Portland State University political science professor emeritus Ralph Bunch wrote a 40-page self-published pamphlet outlining his idea for an Oregon ballot initiative idea he named "Universal Suffrage." Having had difficulty convincing influential figures in political office, the press, and academia to read this pamphlet, Ralph came to me looking for suggestions on how to package the concept in a more easily digestible form.
To this end, I presented Ralph with a detailed description of the various means for reaching people on the internet, and we mutually decided on YouTube as the medium for delivering his message. Ralph quickly drew up a rough draft script for the video, and on reading it I realized it would not only be difficult and time-consuming for him to memorize the script verbatim, the resultant recitation would be stiff and dry.
I then devised a strategy for overcoming this challenge: instead of filming Ralph reading from a script, I would read all of Ralph's writings on his "Universal Suffrage" concept and devise a large number of questions I could ask him on camera which would spur Ralph to spontaneously deliver all of the information he wanted in the video. (We did, however, keep a short script reading near the beginning, in which Ralph very eloquently described the political experience which qualified him to make such an unconventional political proposal.)
I had no crew, so on the day of filming I single-handedly hauled to Ralph's home two video cameras and tripods, a set of studio lighting equipment, a lapel microphone, and various other digital audio recording equipment connected to a laptop, and operated them all myself. After the day's shoot, I returned home and used Apple Final Cut Pro X to combine and synchronize the digital audio from the lapel microphone with the video from the cameras. I then edited that footage into clips based on topics, and rearranged those to best tell the story of Universal Suffrage. In between these sections, I placed buffer transitions accompanied by small excerpts from a beautiful viola composition by Ralph's violist/composer son Kenji Bunch. I then scanned personal photographs from Ralph's life and used Final Cut Pro X to animate photo transitions on screen to accompany Ralph's reading of his life story. After adding an end credits sequence, I encoded the completed video with Apple Compressor 4 and uploaded it to YouTube, where I added a selection of YouTube search keywords brainstormed with Ralph to draw viewers. At this point, Ralph discovered he had a small fact wrong in a political example he gave in the video, so I went back and re-edited the clip to work around this mistake while keeping as much of the surrounding footage as possible. Finally, several months later, Ralph self-published a political poetry book, and I created a still advertisement and reuploaded the video once more with this ad inserted at the end of the closing credits.
Working with Ralph on this project was a pleasure, and I learned a lot from his eloquent writings and the life stories he shared in brainstorming sessions we conducted over coffee in his home and beer at a local brewpub! When the project was complete, Ralph wrote me a lovely recommendation (edited here for length):
"I am an 87-year-old ambitious computer illiterate who, in the last four years, has published three books and appears on a 15-minute political YouTube video. None of this would have been possible without the professional effort and advice of Jeremy Pinkham. I had the content in mind; Jeremy immediately understood my needs in presenting the material and offered several alternatives, letting me choose the means with which I felt most comfortable. As each project developed, he was forthright with criticism that was always perceptive and exceedingly helpful. I am very impressed with his low-key directions and his sophistication about content and how it will appear to an audience. [...] Jeremy [...] did the layout of my 210-page autobiography, A REBEL’S RUBA’IYAT, and created its very attractive cover design. The YouTube video was his creation. I hadn’t the vaguest idea of how to present a political idea, except to write an essay about it. [...] He devised a series of questions, advised me about presentation, and did all the technical matters of filming, editing, sequencing, adding my composer son’s music, and creating a compelling film of 15½ minutes. [...] Besides being easy to work with, he has initiative in sensing what needs to be done and doing it without oversight; he is a willing to put in the hard detail work of studying the subject and offering appropriate options. We worked as colleagues, and his contribution was critical to any success my work has."