160mc: Manifesto: What we were trying to do and how well we did it

Our idea for a one minute manifesto was a Rebranding of Feminism. Recently many people, particuarly young women, see feminism in a bad light and we wanted to change that. We surveyed a group of students and found that a large percentage of them did not identify as feminists. Yet they told us they strongly believed in equal rights. This seemed a clash of ideals, as when you look up feminism in the dictionary you will see it is exactly what these students believe in:

feminism

the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.

But when our test group had the definition ‘labelled’ as feminism they rejected it. So why not change the label? Snickers is still the same chocolate bar despite no longer being called Marathon. In fact most people born before 1990 probably don’t even realize it was ever called anything else!

So, we followed Marathon/Snickers’ suit and decided the rebrand needed to start with the name. Feminism isn’t exactly a Ronseal name. It certainly doesn’t say what it does on the tin, and we needed a name that truly explained it’s purpose and couldn’t be misconstrued. After much brainstorming we decided on the name #EqualRights. The hash tag prefix, hopefully, makes it something people will see and then be subconsciously prompted to tweet about.

Looking into the topic of #EqualRights we soon realized we had opened a huge can of worms. Everything that we wanted to cover could not be documented in a short one minute film so we had to pick a small section to concentrate on. There were the issues of ageism, gender, racism, sexism. There were different countries with different #EqualRights problems and different sectors of industry to consider. Our target audience is men and women aged approximately 16-28 but our initial audience would be our media production team so we decided to pitch the manifesto directly at them by concentrating on inequality in the film industry. Both Maria and I had been shocked to learn that currently only 9% of directors are female and just 5% of cinematographers are women. As these are the fields we hope to work in, they are concerning figures to us, and hopefully they would be as shocking to our classmates.

We were inspired by the recent Benetton campaigns and began looking into their history. Starting out they still made very visually appealling ads but they used much simpler ideas. Using bright colours and clever edits to stand out from the crowd.

As part of the brief we needed to include a split screen and we soon realized this really lent itself to a ‘vs’ idea. So we would have a man and woman side by side each holding the salary they earn for a year and similar figures etc.

We found a great red wall to shoot against and managed to get a good halo of light around each of our actors heads as I filmed them flipping through the figures. We slowed the footage down in the edit to give people time to read each fact and let it sink in. While editing the footage i reversed through some of it quickly to get to a piece i needed to change and really loved the effect it gave so ended up reversing nearly all of it. To close the shot we wanted to show that men and women coming together and uniting is the answer to resolving inequality and tried to convey this with a final image of both actors merging together while holding up #EqualRights.

Although I am happy with the final film, I wish we’d had another few days to work on this project. I would have liked to reshoot using the same background and lighting but using larger signs and bigger print for the facts and figures to create more of an impact and make the whole thing look a little more professional.

Manifesto – #EqualRights from tara rutledge on Vimeo.

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