Making a High-Impact Public Service Announcement on a Shoestring Budget
One of the things I've enjoyed most about my pro-bono work with the new Ballet Nebraska company is their leadership's willingness to improvise and experiment.
For example, when their director sent me a late-night email asking if I thought it would be feasible to make a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) to promote the company's upcoming premiere season, I had to say no. I've produced television "spots" before, and I know how much detail goes into even the simplest-looking one. Being new, the company had no broadcast-quality video of its productions... and since there was practically no budget for this project, it would be out of the question to hire a crew, rent a studio, and shoot some dramatic dance action.
But after sending off the email, I went to bed... and when I woke up the next morning, I had an idea in my head that the company could do. My idea -- I called it "Get Ready" -- was to build up the spot out of extreme close-ups -- which would both add visual impact and eliminate the need for a spacious video studio.
To build interest, we wouldn't start right out revealing that the spot was for a ballet performance; instead, we'd show an attractive couple primping and preparing for something... a date? an encounter?... and reveal only gradually that they actually were ballet dancers getting ready for a performance.
To get the idea across, I scribbled out some storyboards in Adobe Photoshop, and emailed them to the artistic director. Her reply: "Let's do it!"