Ken Livingstone has released a party election broadcast for his bid to become London’s Mayor that uses ‘ordinary Londoners’ to deliver his call to arms.
Put yourself into Ken Livingstone’s campaign manager’s shoes for a minute:
You are incredibly strapped for cash and you’ve realised, probably slightly too late in the day, that the airtime for your political broadcast is just around the corner.
Opting for a vox pop approach ( broadcasting term for interviews with members of the general public) is an attractive and sensible proposition for a campaign manager in your position.
Firstly, you can easily sell it to your left-of-centre candidate as being a great example of being a Man Of The People: “Ken, it’s a grass-roots approach that exemplifies your candidacy.”
Secondly, it’s cheap; there’s no expensive talent costs, set design or lengthy post-production required.
Thirdly, it’s pretty easy to do. You can even write the script! And be The Director!!
You’ve just got to pick your message, use the simplest language you can manage to create the narrative and get ordinary looking punters, in ‘normal’ looking locations, to read it out. All the while you get to gesticulate enthusiastically behind the camera and casually drop Hollywood film-making clichés.
All completely fair enough and I, put in the same position, would almost certainly do the same thing. Except…
I WOULD BUY A F*****G TRIPOD.
It’s so unbelievably distracting having the camera wobble around whilst Janet – the OAP in the local cafe – tries her absolute best to deliver a devastating commentary about police cuts.
Not using a tripod, or even perhaps a shoulder mounted camera, is so painfully amateur that it makes me want to pick up Ken’s YouTube channel and throw it out the 7th floor window of my West-London based advertising agency.
And, before you say it, no, this isn’t an attempt at using a POV shooting style popularised by the Jason Bourne films and innumerable amateur online porno clips. It’s just lazy and crap.
I’ll ignore the shitty quality of the video that is currently uploaded. They’ve, hopefully, created something of broadcast quality for the TV space, so I’ll put the tragic pixilation of the tape down to an encoding error that can be easily done (he says knowingly) and quickly amended.