4 votes

Congress Shall Pass No Laws

An educational piece I put together with Jacqueline Smith is he running against Rob Bishop in Utah's 1st Congressional District. Looking for feedback on this first video and don't hold back, I can take it. I'm a f*#%ing Marine.


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Okay on a second viewing, here's a few more things I noticed:

The intro graphic flies by WAY to quickly. I could barely read it. (and I really only guess at it, since I already knew the title via YouTube.) I don't think the "paid for" amount of time will cut it. Laws may vary by state, though Congressional races may be covered by Federal law. I think the required time is 4 seconds. Be sure to verify this so you don't run afoul of any laws. Ask a TV station. They all know the rules.

On that note, many local stations will produce commercials for you, some at little or even no charge. (you have to buy the ad time from them of course)

Otherwise, check with a local university. You may find some film students that can help as well and even snag you some fly equipment or use of professional video editing equipment.

#2 - Ms. Smith needs a hairdo. Seriously, go spend some money on something other than the "doing laundry" look. That isn't to knock Ms. Smith, it's to emphasize the impression given is NOT good. It doesn't have to break the bank, but some attention is needed there.

#3 - The shot needs to be panned out a bit. You're using a symmetrical background with 1/3 or more of it cut off and off camera. I'd either opt for a simple office setting, (think of something you'd see in a lawyer's office) or a simple backdrop. The focus should be on the candidate and secondarily on the framed Constitution. (which better lighting should accentuate both) But the present backdrop seems duplicative of the smaller framed item and almost busy in a bad way. (also the camera angle seems a little odd all the way around) To convey trust for voters, a straight on look in the camera eye contact is best.

#4 - I'd drop the man in the poster. It makes her look like she's tagging along or not able to represent the district on her own. I'd say a better option would be to have her in the same gait as Mr. Smith, but all by herself.

#5 - the final graphic like the opening one is way too busy and not necessary. Simply fade into the poster, zoom out to show the whole thing, and put the paid for message at the bottom. (no need for it at the front unless state law requires it) Also, this forces you to show the text on the poster longer. It isn't there long enough to read even half of it.

#6 - if you don't have time for the 4 second required disclaimer and to show the poster text, shorten the speech. No other choice. I'm not sure what I'd cut out, but something might have to go. Practicing the commercial will help. I noticed she burnt a second or two on pauses.

Please don't take any of this the wrong way. I've done this before for a local candidate and we made all these same mistakes. I also know people who've done many commercials for local businesses, and that's where I've gotten some of these tips from. Just trying to help.

edit: I see now this won't be on TV. I don't think a disclaimer is required in such case. Not sure though. However, you should have no time restriction since it's on the net and not paid for TV slots.

Thanks again for the

Thanks again for the criticism and I know it's given with good intention. I'm meeting with a fashion consultant tomorrow to get some ideas about hair and clothing. See if we can bring her image up a bit. I also really like the idea of hitting up the university film students and getting them involved. We are working with the some of the younger Ron Paul kids here in Utah, so I doubt this will be a problem. Anyway, thanks again for putting the time in to help out.

Here's some constructive criticism for you.

#1 - kudos for tackling this head on. Most candidates shy away for fear of turning off voters.

#2 - If you do nothing else, put a mic ON YOU. The results will be amazing. It isn't the worst "tin can" sounding video I've seen (I've done worse myself) but it is distracting and doesn't look professional. You can get a relatively cheap mic but put it ON you. Clip it to your jacket or something. Do NOT use the camera mic or a slightly off camera mic. It's too far away and the room acoustics will kill you.

#3 - Find a professional photographer to offer you tips and pointers on how to adjust your lighting. It's way too harsh, especially on the smaller Constitution. (You as well) Better lighting will make a world of difference. You don't need more expensive, just properly placed and the proper wattage. (My dad's a photographer, so I'm sensitive to this sort of thing, maybe I'll see if he can watch it and offer some pointers)

#4 - Use cue cards. Get some cheap posters, write down the script in neat handwriting, and practice it 10-20 times. Read it during the taping. Do not try to remember it. You are far enough away, and with glasses on, no one could see your eyes if you were really reading something.

#5 - The music at the end is a bit too loud and assaulting on the ears compared to your speaking. Perhaps fade it in at the end rather than just popping on, and not so loud.

#6 - Instead of panning down on the poster (nice graphic by the way) I'd zoom out from the head down. It might be a better idea to scan it if it isn't already in digital form, and then add it with a video editor. If you have a Mac, iMovie can do this easily, if not there are plenty of free open source video editors that should be able to accomplish this. (not sure if MS Movie Maker has that ability) This will give a cleaner look to the poster, and it won't look "filmed." (which it obviously is)

#7 - awesome slogan. I love it!

hope that helps!!

edit: sorry, just reread the OP and realized YOU aren't the candidate. But you get the idea anyway.

Thank you Samadamscw for the

Thank you Samadamscw for the nice critic. Those are very helpful comments and I'm going to work on all of them. Well, except the panning of the poster, because believe it or not, that is digital and was done via iMovie on a mac. I'll hunt down a mic tomorrow.

Interesting on the poster.

Maybe a zoom out and allowing more time to read the text might help remove the effect I was seeing.

Regardless, nice job.

Glad to help out.

Fine and accurate assessment of the lack of due diligence

in congress.
She comes across as sincere and likable.
But the picture of her face at end where she is wearing the white suit...well, that is not a flattering picture of her face. In fact it's gnarly and should NOT be used to show the public.

A patriot must always be prepared to defend his country from his government.

It's pretty good.

Is it meant for TV? If it is for TV, the sound is kinda weird. That and the art work at the end needs brighter colors. Good for your first try!

No, this will in no way be

No, this will in no way be going on television. If we were to to that direction, we would hire a professional. This is just me trying to get some daily pieces out there on the net. Thanks for the input though Ralph.

That's a different story then.

All of my suggestions were presuming a for TV production.

Don't sell yourself short. Minor changes will make a big difference.

I like the general idea. Will she be doing more of these on other topics?