A Liberty United documentary film series
Project: "One Less" (Working title)
Client: Liberty United
Creative Team: Tommy Grevlos & Matt Treager
"One Less" is a cinematic documentary series that profiles the lives of at-risk kids, and how their storylines have changed for the better thanks to the efforts of Liberty United and its non-profit partners.
Liberty United isn't just selling a product, they're inviting you to contribute to something priceless: a life saved. By making these documentaries, we will show the direct human impact that consumers can have when they purchase a Liberty United product.
People love, remember, and connect to stories. Stories like Joyce's, Kyree's, and Ada's. Liberty United customers help make these stories possible, and in doing so, become part of the larger effort to end gun violence in America. While there are great stories of success on the Liberty United website, a few paragraphs can only tell a small part of the impact they are making with kids in at-risk communities.
What if we could expand on these stories, and connect the consumer in a more direct way with these kids? And if in doing so, we also tell the story of a socially-conscious brand that believes in something bigger than itself?
We are proposing a series of short documentary videos that will allow the viewer to follow those who are being directly impacted by Liberty United’s contributions to community level non-profits working for social change and ending gun violence.
Our aim will be to find and tell remarkable stories that foster unity, support, and awareness around the larger social issue of gun violence. These stories will amplify Liberty United's business model of directly connecting a brand, product consumption, and a related cause. In the end, perhaps most importantly, we hope to speak to the larger narrative of gun violence in America, and help start the conversations needed for change to happen.
Facts and figures are important to the story, but this series of films will go deeper than just the statistics by taking a more personal approach and following one person per city - our “Heart of the Story”. It will be through following our Heart that viewers will gain a deeper understanding of the everyday life for these at-risk kids and young adults.
The viewer will be fully immersed in the Heart's story, their struggles, and their ambitions. We will explore themes of overcoming obstacles, personal loss, strength in a community, redemption, and hope for a better future. We will also see how Liberty United's partnership with non-profits is making a positive impact in the lives of these children. If the audience can empathize with our Heart, even in the smallest way, it will create a deep connection which evolves into awareness and action.
These videos will serve a three-fold purpose:
- Story driven marketing material for Liberty United to show the social impact one can have by purchasing their products.
- Curate a selection of assorted video clips from production footage for Liberty United to use in social media, website content, and future marketing. (Pending model releases.)
- Provide a deeper and more personal view of the realities of gun violence in America and why it's such an important issue to Liberty United.
The "Heart of the Story":
The Heart will be selected prior to production by collaborating with the non-profit leadership and conduct an informal, preliminary interview off camera. In order to make the best films possible, we will find those Hearts that have the most impactful stories to tell. These people would ideally be those who possess four strong aspects of connection: uniqueness, a personal desire/ambition in their life, a complexity/conflict to overcome to achieve their goals, and a support community/parent willing to be interviewed.
>>Uniqueness is what makes our Heart different. This could be a unique trait, a behavior, an experience they’ve had, or part of their backdrop (IE: a family member). Uniqueness will pull the audience in and make them pay attention to the Heart. A Heart's Desire and Complexity may also be their Uniqueness.
>>Desire/ambition is what the Heart wants, beyond what they already have. Desire is what helps the audience fall in love with them. The more the Heart wants something, the more we want it for them.
>>Complexity/conflict is the why or motive behind the desire. Complexity gives the Heart depth and helps to sustain the connection with the audience.
>>Support community provides a multi-faceted view of our Heart's story, injecting aspects that may not be told by the Heart alone. By giving more than one person’s perspective and narrative, we get a greater awareness and understanding of our Heart's story. The support community could be a parent, mentor, community leader, non-profit worker, or someone else influential in the Heart's social circle.
Approach & Process:
We will create a series of four short, cinematic documentary films, approximately 8 minutes each in length. The first film will be made in Chicago, and follow up films in Newburgh, Philadelphia, and Syracuse.
In each city, we will work with Liberty United and a non-profit partner to find our Heart. This person could be a child or young adult. Ideally, we would highlight several different age ranges in the series, to show a broader spectrum of impact.
