Each episode in the series would focus on a different topic, highlighting two different people of various backgrounds and opposing views from across the United States. These conversations between the participants would be deep and difficult, sparking strong reactions from the participants and viewers, so the series had to be approached in a compassionate yet authentic way. The goal throughout the series is to facilitate an important conversation to show the real perspectives of Americans on the issues that divide us. The series was rightfully named An Imperfect Union.
In the first episode, we meet Officer Matt Yoder, a 23-year veteran police officer, and Corry Dawkins, a 27 year old with a troubled past. Green Buzz Agency, TEGNA’s external video partner, was excited to help bring this series to life and tell the participants stories in order to open up the dialogue to Americans all over the country.
The nationwide filming of this series made it especially important to capture shots of the participants’ hometowns and background stories, in order to give context to the broad scale of this video series. With fast-paced shoots in these varied locations, the film team had to stay mobile. For this reason, GBA used a lean crew with a shoulder rig and an Easyrig to facilitate swift documentary shooting in a cinema verite style.
Both of the main characters were given an equal amount of camera time in order to accurately capture the opposing and differing views. GBA didn’t force moments in filming; instead, our team gave the characters space to organically get into the debate, allowing them to go deeper into the conversation. An on-camera reporter served as the moderator, stepping in only when necessary to ask questions that shaped the conversation toward the ultimate topic. This approach allowed for an intersection between journalism and documentary.
Post-production was an opportunity for the GBA team to weave the narrative into the final goal. With interview b-roll and existing media assets from the participants themselves, GBA introduced each participant’s background to help tell their stories independently of one another. This editing method helps the viewers understand the participant’s perspectives. When the participants were together, natural soundbites helped provide authenticity during their conversations.
The GBA team also created all graphics for the episode and worked with the composer Breakmaster Cylinder, who is most known for creating the opening and closing theme songs for the popular podcast Reply All, to create an original composition for the series’ title sequence. The music throughout the video helps to evoke emotion from the audience and connects the stories together.
This is one of the first series for Facebook Watch, Facebook’s new video on demand service. The video also received many similar Facebook comments describing the video as moving them to tears by showing this positive and important conversation. An Imperfect Union is a groundbreaking series helping to rethink how people watch video.
Green Buzz Agency is excited to be a part of the production process for An Imperfect Union and is looking forward to contributing to the future of this series.