Problem statement: Edward Kerry is a professional running instructor who lives locally to East Finchley, where Crispy Dog is based. Sadly, Ed’s sister Tracey, passed away in her teenage years from a brain tumour. Ed was running 1200 miles in three weeks, the equivalent of two marathons a day, in order to raise money for the Brain Tumour Charity. He needed a video to promote the campaign online and encourage donations to the Just Giving page.
Requirements: Like the start of any good project, a meeting was held in the pub. This gave the chance to informally discuss with Ed what his goals were for the video and what was most important to him. Ed’s vision was for his challenge not to be presented in a miserable or maudlin fashion, as his sister was a happy and wonderful person. Ed also didn’t want to brag about the mammoth task ahead, or his incredible past accomplishments that prepared him. However, the video needed to get these facts across, be funny and shareable.
Ed: “I was deep in training for a once in a lifetime challenge and wanted to get my story out to potential supporters of an amazing cause. I met the amazing Ian and Crispy Dog team who did something I wouldn’t think possible; they made a very sad and important story come alive and not seem boring or depressing.”
Idea: Our scriptwriter, Nick, came up with the idea of Ed dressing up as an old woman sitting in the park telling a selection of strangers (also all played by Ed) about the run. This would be intercut with images of Ed running in various places, ending with him at his starting point at the Tower of London.
Why this idea works: By dressing up as an old woman Ed could express all the information about his run without it appearing self-aggrandising. Through green screen and shooting outdoors the video could be visually interesting without being costly. There was room for humour in the exaggerated characters and the power of green screen to show any background (even Super Mario).
Ed: “By using creative ideas Crispy Dog made one of the best promotional videos I have ever seen. It was light hearted and impactful. They were highly professional, reliable and simply amazing. It was a tough subject to talk about and, although light hearted, the video still respected the loss of my sister and the importance of the cause.”
Preparation: A short script was written and sent to Ed for comments over multiple drafts. It was important that Ed was happy with the tone of the video and the different characters he was to play. Costumes were acquired and brief location scouting found a quiet park bench.
The shoot: To film the park bench scenes two cameras were locked into fixed positions and a dividing line on the bench was chosen. This was vital for creating the illusion of Ed talking to himself. Shooting outdoors light levels vary throughout the day causing issues for matching shots. To avoid this the shoot was kept to just a few hours on a day when there was a steady flat light. Ed was made to feel comfortable and relaxed on set with our apprentice standing in for the other characters. As Ed’s baby and dog were available we took the opportunity to work with both children and animals in the same shoot. We shot the green screen at our studio and a location shoot took place at the Tower of London, the start of Ed’s run. All shooting was completed in one day.
Ed: “The planning and creative element was done to perfection and this in turn made the rest of the process seamless.”
The edit: Using Final Cut the bench scenes were overlayed on top of each other, and the join made invisible through masking. To keep costs low, free music was sampled from the Youtube Audio Library and used to set the pace of the cutting. All fat was trimmed to create a snappy 78 second video from a whole day of shooting.
Reception: Ed shared the video on Facebook where it was viewed almost seven thousand times. The video was shot for a very low budget, created in just a few days and yet drove a further 12K in donations. The video also created a buzz around the community with various local groups commenting on it and raising further awareness of Ed’s cause.
Ed: “I can’t thank Ian and the Crispy Dog team enough for the time and effort they put into helping me raise an incredible £34,500 for the Brain Tumour Charity. It’s rare to find a company that can deliver to every aspect of a brief and I can honestly say Crispy Dog did this and more.”