Here's a memo from Bob Sipchen and Adrienne Bramhall to Club staff and volunteers on how to request a hot new Sierra Club video.
The Sierra Club has plenty of riveting stories to tell and it’s important that we tell them well. Judging from the number of requests Sierra Club Productions receives these days, none of you need to be told what a powerful communications tool video can be. If this sort of visual storytelling were easy, however, the Academy Awards would be even longer and snores would never be heard during a Sundance screening.
It’s with this challenge in mind that the Communications department has made raising the bar on the quality of all our video efforts a priority goal for the first half of 2011.
Moving forward, we want every video we produce to reach the widest possible audience. The best way to do that is to make sure those viewers want to watch every second of every video, do so, and then hit replay. And then hit replay again. And then share the video with friends. If we’re talking about a captive audience of donors or a house party crowd, we want viewers to watch through to the final frame without fidgeting and then burst into impassioned discussion of what they’ve seen.
To hit these high benchmarks, our videos need to surprise, invigorate, motivate, and inspire as well as inform. We want them to make people laugh, weep, dance, get mad, take action. Want to make a video that’s funny? Edgy? Truly profound? Of course you do. Predictable? Preachy? No way.
Sierra Club Productions’ role is to help staff and volunteers determine when the use of video is likely to be effective and to produce or offer guidance in crafting the finest quality videos at the lowest possible price. In some instances, we can meet your needs by identifying a video that already exists.
To help chapter leaders, volunteers and others working on their own projects, we have bolstered the information that appears on our website. Please view it as an ever-evolving self-help webinar on best practices in the realm of persuasive video, from conception to promotion, with how-to tips on scripting, story-boarding, filming, editing, embedding interactive elements, use of cutting-edge engagement tools, metrics accountability, distribution and publicity.
Videos that aspire to national distribution on the Sierra Club’s official YouTube channel or requiring promotion by the Communications department will, in all but a few rare cases, be created by Sierra Club Productions—perhaps with the help of outside talent. For these, the Club has a more formal but relatively painless process. It’s important to note that at the national level, the Club will not authorize payment for any videos or significant video-related expenditures that have not gone through the Sierra Club Productions process, including legal and contractual vetting, compliance approval and strict quality control.
So. Have a brilliant idea for a video that will change the world (or at least make people giggle and do something significant for our cause)? Click here for the handful of hoops we’ll ask you to jump through and an estimate of what your video will cost to produce.
We look forward to working with you. Please spread the word.
Need help getting started? Call Adrienne at 805.955.9374.
Bob Sipchen and Adrienne Bramhall