#PAPeopleCount : The Present Progressive Tense

In the midst of a 5 month budget impasse that showed no signs of ending, Pennsylvania nonprofits, with unpaid invoices, were borrowing from banks, cutting services, facing service disruption and considering closures. 

The Pittsburgh Foundation hired CMPONENT to record raw material for a flexible Call to Action that would incite a media blizzard for #PApeopleCount

Time would be a major constraint.  

Even at 5 months, we both knew and hoped that the impasse may end at any moment  but for the value chain to be successful we needed our CALL TO ACTION to reference the impasse in it's current state so that viewers would act immediately and share, tweet, or write to legislators, creating a media buzz about the crisis.  

So our time constraint was not only a deadline.  The Call to Action stated in interviews would need to be revisable based on the state of the budget impasse on the first day of the social campaign.  No matter how fast we recorded the interviews or edited the raw material, if the budget passed the videos would premiere a Call to Action describing the crisis in the past tense and demanding a reform for the process.  If the budget were still at an impasse at the time of #PApeopleCount, the crisis would be described in the present tense with a call to action demanding that legislators act to pass a budget AND deliver reform.

So we engineered production to accommodate time in two ways:

First, we designed a production style that could be recorded by multiple teams across multiple days so that we could interview a massive amount of people in just two days.  This created multiple benefits: more people interviewed means more people motivated to distribute the product.

Secondly, we created a present progressive Call-to-Action.  Knowing that the piece would be evergreen if it called for reform, we coached our interviewees to describe the impact of the impasse in real time.  Prompted to describe what happens "when" the PA budget is at an impasse  Pennsylvania people shared not just how the budget impasse affects individuals today but how individuals are connected everyday, every year, in regional economies.  

The final videos were edited by The Pittsburgh Foundation and Mike Sorg demanding that legislators always remember their constituents and reform a process that values politics above the lives of the weakest and most vulnerable.