About a month ago, Alex Bond, the son of a good friend, asked for some help making a video.  He was applying to a scholarship competition run by Dr Pepper and one of the requirements was to make a short video showing what he would do with the scholarship money.  The video had to meet the following requirements:

  1. It had to present the subject and what he would do with the money.
  2. It could be at most one minute long.
  3. It could not show any trademarks except for Dr Pepper.
  4. It did not have to show Dr Pepper, but that would be a plus.

Alex is an art student, so the video had to be focused on his art.

I went to Alex’s house on a Sunday morning.  We talked a little about what he had in mind for a story.  He had some ideas, but they were a bit vague and, I though, hard to do in a minute.  Further, I thought there might be some problems filming them as described.  But with a little discussion, we settled on a basic story for the video.  We then did some filming, and I later edited a version together.

Here’s the version that I put together:

This was especially interesting because it was the first time I worked with a client.  This was Alex’s video, and he had the final say in creative choices. For example, he had a different idea for the ending. We filmed both endings, and this is his:

I believe he also ended up submitting a slightly edited version of this second video, though I haven’t seen the final yet.

A few things that I think really worked:

  • The use of the Dr Pepper bottles, both the one that Alex drinks from as well as the one used as a water cup for his brushes.
  • I particularly liked the way that we used the 2 liter Dr Pepper to represent the passage of time.
  • I liked the way the paintings in the background (all of which were Alex’s work) reflected what was going on in the story.
  • Working with Alex and his family was a pleasure.  No surprise there – they are all good people.

A few challenges:

  • Neither Alex nor his brother Greg (the other guy in the video) are actors.  Greg in particular was uncomfortable in front of the camera.  He took some coaxing to get the desired performance out of him.
  • As I mentioned, Alex had a different vision of this than I did.  We got to agreement pretty quickly, but this was really the first thing I’ve directed where my creative decision was not final.

I can really only point to one mistake/lesson learned on this: I did not read all the rules of the competition before we made the video.  Big mistake: there were a couple places where I had to do some awkward editing largely because we had put things in that were against the rules.  For example, there was a rule that nobody’s full name get mentioned.  In the original, Alex starts by saying, “My name is Alex Bond.”  That required some audio editing to get rid of the “Bond,” and the edited version sounds awkward.  (Happily, the music largely covers the awkwardness.)

A good experience – and I’m proud of what we put together.