Client: Make-A-Wish Foundation
Awards: 2016 Emmy Award for Short Format Program, Silver Telly Award for Online Video: Fundraising, 2016 Webby Honoree for Online Film/Video: Sports
Each year, Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic holds a fundraising gala in the Washington, D.C. metro area. They were interested in creating impactful documentary video content about their work to debut at the gala, and approached Green Buzz Agency with the idea to film the wish of one kid who wanted to be a Washington Wizard for a day. By following him through his wish experience, Make-A-Wish hoped that the GBA team would capture what a wish can do for a child and his family.
While the story itself was straightforward, GBA knew that there would be many obstacles to making sure the right moments were captured. It would be difficult to get access to the right people and the right locations in an NBA pregame environment, and the right people needed to be in the right place at the right time to stay one step ahead of the wish experience and truly capture the moment. Plus, audio would be challenging in a changing environment with lots of people coming and going throughout the day. With only one chance to get it right, GBA knew it would be a tough assignment.
The team’s strategy began in the pre-production phase. One of GBA’s producers and GBA’s director of photography had worked in the video department at the Washington Wizards and were familiar with the schedule of game day and the layout of the arena, which was highly advantageous in planning the shoot logistics and providing shot direction. Knowing that the day could be grueling for a kid with cancer, GBA planned to incorporate existing b-roll into the final video so as to reduce the camera time required of the wish recipient. Between family photos, Wizards game footage, and medical imaging, GBA was able to use more than just the day of the wish to tell the story.
During production, GBA put its interviewing skills to the test to tactfully elicit soundbites from the wish recipient and his family about the day that he found out he was diagnosed with cancer. Over the course of the interviews, GBA was able to build a relationship with the family so that they were comfortable discussing sensitive and personal experiences on camera, and so that they were comfortable enjoying the wish day while the camera crew was around.
The story of the wish and the impact wishes can have on children and their families really came together in postproduction. Our producer and editor worked to create an attention grabbing introduction that doesn’t follow the formula of tear-jerking storytelling. Not everyone goes through what the wish family went through, and audio and visual elements added in post-production helped put the audience in the right frame of mind. By placing an importance on sound and sound effects, GBA enhanced the audience experience of the family’s story.
Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic was thrilled with the final documentary. At the previous year’s gala, Make-A-Wish raised $420,000. The night the video debuted, they raised nearly $700,000. They had never seen so much fundraising success in one night. GBA remains Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic’s partner in all video communication efforts.
The video was awarded an Emmy in 2016 for Short Format Program, named a 2016 Webby Honoree for Online Film/Video: Sports, and received the 2016 Silver Telly Award for Online Video: Fundraising.