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Charity: water, A Beautiful Story

February 10, 2013

While Ira Glass’s videos were the exact opposite of the advice he was trying to convey, his advice on story telling was solid. I watched the Charity: water video before watching Ira’s videos and I was moved to tears. I was deeply effected by a five minute video of people I’d never heard of much less met, of a charity I knew nothing about, and of a story I’d never be able to forget.

Charity: water was lucky, (losing Rachel was not lucky and no organization would ever wish for that) they had a powerful story to start off with which, as Ira says, is the hardest part of the battle. Not only did they have the amazing story of a little girl wishing to give up her birthday gifts, they had the added drama of losing the little girl before her goal had been met. Drama always intrigues humans, we are fascinated with disaster. Opening with the loss of a beautiful person is bound to get the attention of all viewers, after that it was up to the production crew to keep their attention.

Passion seemed to be key in this story. Jamie Pent clearly cares very much about Charity: water and the fact that she wanted to get all of the video done on the anniversary of Rachel’s death was very touching. Her passion showed through the video and was able to inspire passion in the viewers. Ira suggests getting enough material that you can eliminate the “crappy” portions and stick to the important or dramatic stuff. It is clear that this is exactly what Pent did in her filming. From six in the morning when they began filming into the hours of the following morning Pent was focused on filming, editing, and posting her video. From the footage released in the video it is obvious that she took the best of what she filmed.

Her camera was still and fluid which allowed the viewer to feel as if they were there with Rachel’s parents and the villagers. Each scene captured was full of life and emotion. Pent was able to capture the heart wrenching grief of Rachel’s parents as they spoke of their daughter and the incredible pride as they saw for the first time what Rachel’s legacy was able to do. She captured the gratitude of the villagers as they spoke of Rachel’s memory and she ended with a final scene of children beaming with joy as they drank clean water from one of Rachel’s wells.

Pent made a wonderful and emotional video. Whether or not she had seen Ira Glass’s advice on story telling she followed his words almost to a t. Other organizations should take note of both Glass’s advice and the stylization of Pent’s video. Anecdotes are important and reflection is crucial, but what truly makes an inspirational movie is passion about the subject and the motivation to lose sleep making sure the film is everything you dreamed it would be and more.

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  1. Nika - Social Media Class permalink

    Good post. I liked how you talked about, “Her camera was still and fluid which allowed the viewer to feel as if they were there with Rachel’s parents and the villagers.” I was totally thinking that while I was watching the video.

    Side note, the link the professor gave us does not work. I found this post by looking for it on your website.


  2. lindseykemsley permalink

    I too was moved to tears when watching the Charity: water video. The video was so well shot that the important facts were clear, and that people could understand the purpose of the video within a few seconds of watching. Pent really did understand Glass’s advice for storytelling, although I doubt she saw his videos, but she really did well pulling the audience into the story and feeling the need to aid the cause.

  3. The video was very emotional. charity:water certainly had a strong story to work with. Everything from the tragedy to the care taken to tell the story brings the reader/watcher in and keeps them to the end. I don’t know about anyone else, but it also made me interested in supporting the charity too. 🙂

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