Summer Internship and a Motion Story Video

Guest post by Mia Madrid ’15. 

This summer I interned at Water for People, a Denver-based NGO that works to bring improved water and sanitation to communities all over the world.  Water for People is pursuing an exciting new approach to the global water crisis called “Everyone Forever.” The program’s ultimate goal is to create adaptable, community-run solutions to ensure that these districts never need international water aid again. I worked with the CEO, Ned Breslin, an incredibly passionate man with an infectious enthusiasm for wells and toilets. He asked me to create a short video that could explain this program to people who don’t work in the water sector. During my senior year of high school, I made a similar video for Water for People about cholera, one of the deadliest water borne diseases, and Ned wanted me to use the same method for this project.

Originally, I was inspired by RSA Animate, a group that creates highly elaborate drawings in their videos. I was intrigued by the way that they made complicated ideas accessible to a large audience. Unlike the people at RSA, I’m no artist, so I didn’t do any of my drawings freehand. Instead, after several drafts and meetings with the marketing and communications board at Water for People, I sketched the storyboard very lightly in pencil. During the filming process, I used colored pens to draw over my sketches. This stage was a bit of a nightmare because if I made any major mistakes, I would have to start over completely with a new poster. Thankfully it was done in one take! After filming, I used iMovie, software I’d never worked with before, to edit nearly two hours of footage down to four minutes, and then added my voice-over.

I enjoy these types of videos, known as “motion stories,” because they create an appealing animated effect that is not overly polished. As of now, my video has been viewed 503 times on YouTube and has been tweeted and re-tweeted by groups such as Circle of Blue and the Skoll Foundation. Ned has used the phrase “gone viral,” but I’m not so sure! Ned and I have brainstormed about another video that would address the difference between inputs and outputs in the water sector, and I have been tentatively asked back to work for Water for People overseas next summer. As a rising sophomore, I am currently pre-med with a possible sociology major, and I’m considering pursing an MD-MPH program.