Who Pays the Price? Behind the Video Marketing Campaign
We were approached by Barrow-in-Furness’ Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership to create an online video marketing campaign that would educate adults about the consequences of giving alcohol to underage teenagers. A problem that is made worse because of the holiday season.
We outlined four video episodes, each showing a possible consequence of a typical ‘proxy sale’, that would be published once a week over December and January. The problem common to each video was how to ensure that the message of the video would end with the proxy sale when it is the first thing to happen in the chain of events.
This was complicated by our research that found campaigns that had a strong emotional ending were not as effective as those that posed a question at the end.
So we decided to tell the story in reverse. The video would kick off with the consequence, a compelling moment of drama that would pose a question of ‘how did this happen?’ To drive home the message we decided to ensure that the adult who provided the alcohol in the first place was present for the consequence. Rather than preach a message we decided to simply focus on an expression of guilt/ uncertainty that would match between the opening shot and the end shot.
The One With The Violence
Alcohol fueled violence is a problem, regardless of age. With this video we wanted to look at the consequence of a passerby agreeing to buy alcohol to underage teens when approached on the street.
I used to work in an off license at University and came across this problem a great deal. A group of young people would gather around the corner and ask pedestrians to buy alcohol for them. The majority of people would say no but it only takes one person, intimidated by numbers, believing the sob story or just making a bad choice for alcohol to get in the hands of underage teenagers.
The Video Marketing Script
We first created a timeline in the right order. When messing with narrative order its always best to do this first.
- A group of teenagers gather and pool money together. One of them encourage the female to approach a passerby. The passerby has a moment of doubt but agrees, buying a bottle of cider for the young people. Once he has handed it over he has a moment of worry that he has done the right thing. By that time the teenagers have scarpered.
- The group hangs out on bench, taking turns to drink from the bottle of cider. One of them gets a text about a party, a little cross over with the other episodes.
- The group is on the way to the party, quite loud and obviously drunk. They pass a girl who stumbles and falls into one of the boys. He catches her and sets her on her way but his girlfriend takes issue and chases the girl down the street.
- The CCTV office picks up the fight.
- The passerby walks past the police arresting the group of teenagers, seeing the young girl being helped. He realises that the group of teenagers is the same one he provided alcohol to.
We then put the scenes in reverse order.
This script was quite a difficult one to schedule as it covered several different locations at different times of the day. On the second day of filming we started in Ulverston in the morning, covering the proxy sale and the drinking scenes.
It wasn’t until six hours later we could shoot the evening scenes with the help of the police, who advised on the proper procedure for breaking up a drunken fight.
Probably the most challenging aspect of this shoot was to choreograph and run the set from the CCTV office. In order to get the look right for the fight scene we were kindly given permission to use the actual CCTV footage that was being recorded. Amanda was on location, staging the fight (in a bright yellow hi-vis jacket to ensure we could spot her if she crept into shot at any point) whilst we filmed the CCTV office scenes.
Once we were ready I had to remotely direct the actors via mobile phone and Amanda. Everything went smoothy except for:
- It was at the moment of calling action that cars, bikes and passerby’s needed to get through the area of the fight.
- The CCTV camera are VERY powerful, I had to tell the actors we could see them smiling. Fortunately this was just nerves and they quickly found their focus
One thing I thought was really cool was the fact that a car passes just as one of the boys ‘kick’s the young girl at 0:49, it just adds something that makes it feel real. Totally an accident but thank you passing car!
Editing the footage was fairly simple as it was a case of constructing the scenes we had planned out and tightening them up to flow together well. This episode needed some colour correction to ensure that the light remained as constant as possible. There is a slight continuity problem as light was fading fast. Check out the lights from the restaurant at 0.53… after the cut at 0.55 when the girl stumbles into the boy you can see the restaurant lights are now on!
The other element that needed some attention was the passerby’s walk past the police scene. He needed to look at the young girl who had been attacked, he needed to look to see one of the teenagers be restrained and then into the back of the police van to see the other teenagers. Then he needed to walk into shot to give his expression.
This was broken down into several different shots. First we filmed the passerby walking and then noticing. We then moved on to film each of the elements he is looking at, the young girl, the police and the teenagers in the back of the van. The camera took the place of the passerby, shooting from his point of view.
The shot where he is looking at the young girl at 0.09 was done after the actress playing the young girl had left… he is actually looking at space!
The shadow that crosses the police at 0.15 is actually the camera operator and not the actor!
If you look in the reflection of the police van at 0.21 you can make out the boom swinger holding the sound boom!
In order to ensure that the narrative was understood to be running backwards we used a visual technique.
Visually where the scene move backwards and there could be some confusion we used an ‘Additive Dissolve’. This is where the white in the scene flares up before dissolving into the next scene, coupled with this was a rushing sound effect to convey the movement.