Slow Clap believes that authentic storytelling lies at the heart of all great videos, campaigns, and outreach programs, so when GitHub wanted us to share stories of a few future builders who’ve used GitHub's platform to transform their community we were excited to produce those projects. These stories took our team around the US and across the pond. It was an amazing learning experience for our team, that pushed us to find a more impactful way to share stories.
During pre-production, GitHub’s marketing team shared that they wanted to produce a series of 4 mini-documentaries that would follow the launch of the branding video and lead up the Universe conference. They wanted each video to highlight individuals who have used GitHub’s open source platform to create and launch new products or opportunities within different industries and celebrate what developers were doing around the world when they come together. GitHub provided a list of people who they were interested in interviewing and we began the vetting process. We conducted multiple pre-interview phone calls to confirm who was truly interested in being apart of videos, who had a deeply impactful story, who would be available, who would be comfortable speaking on camera, and who would have some very dynamic visuals available for us to capture at the time of production.
After a few weeks of follow up and scheduling, we narrowed down the list to the final 4 subjects. We confirmed availability and scheduling at each location, what we wanted to capture, and confirmed who would be available as secondary subjects for each video.
Production Begins on Mini-Documentaries
Once production of the branding video wrapped, our team packed up our gear and headed across the US to Detroit, MI to capture the story of Tifanni Bell, who built her website, The Human Utility, using GitHub. The team spent a total of 3 days with Ms. Bell capturing her, Ms. Helen Griffin, a benefactor of The Human Utility, and the amazing city of Detroit. We utilized a local production assistant to help with loading gear, set up lighting, and maneuvering around the city. Our team conducted the interviews and capture the amazing aerial and street-level broll.
The Human Utility
“Start really small with whatever you can. You just need a couple of people. If you make an impact the whole thing will just, kind of, blow up from there.” Tiffani Ashley Bell, Founder of The Human Utility
Following Detroit, our team flew to Boston to capture Conrad Hollomon, a former US military Office, (Afghanistan veteran) who utilizes GitHub’s platform to help to transition members of the military service community learn software development and code the future. We hired a local production assistant to help us on this 3-day shoot which allowed us to conduct and capture the interviews and capture some of the city's history in images such as the cobblestone streets and classic architecture.
“I served overseas in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011. The things I think about when I’m going through tough times, ‘By going through this have I helped make someone else successful. Have I helped contribute to something larger than myself?” - Conrad Hollomon, Founder of Operation Code
Once we wrapped in Boston our team flew across the pond to the UK to interview Julius Sweetland, the creator of OptiKey, a free on-screen keyboard that allows the user to communicate and control their computer with their eyes. Julius initially placed his idea on GitHub 3 years ago, and with the help of the open-source community, it has been translated into 19 different languages. Similar to the first 2 videos, we had a 3-day shoot, where we captured interviews and broll of the subject in his natural environment. We hired a production assistant from the UK to help us with getting around and to act as a fixer prior to our arrival.
“I’ve been into computers since I could walk. These magic boxes that I’ve always been in “AW” of, they can do good. I’ve always wanted to have a project that I could go, ‘Hey, this cool thing, I wrote it and look at these people over here that it’s helping.” - Julius Sweetland, Creator of OptiKey
Our final video took our team back home to the Bay Area. We traveled to Oakland to capture Jamica El, who is part engineer, part storyteller, part curator, and a creator of stories through music and the use of technology. We spent 3-days filming in Oakland with Jamica, capturing her in her home, downtown, a speaking engagement, and all around the city.
“I’m a maker, and I want to inspire others to make. Being a DJ lead to me being comfortable with creating with my hands. Whether it’s curating, putting together mixes, or scratching records, and soldering wires together. My DJ life made my hardware life less intimidating.” - Jamica El, Community Storyteller
“These mini-documentaries are the logical points of our effects over the last 5 years, as a company.” - Dan Lichtenberg, CEO & Creative Director, Slow Clap
The four documentaries were shared on GitHub’s social media platforms and organically garnered over 250,000 (+) views during the initial marketing launch between September 2018 to October 16, 2018 (the start of Universe 2018). During that same time, GitHub gained nearly 40,000 new followers and had over 45,000 social engagements across all platforms. In addition to their social media, there was a write up in Forbes about their branding campaign highlighting Black Female Founders, and got a personal shout out from Reddit Founder, Alexis Ohanian, on Twitter regarding the successful marketing campaign for Universe.