BEHIND THE SCENES
It’s in the Can!
We might not be known for creating Public Service Announcement Videos, but itʻs something we have experience in and have exercised over the years. Most recently, we were contracted by the State of Hawai‘i and the City & County of Honolulu to develop a series of PSAs that increase public awareness and understanding of special management area (SMA) and shoreline setback regulations. That was definitely easier said than done. This has been a very controversial topic over the years!
In our initial meeting with our client, we learned that there was a host of issues and public misconceptions about shoreline setbacks. We put on our trusty “problem-solving” hats and encouraged the client to get to the root of the matter. Using the same process when working on branding campaigns, we identified their target audience, issues and problems, and developed main message points and call to actions. It took our team a mere 2.5 hours. It needed to happen within that time, the parking meters were ticking! Those C&C parking attendants really have no mercy.
This project was eye-opening. I have never felt so depressed after an initial meeting. As they say, “Ignorance is bliss.” I didn’t know just how bad sea-level rise is. I mean, I have heard about it in simple terms… but it was never put into context and backed with data from leading experts in front of me. From that moment, our team felt a deep sense of purpose and responsibility to be as effective as we possibly could through our PSAs in hope that our communities in Hawai‘i will be informed about the inevitable decrease of our beaches due to sea-level rise.
Whenever delivering a message, I believe it has to be relatable, relative and have resonance with the audience. That meant assembling the right team to make this happen. From the start, longtime friend and expert copywriter Julie Funasaki was enlisted. Technical scriptwriting extraordinaire is something that she can now list on her long list of capabilities. Another longtime friend was roped in—Shawn Pimental of ‘Upena Production Network. A notable musician, producer and sound engineer, Shawn was crafty and pivoted many times over during the pandemic, creating a production company that collaborated with many in the video production industry. He introduced me to Bryson Hoe, Executive Director of ‘Ōiwi TV. My stress level instantly lowered now that I had a solid crew I could count on.
In storytelling, it’s not just the message being delivered thatʻs important, but who is delivering that message. Our team had a very short list of individuals that would be perfect for these PSAs. We felt deeply that these individuals needed to be recognizable, trustworthy, and exude mana. Lemme tell you, this was the most stressful part of the whole project… seeking and requesting these people that I had no prior contact with. With help from friends, I was able to connect with the incomparable Robert Cazimero and the captivating Paula Fuga. I have fan-girled over both of these artists for quite some time and was thrilled that they both had a sense of duty and urgency to participate in this project. After reading the scripts and background both Robert and Paula agreed that our message was one that needed to be heard.
One afternoon during my sunset walk with my son, I shared with him my latest project, how elated we were with the progress and of our new messengers. I told him we were actually missing one more voice… one that represents our future. He looked at me and asked, “You mean someone like me? Do you want me to do it? Because I know about sea-level rise…” Before agreeing to his volunteering, I made sure he realized he wouldn’t get paid and once he says he is gonna do something, he canʻt back out because a whole crew needs to be organized and assembled to shoot the scene. He vehemently agreed and I was happy. The client was happy, too. We had a wise man, an inspirational woman and a Kamehameha School sixth grader willing and ready.
Weeks of scriptwriting and copy editing were finally done. Then the arduous process of location selection and scouting and shoot planning. Shoots done in Hawai‘i are always so dicey… the weather is always the most unreliable crew member. For the most part, we were extremely lucky to have such great weather during the rainiest months of the year. Some shoots took longer as we had to wait out rain dumps and we were blessed with multiple rainbows that gave us the sign that everything was turning out perfectly.
We hope that you learn something from these PSAs. Please take time to share them with others whether they live near the shore or not.
~ Na Stacey