The Direct Appeal
When we begin creating your package, the first questions we ask is, “Who has the power to make the change you need?” More often than not, the policymaker is the best target.
California Bag Ban – Latino Focus
Getting the 8th-largest economy in the world to ban plastic bags was a chore, but not as hard as you may have thought. Activists who targeted citizens and asked them to bring their own bags found their efforts minimally effective. Those who spent a fraction of the time targeting people who had the power to give them the change they needed turned the tide.
Azul, an ocean-protection organization, came to me already knowing their audience. They knew who was for a state-wide plastic bag ban, who was against it, and whom to target – the three Latino state senators swing votes that could win us the ban.
Instead of creating videos for the general public and hoping they will contact these senators for us, we used our contacts to bring their constituents’ message directly to the senators. The people who spoke on camera are a mix of those whom the policymakers recognize as powerful voices of the Latino community, and also everyday people whom we asked to share their story. We wanted to bust the myths and pressure the legislators to make the right decision, in a format tailored just to them.
In September of 2014, the senators we targeted swung our way; they actually introduced the legislation themselves. Governor signed the bill, history was made, and billions of bags that would have otherwise gone out into our environment will never be made.
The Landfill Vote
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors was set to vote on whether to sell their waste system to an Arizona-based corporation that would scrap most of the county’s recycling programs, in order to avoid an $10 million cost of fixing a leak. While 99% of the calls supervisors received were against the sale for environmental reasons, the swing-vote policymaker was concerned about the economics.
I worked with non-profit Conservation Action over the course of three days to research, write, shoot, edit and deliver a three-minute direct appeal, focusing on the economic impact of the move. We made sure the swing vote saw it, then sent it out to all concerned citizens in the area, many of whom sent it to him as well.
Apart from policy change films, we do other work for non-profits geared toward getting people involved in a more politically active and sustainable lifestyle. Let us know what your vision is, and we’ll work together to make it happen.
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