Case Study: STARTTS 30th Anniversary 2019
Client: Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS)
Author: Laundry Lane Producer, Alexandra Patrick-Dunn
The opportunity to work with the Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS), has been one of the highlights of my time at Laundry Lane so far. I have had a long-time interest in refugees and refugee-specific issues and the organisation, and its incredible work fascinated me. I had watched previous interviews Laundry Lane had conducted with clients of STARTTS before even starting with Laundry Lane, so when the call came that the organisation was seeking Laundry Lane’s help with a video celebrating their 30th Anniversary, I was more than excited. Alexandra Cordukes encouraged me to take part in the project and I was invited along with her and Will to attend the initial kick-off meeting. From here, we were briefed on some of the recent work STARTTS has been doing as well as the theme for the anniversary and their key hopes and requirements for the video. I was given the opportunity to contribute to the creative planning of the video.
This process began by watching a variety of existing video content on refugee issues in Australia. This included some of the work Laundry Lane had previously completed for STARTTS on its 25th Anniversary. From here, a visual style for the interview was developed. We opted for a face-to-camera introduction from each of the interviewees for maximum impact in the opening moments of the interview. We also chose to use some more cinematic techniques such as close-ups on the hands, eyes and face to develop a sense of character and humanity. Of course, a key part of any engaging video is relevant and dynamic overlay footage. Therefore, the next step was to develop a plan for this b-roll footage. The key here is to ensure the overlay has an emotional current while also being relevant to the words being spoken over it.
In the case of the STARTTS video, we decided to capture as much footage as possible of the clients interacting on a personal level with their counsellors and STARTTS representatives as well as imagery of them participating in some of the programs that STARTTS offers. This clearly communicates both the practical offering of STARTTS as well as its role in providing emotional support and healing. In addition to this, we opted to shoot footage of the interviewees in their local community, whether it be something as simple as shopping or a more emotive action such as picking up their children from school. This imagery demonstrates that with the support of STARTTS, people who have experienced severe trauma and torture are able to re-integrate into their community and become functional and active citizens.
The interview process itself was an incredible experience. I was given the opportunity to interview a Yazidi woman who had fled conflict in Syria. Speaking to this woman about her story and struggles was an honour and was an interview unlike any I had ever done. Witnessing the other interviewees speak was also enlightening. To hear such a wealth of experience and resilience from people from all over the world who have beaten incredible odds inspired me when it came time to return to the office and edit these interviews into meaningful, impactful stories.
The editing process for this project was challenging but rewarding. Having to cut down the interviews, some of which were up to 45 minutes long down to a couple of minutes was almost painful: everything these people had to say was fascinating! However, for the sake of the final event video, we managed to trim all of the interviews into a powerful and compelling overall narrative.
The final part of the process was to brief the motion graphics designers and send them off to create some incredible visual moments. The result was an integration of the key idea of a string moving forward throughout the video to signify the journey of STARTTS clients moving forward. Once integrated into the video footage, the animated graphics had a powerful and visually engaging effect on the anniversary video as a whole.
The video was delivered in time for the STARTTS 30th Anniversary Event which was attended by two members of our Laundry Lane team. Both the interviewees and the organisation were very happy and moved by the video which was our greatest marker of success.
This was one of those video projects that is an incredible opportunity for learning and exposure to new perspectives and I am extremely grateful that I was given the opportunity to contribute.