“Folks, here’s the snake chaps, be sure to put them on so the rattlers don’t get you.” Now THERE’s a phrase I’ve never heard in my 25+ years of storytelling. And let me tell you, that phrase wakes you up in a hurry. Of course my response was, “I make these look good, don’t I?”
So why was I wearing snake chaps in the first place? Well it was just another day in the life of a Creative Director running around the woods of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Each year Georgia-Pacific is audited by an independent auditor to ensure we source our natural fiber in a sustainable manner that meets rigorous environmental standards. I was tasked with bringing that story to life, but of course it could not be told wholly by GP. A company saying “we’re good stewards of the land and forest” is not nearly as strong as independent third parties speaking freely about the company. I developed a storyline and production plan that would create a natural sound piece with no scripting. The people would tell the story in their own words.
In pre-production meetings two of the key messages that came out are that there is more forest in the United States today than 100 years ago and one of the reasons for that is consumers using paper products incentivizes land owners to plant more trees. That was an aspect of paper products and the timber industry I had never heard, but it makes sense. In a sense, sustainable forestry is gardening on a grand scale. Instead of hundreds of acres of crops like corn, beans and apples, you have thousands of acres of trees. The more people use paper products, the more acres of forest are planted to meet the demand. Thus, more trees today than 100 years ago.
Working with Bill and Nick from Mother Nature News, we spent three days roaming the woods of Hattiesburg, MS with our trusty Nissan Armada 4×4 to tell the story. I really wanted a cinematic look to this story, so the crew filmed with the Canon C100 in 24p mode and long lenses to allow a lot of separation between our on camera talent and the background. I Directed the shoot, conducted the interviews and then created the first outline for the post production edit.
Telling the story was the team from the GP Leaf River Cellulose facility, PwC Auditor Cheryl Woode and the Atlanta based GP Sustainability team. Local landowner, Fred Hight Jr. set up the story brilliantly by telling us about his land which led directly into the sustainability story. Cheryl, the auditor, confirmed that not only does GP meet the required standards, but exceeds them. GP’s Forest Certification Manager David Brabham delivered the message on incentives to using paper products. And finally Fred closed out the story with a declaration that his land will be here for many years to come.
In Post I pulled together the transcripts into a loose story and then turned it over to Nick for the edit. We worked together very well to create the final story.
The entire piece came together to tell a well rounded story on the commitment of GP to ensure forests are going to be here for many years to come. Our very success depends on it.