Archive for the ‘1: Plan’ Category

Finalize Your Video Advocacy Plan

August 21, 2009 4 comments

The WITNESS Video Action Plan (VAP) is a questionnaire designed to assist our partners in developing a comprehensive plan to integrate video into their human rights advocacy.  We provide two versions here, one formatted for use by our partners, which is a more in-depth plan, and another version for more general usage.

Download the Video Action Plan:
pdf VAP for WITNESS Partners
pdf VAP for Non-Partners

What Next? Choosing Your Equipment


Creative Commons 101 (and Why It Is Fantastic)

Creative Commons (CC), generally speaking, is much easier and safer to use than traditional copyrighted material.  Basically, there are licenses that the creators of the content choose that let you know the ways in which you may use their material – some just want credit while others prohibit any use for profit (see below for the full breakdown).   If you’re looking for CC material, just use their user-friendly search function. For more tips on using free video content, look at the section on finding and playing video from Tactical Technology Collective’s Message in a Box toolkit.

Top 5 tips on Creative Commons

  1. Creative Commons allows creators to state clearly, safely, and legally how they will allow their work to be used.
  2. There are various levels of CC license, from “Attribute” (most permissive) to “NonCommercial-NoDerivatives.”
  3. To select your license, click here.
  4. If someone else’s work is marked with a CC license, you can use it without asking them just by following the conditions linked to by the license itself.
  5. CC licensing is permanent and irrevocable.

The above tips, and the handy explanations of the abbreviations used in CC licenses, are courtesy of Make Internet TV.


Attribution (BY)

Attribution is the basic component of all CC licenses and merely requires anyone using, sharing, or re-mixing your videos to give you credit in the way in which you specify.

Share Alike

ShareAlike (SA)

ShareAlike licenses requires that if a person modifies your video, they must share the resulting media under the exact same CC license. This is license is great because it encourages people to use your videos and to share their work in the same capacity!


Non-Commercial (NC)

Adding the non-commercial stipulation means that a person can’t sell your videos or any resulting media that incorporates your work. This might discourage websites using Google Adsense from featuring your videos, and can discourage others from further reusing your work.

No Derivatives

NoDerivatives (ND)

NoDerivatives restricts people from modifying your work. Be aware that NoDerivatives very much limits what people can do with your work downstream and will discourage people from reusing your work creatively. Mashups are a great example of how video and culture can be remixed and refined (example of mashup, Girl Talk Video). Despite this, you may want to consider NoDerivatives licenses if you are making video that contains footage you don’t want remixed, such as interviews or other sensitive content.

What Next? Finalize Your Video Action Plan

10 Questions You Should Be Able to Answer Before You Film

August 20, 2009 2 comments

Though you may be excited and feel ready to start filming and getting the content you want, here are 10 key questions that you should be able to answer before you even pick up a camera. 

  1. Who has the power to create the change you want? (This is your primary audience.)
  2. Do you have access to this primary audience?
  3. If not, do you need to engage allies or an intermediary who has access (eg: a person who knows the person or organization you want to reach)?
  4. What do you want your audience to do?
  5. What will convince them to take action?
  6. What will be appealing, persuasive or interesting to your audience (i.e.: factual information, potential people who can be interviewed or featured in your video, any experts you may want to include on the video or in accompanying material)?
  7. Who will your audience listen to – and why? (This should be the messenger [or messengers] in your video.)
  8. How will your video be integrated into your campaign or advocacy plan?
  9. When should your audience see your video?
  10. What is your distribution plan to ensure your audience sees your video? (See Section 5 to learn more)


Be very clear at the beginning of your advocacy plan who the target or primary audience is for your video.  Though you can have more than one audience, the primary audience should be the person or persons that have the power to create the change you want to see.  Though this is often an elected official or representative of an organization, it can also be citizens you are trying to engage to get involved to help strengthen your advocacy work.   For each audience, you will want to chose the best message and messengers to move the audience to action.  Moreover, some of the most successful advocacy plans have multiple audiences at the same time, or they target different audiences, one after the other, using a variety of materials for different settings.  Analyze your situation carefully to design the best plan of action to support your advocacy.

