THESE ARE A FEW Of MY FAVORITE THINGS.
It can be difficult to choose the best things you’ve made or helped make — these are some of the pieces that come to mind. Ranging from run-and-gun shoots (Norbert, Klobuchar) to well-produced and polished pieces (Bigfoot, Convention), the works below stand out in their ability to effectively communicate a deep message in an authentic way that resonates with voters.
Bigfoot was the result of many incredibly talented people going out of their way to make an exceptional political video. The production team was a dream list of some of Minnesota’s finest talent — Patrick Hunt and Doug Adkins wrote the script, Jim Stanger directed, Ace Allgood produced, and Greg Winter filmed what was instantly acclaimed by Forbes, AdWeek, AdAge, Vox, Inc., TPT, Spectator USA, PBS, GolfDigest, Mother Jones, Ozy, IJR, and the Daily Kos, the last of which called it “the best political ad since Daisy.” See for yourself!
Bigfoot was a masterful collaboration, but the Phillips 2018 Congressional District Convention video was a solitary — often lonely — work. We were facing a heated and, at times, antagonistic endorsement challenge, and I asked the campaign to take a major risk: avoid going the traditional production route and let me do it myself. I was motivated to make a video so drenched with emotion that the voting delegates would be stirred to act in support of my candidate. What followed was a frenzied production schedule of interview filming in a makeshift basement studio, gathering archival footage and audio, and spending nights on end in the editing suite.
The kicker was the ending, the only one of its kind, that used footage filmed not more than thirty minutes before the publishing of the final cut. We wanted to capture Dean’s entry into the convention hall, to build the momentum to his actual physical appearance on stage — and Minnesota decided to snow. Nonetheless, using a shoulder-mounted DSLR, I got the footage of him entering the building, rushed off to edit that footage into the rest of the video, published it, tested it, and showed it to the convention. Much of the room was in tears halfway through, and there wasn’t a quiet voice by the end of the video. Dean won the endorsement with an overwhelming margin.
THANK YOU, NORBERT
This is the kind of video I strive for. It is so unabashedly honest and genuine that it can’t help but draw a constituent closer to a candidate. Dean, as a matter of personal character, thanked every donor to the campaign in one way or another. This was always fun because he only accepted contributions from individuals — real people — and no PACs or special interests or lobbyists or any other source. What made this video special was that Dean drove in person in the storied 1960 Government Repair Truck to thank Norbert for his meaningful contribution of $50. To our surprise, Norbert was hosting his wonderful grandkids, who each took turns pretending to drive the truck with their grandfather.
This video was filmed with the absolute lightest gear I have and edited and finalized within 24 hours. It never fails to make me smile.
I had never met Senator Amy Klobuchar before, but growing up in Minnesota, you feel you know Amy. When I finally got a chance to film her as part of the Constituents in Trucks Getting Coffee series, I was enthralled by not only her love for the district she grew up in, but also her openness and honesty. (If you can’t tell, I’m a sucker for candidness.)
This video means a lot to me, too, because of the people who helped make it — Tom, with his background in journalism, and Alli, with her career in photography. They jumped right into this project with me, and the video was showcased by the New York Times. Minnesota Public Radio said about the video: “Not since Paul Wellstone have we seen an ad that does so much to humanize a candidate as the one Minnesota DFL U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar issued Thursday with DFL congressional candidate Dean Phillips.”