Entertainment for democracy, social justice and reconciliation
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The Transformative Power of Story-Telling: An Edutainment Guide for Social Change - Step 7: Production

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 04:14

"The most important part of quality control is to ensure that you choose a service provider that you trust and whose work is of a high standard. Don't be afraid to ask questions about the production process and to be clear on the appropriate moments for making changes."

This chapter covers the production phase of an evidence-based entertainment education (EE) strategy to address situations of complex social justice and reconciliation. The most important aspect at this stage is to ensure the quality of the production. Here are a few guidelines for quality control:
  • Ensure you have a legally binding contract to ensure that the producers deliver on time and on budget.
  • Make sure the creative team are involved from the beginning at the message design workshop.
  • Keep in mind that you are the custodian of the message who must protect the goals of the campaign while at the same time being open to creative input and ideas. Make it clear in the contract that the final say rests with you and not the creative team.
  • Have a member of the project team on set at all critical times when a sensitive scene is coming up.
  • View rough cuts of footage shot that day to give you a feel of how the director and actors are interpreting the story.
  • In the case of live drama, attend rehearsals and give feedback to the producer immediately.
  • In the case of print materials, check the design pages and then check final page proofs before they go to print. Be sure that the design is fresh but that it also makes the text readable.
The resource includes a TV Feedback Guide that features questions to spark thinking about the kind of things you should look out for when you check scripts and produce episodes.

Case studies include:
  1. Colombia: Understanding the Colombian armed conflict demanded many sessions with "Romper el Silencio"'s message guardians, expert historians and specialists, victims and perpetrators, and audiences and partners. The complexity of the issues and themes addressed meant that the process became a much longer and more intense process than planned. The structure, script writing, and editing style were especially time consuming and complex to achieve. Creation and revision through participatory processes played an important role.
  2. South Africa: Heartlines contracted Quizzical Pictures to produce "Beyond the River". As with any production, the team encountered several challenges, such as difficulties associated with filming on the water. However, the "talented actors, writers, directors as well as an impressive crew...all collaborated and pulled together to produce a high quality film."
Lessons learned from Step 7 experiences:
  • Ensure that all members of the production team are knowledgeable about the formative research and the message document.
  • Arrive at production with pre-tested materials; making corrections during the production stage can be costly or even impossible.
  • Work with people who specialise in media production.
  • Don't give up on either quality or the message, both of which are indispensable.
  • Keep in mind that production can take considerable time; consult with specialists for proper planning.
  • Note that production costs may vary across different media and depending on different suppliers; look for alternatives.
  • Ensure that the message guardian or a person well versed in the strategy oversees the production and has the final say.
A Collaboration between Imaginario Foundation, Heartlines and The Communication Initiative, with the support of DW Akademie
Publication Date
English, Spanish
Number of Pages

Information sent to The Communication Initiative by Juana Marulanda, Fundación Imaginario, November 22 2022.

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