Evan Smith, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of The Texas Tribune, speaks with state Sen. Wendy Davis during the closing one-on-one keynote session of The Texas Tribune Festival on Sep. 29, 2013. (Photo by Callie Richmond)

Why I like Wendy Davis’ “A Texas Story”

Wendy Davis is lassoing another round of headlines with her campaign kickoff video “A Texas Story.” It’s a bio piece intended to increase her name ID amongst Texans who may not be familiar with her. It’s a great video.

Here’s why…

1. It’s comprehensive

YouTube and other online video platforms break us free of the 15, 30 and 60 second containers television stuck us in. Though some were able to make good use of it, often times the complex message of who we are and what shaped us got boiled down to generic mush. You could only pray viewers didn’t go for the mute button faster than Wyatt Earp.

Those days are over. The Davis campaign produced a detailed piece that tells her story without rambling on.

2. Good production value

Allow me to put on my film school hat for a moment.

Stock footage is tricky. There’s a clip for just about every scenario out there but often times it can be cheesy or worse, used by someone else. Some stock footage is used, but it’s intercut with enough local flavor b-roll like recognizable towns, livestock, ranchers, etc, that we’re not taken out of the story.

Wendy Davis video screenshot

Senator Davis speaks to us about “endless opportunity” in front of an endless landscape, ready to be developed or farmed. They make the scenery itself a “character” in this piece. Something we can identify with.

They’re able to do this on a sunny day without having harsh shadows cast across Senator Davis’s face or having her squint because of the sun.

They got their money’s worth with whoever produced this.

3. The biggest stars are “real people.”

Senator Davis introduces each section of the video but lets her daughter, a teacher a business owner and a veteran go into the details. This is the most important part. This is what you need to be doing in your own videos.

Let recognizable members of communities speak for you. People trust their neighbors and community members a lot more than some politician from hundreds of miles away. The more local and authoritative voice you can get the better.

Did you like the video? Why? Tell me in the comments below!

Photo by Callie Richmond via the Texas Tribune on Flickr. CC BY 2.0

  • Josh Light

    I agree on the production value. High quality camera work. On the messaging…they did a good job nailing down the core aspects of her campaign. They need to produce a couple short versions though (one 30 second, and one 2 minute). It’s hard for people to watch something that longer than 2 minutes. I also don’t like how they disabled the comments on the YouTube video.

  • Charlie123

    Greg, I love Wendy–I was at her fundraiser in Seattle–and it may be a minor glitch, but she has a natural gesture of swinging her head back and forth when she talks. On camera this looks like a negative; it creates a sense that she doesn’t mean what she’s saying.