A labour of #loveNZ

This project has been one of the more challenging but also more learning experiences in my volunteer work for the New Zealand Green Party.

One of the biggest hurdles to New Zealanders living overseas taking part in elections back home is confusion and misinformation about their eligibility and the process. The electoral commission website, with it’s screeds of bullet points, is not exactly an easy introduction or shareable social media content.

An opportunity presented itself with Metiria Turei, the then co-leader of the Greens visiting the UK for a conference. To make the film more than a talking-head and to make it gel with other parts of the brand and campaign, I wrote a script that fit with the vibe of the newest brand ad, Great Greens, which uses a jump-cut, multiple-talent style.

Unfortunately since I was at that stage living back in New Zealand I couldn’t shoot it myself and there were no other volunteers in the UK team with camera skills. So my long-time collaborator Riccardo Sai directed a whirlwind day of locations and different volunteers across London.

The rushes came back to me in NZ; and the edit was the next learning curve. The subject matter was important but it needed to be more upbeat, easygoing, and fun (as much as voting can be). It was a great lesson in breaking out of earnest ‘documentary’ style that had become a bit of a habit, using outtakes and rapid-fire graphics to add some zest.

When the rough cut was signed off things were humming along. There was a little hiatus while I moved back to the UK, but with the audio mixed and grading done it was ready to launch with months to go before the election. I also figured out how to cut it into two 30-second versions for the media company to do boosted posts, and learned some interesting digital best practice

Then Metiria became a hot topic, via a mixture of scandal and media witch-hunt – but the result was her resignation as co-leader. Devastating and controversial for so many of us, but from the immediate media production point of view, another challenge. So this time I organised things the other way round – getting a new face (candidate Golriz Ghahraman) in New Zealand to perform Metiria’s lines from the current cut, and the rushes sent back to the UK.

Appropriately, this has been a truly global effort. Filming in London by an Italian director. Audio mixing by an Argentinian living in Auckland. Grading by an Englishman in Twickenham. And of course myself holding it all together – a Kiwi bouncing between New Zealand and the UK – in fact doing the finishing touches from an AirBnB in Copenhagen (oh yes, and writing this blog post from another AirBnB in Paris).

So at last, and just in time, the film is launched.

On one hand it’s one of the many pieces of great content coming out of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand this election campaign. But on the other hand, with 12,000 views, 200 shares and over 300 likes on Facebook in less than 24 hours (at time of writing) it seems like something that really has the chance to make an impact, and help the Green Party win important extra seats from overseas votes. Watch this space in late September.