Our approach will be to listen closely. Stop. Think. Consider the stories being presented to us, and which one will have the most impact on the viewer. We will explore, dig deep, and become close with the story of our Heart. Every decision moving forward, from locations and lens choice, to which characters we feature, will be based on its relevance to the emerging narrative.
After narrowing down our search, we will present Liberty United with a proposed plan of production and rough narrative script. Once the proposed plan is approved by Liberty United, production preparations will begin. Rough production timelines are explained below.
We will conduct our first formal interview with the Heart on the first day of production. Ideally it will take place in the Heart's home or a place indoors where they feel most comfortable. We will also conduct shorter, more off-the-cuff style interviews throughout production. This will allow us to capture informal or spontaneous stories as they arise, allow for follow up questions to be asked and answered, and have more variety of interview footage to work with. Throughout the production process, we will also schedule interviews with various people in the Heart's support community.
Our production team will spend time with our Heart as they go about their daily lives, and our team will capture footage in the most authentic way possible. We will also capture interactions with the non-profit partner and general b-roll. To ensure a timely production schedule and relevant footage, we will also pre-plan and set up some scenes as they relate to the story. However, to allow for authentic moments and serendipity in front of the camera, we will limit our direction as these scenes unfold.
All interviewees will be required to sign a standard model release form and will be compensated monetarily for their time and permission to use their likeness in the films.
Knowing that these films cover a very sensitive topic involving minors, our top priority is to approach these stories in the most respectful and sensitive way possible. Throughout production, we will require assistance from local fixers or non-profit volunteers to navigate the community and issues in a respectful and safe way, and to ensure that the Hearts' stories are told in the most authentic way possible. We may also need the help of security detail, which will be determined in pre-production as we collaborate with the non-profit.
Directors - Tommy Grevlos & Matt Treager
Producers - Tommy Grevlos, Matt Treager, & TBD
Director of Photography - Matt Treager
Production Audio - TBD
Production Assistance - TBD
Fixer, non-profit/community asset - TBD
Style & Mood Boards:
The films will be shot in a cinematic documentary style. This style will be less reactionary and more purposeful. Some situations and scenes will be pre-planned but the interactions within them will be mostly undirected, unscripted, and as authentic as possible. Camera movements will be mostly handheld instead of on a tripod to enforce the vision of an organic connection and intimacy to our main character. Use of slow motion where appropriate. Colors will be subdued, and overall tone will vary between lighter and darker scenes as the narrative dictates.
Interview shooting style will be conversational, with an unscripted and informal feel. Handheld cameras with some sway for visual interest, but steady. The interviews will likely take place in homes, in places of interest in the community, or locations relevant to the story.
Refer to the following mood boards for visual inspiration around certain keywords that will likely drive the narrative:
Timelines & Deliverables:
Pre-production and developing a plan of action for each film can take anywhere from few weeks to several months before production begins, depending on correspondence between the creative team, the non-profit, and potential subjects.
Total production will take 3 days plus an initial scout day, but may be scaled up or down given the circumstances and the story we are trying to tell. Allowances may need to be made for pickup shooting days for events or scenes that may fall outside of the production schedule, and would be relevant to the story.
Post-production will begin immediately and will take approximately 6-8 weeks from the end of production before a final deliverable is released. During that time, we will conduct two rough-cut review sessions with Liberty United to allow for feedback and revisions. Once a rough-cut is approved, final audio mastering and color grading will be conducted, and the final cut will be presented to Liberty United for distribution.
Detailed timelines, deliverables, and scope of each film will be provided in a statement of work once the project moves froward.
We are thrilled at the opportunity to partner with a company as unique as Liberty United. We believe that as Liberty United remakes weapons into powerful symbols of action, our documentary series will serve as a powerful story telling tool that will raise awareness, inspire support, increase sales, and save lives.
Please know that everything presented in this proposal is flexible based on Liberty United's needs, and we are open to your feedback. We look forward to working with you to tell these amazing stories!
- Discuss budget
- Statement of work and contract agreed upon and signed
- 50% deposit to begin production
- Pre-production process begins