I should mention here that some of the work I was doing in Chad has now started to go live. The audience for this particular execution (below) is those watching faith channels on TV, particularly Evangelical Christians. After much discussion with the 11 London team with Tearfund I came up with the positioning Give Like Jesus, and evolved the questioning format that poses the thought “Would Jesus…” I wrote the initial script for this advert, however, as it became a very collaborative process and I cannot take credit for the final wording.
The filming was done by Brad Bell, with Tearfund’s Steve Adams and 11 London’s MD Matt Hunt doing the drone shots, which Brad incorporated. Before I went to Chad I imagined (from the comfort of my Brighton office) a shot that would dive down from the sky onto an isolated village, thinking this would enable us to show the lack of infrastructure and support for these people living with the consequences of terrible drought. I also liked the way it focuses attention from a vast landscape down to the detail of lives lived there.
I call this approach Helicopter territory. A film director will fill the screen with an actor’s face in close up when the story requires us to see things from that actor’s perspective. Think of Janet Leigh in the Psycho shower scene, and we are left in no doubt that that the actor’s thoughts and expressions are important to the story. In this advert we come in from afar so we can see the context. By locating and locking onto an individual, however, we pin the landscape and its drought to an individual. And when that person is vulnerable, and immediately relatable, we have taken a big step towards bringing the subject to life.
Even in Chad, this shot proved fairly simple to achieve with a drone camera. The shot had to be done in reverse, with the drone hovering in front of the child, before climbing into the sky. I think the results are excellent.
I sincerely hope that Tearfund is successful with its campaign to raise money for those people we met in Chad and others like them who have been affected by erratic rainfall across the Sahel region of Africa.