As many of us at Artex are new parents and are reckoning with sending our kids off to school in a world where school shootings aren’t just a distant nightmare, we wanted to find a way to use our skills and resources as a video production company in Miami to deal with an issue that touches us on a more personal level.
We chose to make a short film that makes an emotional appeal for common-sense gun reform.
We insisted that this not be a vanity project. Internally, we made a rule that we would not show the piece until we partnered with a legitimate gun control lobby that could position it to make an impact.
We found amazing partners in this regard with Brady: United Against Gun Violence, one of the largest nonprofit gun control advocates in the United States. They have been working for decades to enact the Brady Plan to reduce gun violence, which begins with securing congressional funding for research into gun violence as a matter of national health.
Creatively, our priorities were to show how gun violence seeps into our daily lives. We thought it might be more impactful than focusing on high-profile incidents, as the average parent may take false comfort in the idea that these shootings are a remote possibility.
We asked ourselves: what would fear drive us to do, as parents, to protect our children?
We then created an idea that centered around an ordinary morning routine, between a father and a daughter, with a twist: every morning, he straps a bullet-proof vest under her clothes before sending her off to school.
Rather than hit people over the head with the issue from the opening frame, we created a structure that would pull people into the everyday world of these characters, almost lulling them into complacency, before yanking the rug from under them with the vest scene.
To serve this aim, we focused on a very naturalistic approach, which included improvised dialogue between the actors, a handheld camera style, and an absence of music as underscore. We wanted to use the elements that were naturally occurring in the scene, like the morning news, the coffee maker, and the washing machine to cultivate a subtle sense of dread creeping into the normalcy of the morning routine without giving away the ending, creating anticipation for a payoff that keeps viewers watching until the call to action at the end.
With the help of two truly incredible actors, who embraced the improvisational style of the shoot, we were able to convey warmth and intimacy, which grounded the depiction of everyday horror in a realistic, universally relatable setting.
A crucial creative decision was the ending. Through the combination of the tight shot of his reaction to sending his daughter out into the world, mixed with the POV shot of seeing her run away from him, out of focus and into the unknown, we wanted to place the viewer immediately into the moment, forcing them to think about how they would feel in this situation and hopefully spurring them to act.
New Morning Routine was utilized by The Brady Campaign as the centerpiece for their 2019 outreach campaign.
In November 2019, Brady United hosted the annual Brady Action Awards Gala in Washington D.C. to honor politicians and others who work to reduce gun violence in America. At the gala, the New Morning Routine video was played for all guests in attendance, including Nancy Pelosi, Bill Clinton, Lucy McBath, Bryan Cranston, Ted Deutch, Mike Thompson, and other members of congress.
On November 13th, Congress passed a spending bill which included $25 million in funding for gun violence research, split between the CDC and the National Institute of Health. As a result, for the first time since 1996, the United States government will study gun violence as a matter of public health and will hopefully be better prepared to prevent future gun violence.
This project was honored as overall Best in Show by the American Advertising Federation in its Miami 2020 awards gala.
Artex was responsible for the conceptualization, scripting, treatment, production, and post-production for this project. This Miami commercial production was possible thanks to generous time and equipment donations from our crew.