What Next? Research to Know What is Out There

Plan Your Video

August 14, 2009 2 comments

[note: this and the outline are a bit of the same, need to find optimal path for users on this]

Step 1:  Write a ‘guiding paragraph’

Take time to write a description of the story and what viewers will see in your video.  This should not be a summary of the video’s message or an analysis, but a description of how you visualize the story unfolding.  This can also incorporate the style and feel of the video – for example, If you are looking for a fast MTV-like feel or a more slow-paced story, or a series of stark images interspersed with title-cards.  An example below is a description of a story on internally displaced people in Burma.

Think visually and verbally – every word should describe something you see in the video.  If you are producing a series of video, discuss with your facilitator how to consider how elements of your story will be conveyed through the series of videos.


Step 2:  Finalize Your Messages

List out the most important messages for your audience and put them in order of importance.  Remember, this should be a list of messages that you will be able to convey in your video with interviews, testimony and b-roll images and audio.  Think big, but be realistic.

Step 3:  Choose Your Messengers

Among the messages you identified that will best move your audience to the action you want, who can tell your story most compellingly for your audience?

Remember that compelling and memorable individual, personal stories are part of most powerful videos and stories, and that an “expert” interview may give credibility and help elaborate nuanced legal or policy obligations.  You may consider how you would tell “both sides of the story” or explain why this is infeasible or ill advised.   Consider that ‘who’ tells the story can also include the narrator – you can read more about narration here.

Step 4:  Choose Your Audiovisual Content

What are the video, images and audio that can best support your video to move your audience to action?  Write a create a wish-list of content and prioritize it, accounting for what you may already have or have access to easily, what content you’ll have to shoot yourself and what archival content you may want to find.

Step 5:  Create a Video Outline

Welcome to the Online Video Advocacy Training Resource Epicenter of Your Dreams!

Video advocacy: using video to campaign for action

What are the similarities and differences between regular film-making and ‘video advocacy”? Both regular filmmaking and advocacy-filmmaking draw on power of clear and engaging stories that intrigue and interest their audience.   The differences come down to why you make the film and how you intend to use it.

When we say ‘advocacy’ we are talking about a process to bring about change in policies, law or people’s behavior.  So, video advocacy is about using visual media as a targeted tool that will engage people to create change.  Video advocacy is optimally used together with other advocacy activities, such as press conferences, newsletters, brochures, lobbying (a focused effort to have government authorities or elected officials take some action that you want them to take), etc.

Categories: 1: Plan

Setting SMART Objectives

August 13, 2009 2 comments

A helpful way to think about your campaign and the added value of video is to see whether your goals and objectives are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.  It’s also essential to think about your audience in the same way – be as focused and specific as you can about who they are, and work out if, when and how you can reach them.

SMART objectives should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Here are examples of some non-SMART objectives and how to make them ‘SMART-er

  • NOT Specific Empower students to do environmental accountability research in Brazil
  • Specific Provide technological support to Brazilian film students to help     document corporate violations of environmental laws in south and southeast Brazil and place this evidence before national stakeholders including …
  • NOT Measurable: The video screening should evoke more uplifting responses from the public.
  • Measurable: The video screening will secure a 15% increase in participation in local community dialogues in this location over the next six months
  • NOT Achievable: The video will make officials act to push for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Achievable: During our advocacy briefing, we will provide a video report with accompanying recommendations for interim steps to support the upcoming legislative debate on ratification
  • NOT Realistic: Attendance at  our video events will  quadruple last year’s attendance.
  • Realistic We should aim for a 5% increase in attendance for this year’s video event while maintaining our routine efforts.
  • NOT Time-bound We aim to have the anti-discrimination law past as soon as possible.
  • Time-bound We aim to have the anti-discrimination law passed by August 1st, 2009.

What Next?  Plan Your Video