and parking instead of lyrics.
I framed the shot to replicate Bob's video as I thought it was iconic. The rest of the video was lip-synching in locations around Brecon and street shots filmed from a car. The black and white is timeless but also fits in with the original Dylan idea.
What technical expertise do you need and what equipment do you use?
The main expertise anyone really needs to make a video is to turn up on the day. I made a feature film called Greed last year, using a £350 Canon camera, a couple of £10 mechanic lights and a free download editing programme called Lightworks (www.lwks.com). You can do a lot with a DSLR camera but also smartphones take amazing footage these days.
Quite a lot of scenes from Searching For Sugar Man were shot on an iPhone using a £1.99 app called 8mm Vintage Camera. With YouTube, anyone can become an expert film maker. Websites like Tips For Indie Filmmakers (www.indiefilmto.com) and Raindance Zero Budget Filmmaking Tips (www.raindance.org) spill the beans on all the best filmmaking hacks (there are hundreds of Lightworks tutorials online too).
Use Your Vote was filmed to a pre-recorded soundtrack (using Cubase Artist) but on location sound is best recorded with an external mic - I use a Rode Videomic for dialogue etc which cost about £100.
What lessons could small enterprises and campaigning non-profits learn from your experience?
Get out there and do it. Planning a rough storyboard can be useful but some things you just can't plan. The girl at the end of Use Your Vote is a friend who just happened to be walking through town on the day of filming. Keep the camera rolling.
Also, edit on the day you film. It keeps things spontaneous and fresh. Don't labour over the edit for days, there's always something you could have done or edited better. Don't stress about it, get it finished quickly.
Use social media wisely. You can reach thousands of people (Use Your Vote got in excess of 11k views).
Load your film directly to Facebook and encourage people to like and share. Load it to YouTube as well - have the url handy for people who request it, like online newspapers and people who don't do Facebook. Keep your film short - Use Your Vote was 2 minutes long. Think outside the box - you need a memorable visual hook. The most bizarre things go viral.
Thanks Nige... For any creators of online content, worth noting here that Nige combined the familiar and the novel in this idea - Bob Dylan busking with a campaign song, rather than a spoken rant. It's fun and funny. And regardless of your own political persuasion, those of you kind enough to share this, did so out of appreciation of what's original and human...
On twitter, in chat led by @helreynolds, @admpstr contributed this election gem from the US: