Make Your Own: Early Learning Advocacy Videos

Short, simple videos are a great way to bring a variety of early learning stories and voices from your local community to policy makers in Olympia. Hearing directly from constituents really brings these issues to life, and shows policy makers the depth of support for early learning.

Now that high quality cameras are accessible on smartphones, these videos are relatively cheap and easy to make.
Use this guide to create videos that will help you make the case for early learning.

1. Prepare

Procure the equipment and secure a private, quiet space. Make copies of your photo/video release form and send out copies of prompting questions to the early learning stakeholders that will star in your videos.

2. Set Up

Position the camera with a pleasant background; blank walls are fine but it’s nice to have a little color with a wall hanging or plant. Test the lighting and sound, and offer a comfortable chair for your speakers. Give your speakers time to practice their pieces in pairs or trios.
Coach your speakers on the following best practices:

  • Speak in full sentences, even when prompted by a question. Don’t start with “yes,” “no,” or “so.” Also, avoid acronyms.
  • Start with a personal introduction: name and connection to early learning. Pause for a beat after the intro, to give the editor flexbility about how to include it.
  • Keep it short and sweet. No more than one minute, and 30 seconds is even better!


3. Film

Stand behind the camera to give your speaker someone to look at, and depending on the speaker’s preferences, offer to ask prompting questions. Do not make affirming sounds as people are speaking. The microphone will pick this up! But feel free to nod and encourage nonverbally. If the people you’re filming are nervous or struggling to get the words out, ask them to do it again. It’s much easier to film another 30-second take than to edit the video. Remember to collect a signed release form (here’s an example).

4. Edit

Load the videos onto a computer for editing, preferably by connecting the phone or camera directly to a computer (emailing a video from your phone is error-prone and time-consuming). Or, try Dropbox or Google Drive for uploading and distributing the raw files. For editing, there is free software available (Movie Maker for PC and iMovie for Mac). If you followed the best practices in Steps 1-3, you shouldn’t have much editing to do. At a minimum, you make a single clip for each speaker, so you can pick and choose what to share later on.

5. Share

Upload the video(s) to Vimeo or YouTube for ease of sharing.
Top 5 ways to use video:

  • Share with a legislator during an in-person meeting.
  • Send links to a legislator via email, accompanied by a message about the importance of early learning.
  • Play at a fundraiser or public awareness event.
  • Include in an organizational newsletter.
  • Publish on social media.