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WITNESS Guide to Video Advocacy Part 1: Before Filming

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WITNESS. See it. Film it. Change it. Your watching the before filming section of the WITNESS video advocacy toolkit. Before you start filming make sure video is the right choice to get the word out because you, your organization, friends, and the people you film all face potential risks. Assess the risk. Risks occur when you film, when you edit, and when you distribute. What is an advocacy video? Have a goal in mind. You may plan it, or sometimes you will just be in the wrong place at the right time and witness something. To have the most impact with your video focus on two things. Do you have a clear specific goal for change. and a defined audience that can help you achieve it. Your audience can be large or small. Once you have made your video, how can you place it in front of the right viewers at the right time? Timing is everything. Organize a day of action and mobilize a worldwide community of support online to take action, or put your video in front of a judge who is deciding a key case, or a policy maker about to vote on legislation. What do you want your audience to do? Make sure to have a message for your audience. It helps to have a direct, concrete request for action underlining your video. Try expressing this as a sentence with an action verb. "STOP Discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS" “FREE Political Prisoners” “PASS Legislation to prevent toxic pollution” What is the best way to convey your message to your audience? The story you tell, the images you choose, the people who speak out, is a vehicle to communicate your message so pick a focus for your video. A story that is emotional and persuasive and well grounded in strong personal experience as well as a specific time and place. People we care about. Many advocacy videos include powerful accurate facts and context setting footage to help viewers understand the issue. The most successful, also have people in them who resonate with their audience. So let the individuals affected by an issue talk about it rather than explaining it on their behalf. Make sure they express what they want to see different. Engage your audience to action. Successful advocacy films get the audience to take action. Make your audience feel included, engaged, shamed, motivated, hopeful, or outraged. Then give them clear options for what they can do next. Video is just a part of your campaign. Make sure your video goes hand in hand with other ways to mobilize and communicate. Such as organizing people to take action or lobbying, report writing and legal cases. Online, give context in the video and surrounding web pages and provide ways for your viewers to act either online or offline. Go for informed consent. Try to ensure that the people you film give informed consent. This means that they understand the risks and benefits of being filmed, make a choice to be filmed, and tell you if they need to have their identity concealed. You may want to talk them through potential worst case scenarios, such as what happens when their oppressor sees the video. Now get ready to film. You don't need much equipment: a cellphone, a video camera a still camera with a video function but you do need to be prepared. So make a plan. What’s your story? How do you want to tell it? Where? When? Who are you filming? And who can help you? And remember, keep your goal, message and audience in mind.

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 43 seconds
Year: 2008
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: WITNESS + Magic Lantern Productions
Director: WITNESS
Views: 847
Posted by: ryanschlief on Feb 20, 2009

This part of the WITNESS Guide to Video Advocacy tells you how to prepare to create video for human rights advocacy. It covers: how to assess risks; how to plan for success; and how to secure informed consent. This is followed by 3 further short videos: Filming, part 1; Filming, part 2; and After Filming.

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