- Shmuel Hoffman
Updated: Mar 3, 2020
Maybe you're familiar with Early Intervention.
Early Intervention is a government-funded way to help kids with developmental delays get therapy early on - from the time they're born till age 3 - so that they can function and succeed in life later down the road.
The best time to solve a problem is, of course, right away, before it can balloon into something bigger.
Goldstar Rehab is one of the leading early intervention agencies in the Philly area. They called us a few months ago with three goals:
1. to create a film showing appreciation to their therapists
2. to help market their agency, by reaching parents online and on TV at that moment when they're just starting to get help, and to let them know that they do have a choice
3. to reduce stigma associated with getting help, and to empower parents to pursue early intervention services for their child and select Goldstar as their provider
What normally happens is that the county will evaluate a child and then connect their parents with an agency that refers therapists for different needs, like speech, occupational therapy, play therapy, etc.
Most parents at this stage don't know that they have a choice of agencies, or which agency to choose, and they are often overwhelmed by the fears and hopes they have for their child, on top of the day-to-day struggle of raising children with developmental delays.
Our goal with this film was to reassure parents and show that there are other parents who started off scared, but that through working with Goldstar therapists, their kids have made tremendous progress, and in many cases, end up going to mainstream kindergarten in the right class for their age.
The typical approach we've seen with such films was that a videographer would interview therapists, who would tell stories about the miracle cases they've had and the tremendous progress kids make.
But with this film - as with all of our films - we don't want to hear about something if we can't somehow show it. We don't want to hear from a therapist about a happy parent; we want to interview that parent themselves! We want to go deep. We want to go where the struggle is. We want to show the huge transformation of the kids, and only the parents can really tell that story.
Parents are the end-users making the decision, so they need to see themselves in the film; they need to see other parents who've been in their situation.
Through our research, we discovered that not only did parents not know where to turn, they also were scared that it was a long and involved process, and they were hesitant to get help in the first place. In our film, we address these concerns, so that Goldstar's potential customers can feel at ease and overcome any barrier that's keeping them from getting help.
It was such a powerful experience for all of us on the team, from the film crew to the editors. We walked away from this project knowing one thing: Early Intervention saves lives: those of the kids and those of their parents.
Working with the Goldstar office staff and with the therapists - and their gracious clients - was such a treat. The staff are some of the friendliest, most responsive and responsible, get-it-done people. They made it easy on our end - they planned all the appointments and we just went in to film. While the subject of this film is very emotional, families were willing to share their stories with us because of the light touch and sensitivity of the Goldstar therapists and office staff. It was really an inspiration for us to work on this piece.
Thanks for watching.