Sometimes my job makes me weep
Animal Aid is a great little non-profit organisation. Anything anti-animal cruelty, they’re there.
Over the years we’ve produced several video projects together: anti-factory farming, anti-game shooting, anti-horse racing and lots more. Some of it difficult to watch and occasionally quite upsetting.
One day I was asked to write and direct an anti-animal testing video.
We discussed the brief and I was handed a box full of video footage that the Animal Aid team had secretly shot in laboratories all over the UK.
My job, to go back to the agency, lock myself away and find 40 seconds-worth of footage to create a narrative – from about 30 hours of tapes.
Headphones on, I put the first disc in my laptop.
Two minutes later I was sobbing. Tears rolling down my cheeks.
I won’t go into details about the footage, but suffice it to say; it wasn’t showing mankind in its best light.
I was conflicted. A huge part of my screamed “I can’t do this”. Another part of me whispered, “come on, this is something you believe in”.
Even though it was a cause that deserved to be championed, it was tempting to walk away.
Then thankfully another part of me stepped in with its big boy pants on and calmly said, “Jonathan, you’ve got a job to do. Put your personal feelings aside and do the right thing by the client”.
And it worked.
I shook off my emotional ties to the project and did what any self-respecting Copywriter has to do. I screwed my professional head on, went back to the brief and reminded myself of the audience, the challenge and the key messages that I had to get across.
It’s curious. The best way to tell an emotional story is to first detach from it.
To see things clearly, untainted by prejudices and pre-conceptions. Only then, can you pour your heart and soul into it, delivering the message with the clarity and simplicity it needs.
So if you have a story that needs telling, no matter how difficult it is to put it into words, I’ve got your back. And I’ll bring my own tissues.