Remember about 20 years ago when we all suddenly got Apple Macs? Suddenly anyone could be a graphic designer! Or, correction: suddenly anyone could be a really terrible designer.
Cut, fade 20 years… and suddenly through our phones, cameras, laptops everyone can be a film-maker. Often, a really bad one.
I watch loads of films and drtv made by charities and their agencies, and lots of them are rather unfit for purpose. So I drew the vastly sophisticated info-graphic below to explain where things go wrong. Rocket science it isn’t. Yet, still so many films fail because they ignore it.
(And I’ve just realised it works for most other forms of fundraising communication too).
Audience: in the middle. Of course. So what do we know about them. Really know. In their extraordinarily busy world, why on earth would they be glad to be interrupted to respond to our film? If you can’t answer that question, don’t make a film.
Inspiration: make this more than a third of the circle. Make it massive. How are you presenting your cause and your case in a way that is truly original? No cliché. No jargon. Pure inspiration. That makes your heart leap. That connects with your guts. Because responding to film or drtv is rarely a rational thing. It’s visceral.
Information: you’ll need some. But frankly not a lot. Remember people act on film instinctively. Rarely rationally. Film and drtv is rarely an opportunity to educate (exceptions, of course); it’s a chance to inspire with dramatic, emotive, compelling content.
Indulgence: try to eradicate this segment! But many films don’t. They are all too often indulgent in two ways.
- First, they are about the organisation instead of about the audience. Often way too long. And written as if they were the printed word not spoken inspiration.
- Second, they designed to win awards rather than move people to act. Often pro bono (and worth what has been paid for them). Often just far too pleased with themselves.
The hand-crafted illustration above won’t solve all your fundraising film ills. But I hope it will help.