We recently produced a video for an organisation called The Counselling Directory to support their ‘breaking the barriers of bullying’ initiative. The purpose of the video, and campaign, is to raise awareness of bullying and how it affects people of all ages, genders, and race; and to encourage victims of bullying to get support.
The key objective of the video was to produce a film that creates an emotive response in viewers. That response could be sympathy, guilt, empathy or even anger – depending on the viewer and their experience.
We wanted people who are suffering from bullying to realise they are not alone and that there’s help available. Those who have been guilty of bullying behaviour to understand the impact of their actions and change their ways. Raise awareness of bullying and how you can help; and for everyone to feel impassioned enough to take a stand by sharing the video, and supporting the campaign.
It’s a big ask in one video to engender such a range of emotions. But video is the only tool that can do this in such as short space of time. To create content that resonates with such a diverse range of people, on so many levels, would take multiple assets in any other medium.
Creating An Emotional Connection In Just 2.24 Minutes
The video is just over 2 minutes, 4 if you want to watch the extended version, but packs a serious punch. At its heart are real life stories from people who have been affected by bullying, and this provides the emotional connection that has resulted in over 250,000 YouTube views since its launch.
However, to convey those stories in such a way that results in this level of engagement requires other key factors. In this case they are:
Script: While the words spoken may be those of a victim of bullying, they had to be edited in a way that conveys the story and message succinctly. Often, fewer words have more resonance. What is left unsaid can be filled in by the viewer creating the desired empathetic response.
Actors: The selection of actors was critical to this project. We needed to reflect a diverse demographic, we needed actors that viewers would identify with – ‘that could be my Granddad / sister / friend’ – and they needed to feel emotionally connected to the stories. If you watch our beyond-the-scenes film you’ll see that just delivering the lines created a very emotional response in one of our actors.
Voiceover: Instead of the actors speaking their lines to the camera, we used voiceovers to convey the sense that bullying is often hidden and that victims suffer in silence. Viewers watch the faces of the actors, and the emotions of their words are reflected in their expressions.
Filming: We wanted to focus in on the stories and not allow any superfluous elements to detract from the emotions being expressed. While some bullying films show action, such as a bullying incident, we wanted viewers to only think about the victims. This decision influences everything from the location (an empty barn), lighting (spotlight), styling (monochrome and minimal), and cinematic techniques.
Of course, there are other elements that all add to the impact this video has, such as the music and graphics (in the form of key statistics and messaging).
One thing we deliberately left out was a voiceover artist joining the dots. We didn’t want another voice telling viewers how to feel or what to do. Instead we want the stories to speak for themselves, and viewers to make that emotional connection without needing any direction.
The apparent simplicity of this video is perhaps what conveys the message most effectively. It’s understated, it doesn’t rage or scream at the viewer. It allows the stories to develop and gives viewers time to think and respond emotionally.
See for yourself…
If you would like to discuss creating awareness raising video content like the example above, please get in touch. Call 01252 717707 or email firstname.lastname@example.org