Hear from our videographer, Rob Shearer, about what it takes to make a great mockumentary.
In fall of 2016, Gravity submitted two teams to the first annual Canwood Derby at Ale House at Amato’s. The goal was simple, create a pinewood derby car and cover it with a beer can. What was originally a friendly competition quickly turned into a bitter rivalry. Friendships were destroyed, names were called, feelings were hurt. A house became divided! It was a fierce battle until the very end!
Actually, none of that is true. We just raced some cars and had a lot of fun!
We entered the Canwood Derby to participate in a cool event that had us doing something that was out of our usual routine of branding, designing websites, and online marketing (for some reason, we don’t have a lot of clients asking us to design pinewood cars). As Gravity’s videographer, I wanted to get in on the fun, so I shot a video about our journey to showcase our video marketing services. Instead of creating an overview video about how we participated in the derby, we decided to make a fake documentary about a rivalry that was fabricated within our company. Sure, creating an overview video would have been a lot easier, a lot shorter, and a lot quicker to edit, but we wanted to create something that was a little more special, more memorable, and enjoyable to watch!
Creating a mockumentary is a lot harder than it looks. First, you have to approach it like a real documentary. When planning a documentary, the first thing you want to do is write an outline of the story that you want to shoot. Basically, this is your prediction of how you think the story will play out. Then the next thing you do is throw that outline out the window. That seems incredibly useless and counterproductive, but it helps guide the documentary so that you don’t waste time shooting things that are unimportant. The outline acts as a guideline, which will help you discover the real story. We approached our mockumentary the same way by creating an outline, and like a real documentary, the story began to change and shift. It didn’t deviate too much from our original plan, but there were a lot of elements that changed and adapted based on what was shot.
After I went through the footage and picked the best moments, we hired the talented local actor Brian Landis Folkins to play our eccentric narrator, “Pinewood” Paul McGillicuddy. His character was used to tie the scenes together and create a coherent story. After his scenes were added, all we needed was some music, some old photos of pinewood derbies, and BOOM! A mockumentary, fresh out of the oven!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading about our process of making this fun video, and I hope you enjoyed watching it! At Gravity we love making fun and engaging videos for our clients, and sometimes for ourselves.