Campaign ads often try to make what is seem like something that is not – and media in general often tries to be deceptive by cultivating an uninformed consumer. When we're writing a script for someone, however, we try to capture the central ethos of both the race and the candidate by writing a very raw, connected narrative.
So what set Justin apart? What made his story worth telling?
New York City Council District 14 (Fordham, Kingsbridge, Morris Heights, University Heights) contains some of the poorest citizens in our country. In this district, the median family of 4 lives off of less than $35,000 per year, 1/3 of that goes to rent, and the cost of living is driven up further by more expensive Metrocards, lack of fresh food options in the vicinity, and not a single conventional gym in which to stay healthy.
But that's not the feeling you get when you walk around. So that information was omitted.
When we were onsite at Jerome Avenue in the West Bronx, way up past Yankee Stadium and deep into an impoverished neighborhood, we noticed that the residents of District 14 are resilient. They are optimistic, they make some of the best food in the City, and life seems to go on despite abject poverty.
These people are not wallowing in their economic status. They work hard to survive, and that's it.
Once the script was written, our footage highlighted not only the animated energy of D14 residents, but also the candidate's history of living and fighting for the Bronx. After a bunch of editing-down time wise (clearly, I'm the verbose one), we had a finished product that we were proud of, one that just slightly hinted at economic disadvantage but spoke mostly to the resilient group of people living in-district and the opportunities that would make their lives even better.