• Shmuel Hoffman

3 Tips for Making Commercial Films Targeted toward The High School-aged Demographic

The Sephardic Community Alliance, an organization based in Brooklyn, NY, wisely recognized the need to educate graduating high school seniors as to why we as Jews need and support Israel, and to arm them with the skills to counteract the negativity they will surely encounter once they get to college.



BootCampus is the first retreat of this kind that the SCA put together. They invited dozens of speakers who lecture on different topics like "woke"ism, QANON, social media literacy, and general Israel advocacy. At the same time, they give students a blast of a time with activities and events like ziplining and comedy acts for relaxation amidst the heavy subject matter.

Now, high school seniors might not be easy to excite and attract for a weekend retreat like this. The biggest challenge with an ad like this is figuring out the messaging to put in front of them to get them moving and motivated.

When Jeffrey Beyda, the president of the SCA, approached us, he wanted a film that would attract teens and get them to apply to the Boot Campus retreat. Since the event itself was full of lectures - not necessarily the most appealing visuals to any age group, let alone teens - we needed to come up with a visual concept.

Here are some guiding principles that have brought us success with advertising to this age group, on many hundreds of our commercials, and that we used for this BootCampus film for the SCA.

  1. It was clear that we needed fast cuts. As a rule of thumb, the more the subject in a frame sits still, the faster you need to cut, and the more energetic the music selection needs to be. You basically are metaphorizing the excitement that otherwise is all just intrinsic within people who are deeply focused and working mentally, not physically.

  2. When you produce a video, never let the topic boss you around. A visually static subject can be edited together in a super-exciting way, and vice versa. And a really interesting event can be boring in a final video if the energy doesn't match in the edit pace in the final film. As you can see, it's all about the energy in the edit.

  3. The next thing that I felt was necessary to give this film a young and exciting feel was to use non-traditional lower thirds (titles) and name animation that gives the piece a rough but stylized feel.

These are just three of the many dozens of details that go into making a film that a certain viewer (in this case, high school seniors) can identify as relevant to them and to make it exciting to their audience.

This Boot Campus film has been shown at SCA's recruiting events, and they continue to create more and more events that address tough topics head-on, events that speak to the a generation that has to face challenges that previous generations didn't dream of. As the times and people have changed, so must the films that draw them in.

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