I just finished building a little video for my girlfriend Donna, and her eco themed company, Betty Belts- Betty B. The video is a requirement for grant payment in a competition created by US business software company Intuit. We just finalized the piece and Donna managed to get out the door, a bit teary eyed, without actually having to pry my hands off her neck. Yes, we did this together.
I knew going in, that this project, which was to be a summary of her story that won the grant and you can read here, would be difficult. The parameters would be much more narrow than if I were producing a film. To make it fair we would shoot on one camera, use no sound guy and rely on ourselves and friends to assemble a life’s story into ummm, here is the tricky part: four minutes. Oh, and zero budget. (Yea I know all you Indy film makers are laughing right now, going: “What ELSE is new?”. Well F off, I am already IN your club. LOL) The piece needed to follow the storyline on the website, while being creative, educational, inspiring. (Yeaaaaa, riiggghhhht.)
From day one I had called the collaborative effort, my “Four Minutes of Hell ” project. Shot it all in a day. Added some of my stills, scans from her family album, then posted it in Final Cut Pro in the timeline and checked the run time. Ah yes, twelve minutes. (Which needed to become four.) Time to reduct, a process whereby you boil off the liquid and what remains at the end is a semi solid grist of emotion, color, and sound that comprises a screen story. I knew that it would be a difficult thing for Donna to tolerate. As with most business owners, she likes to control all aspects related to her company. Yet she IS her company and the story being about her, well, it passes very close to the heart. Tricky.
Here is part of Donna’s Intuit story in a youtube link. Yes it is meant to make you laugh, and that is Donna in the music video which was filmed in Tenerif. Her music is a two edged aspect which we wanted to communicate in that grant video which Intuit will post in a bit. And yes, we did manage to showcase her musical talents. The song soundtrack in the grant video is from a piece she wrote and performed while in Berlin. It gave the film a fantastic level of subtle personalization. It is the polar opposite of the song in the youtube link, but it hooks you almost as strongly.
By today at project finalization, I figure that there is more time than I care to admit to in this, and zero pay for me. Yet I persisted, having committed.
Writer, blogger, cultural marketing sage, Seth Godin explains why we do things, in an incredible TED Talk HERE. If you have never heard of TED or Seth, do yourself a favor. WATCH it.
The upshot of the Donna video, which is titled Passages, after the story title, is that it has motivated me to do a longer, more detailed version of her life, where I can better and more fully communicate how one person truly can make a positive difference in this world, and how that seed which we plant, will forever bear fruit.
Now you know the answer to the blog title: Why. It is both question and answer in one three letter word.
The stills below are some from the video. Snapshots of Donna’s life and a few of the talented women she collaborates with and supports through her company. She is very brave to bare her life and world in the process of working with me. I do not know that I could do the same were positions reversed. Click on any of the images for a larger view and a back story.