Contact 703-609-9490  |  trent@wattsmp.com
 

Bullis School

In 2011, Bullis School went through an extensive process of rebranding and came up with the tag line “Achieve Excellence Through Balance”.  Included in the process was a completely redesigned website, new signage around campus with Bullis’ core messages, and a series of admissions videos targeted at prospective families.  I was assigned to develop the plan for and produce these admissions videos within the allotted budget.  I ended up shooting abut 80 interviews and editing down about 15 hours of interview footage to capture the best of Bullis.  You can read the original treatment for the videos below.

Founder, Trent Watts, was assigned the task of developing a plan for and producing these admissions videos within the allotted budget. More than 80 members of the community were interviewed with questions designed to bring out the best aspects of the school. In post-production, over 30 hours of interviews, b-roll, and archival footage was edited down into three divisional videos of about 7 minutes each, as well as a general video.  Bullis increased their applications by over 40% during my time at the school.  You can read the original treatment for the videos below.

Bullis School Admissions Videos Treatment

For the Bullis School admissions videos, we will make 1 video for each division of the school. These videos will be about 7 minutes in total length and will typically encompass academics, arts, athletics, and community as these topics relate to the development of a well-rounded student.The videos will be very interview-heavy, with several students, teachers, and parents interviewed about their experiences at Bullis.   Each interview shot will be set up so the subject is looking either directly into the camera or just off-camera to give the impression they are speaking directly to the viewer.  The answers to the interview questions will then be cut together in a narrative flow so that one answer leads to the next answer throughout the entire video.  The effect should be as if the viewer is sitting in a room surrounded by people eagerly sharing their experiences one after another, practically interrupting each other to share their wonderful experiences at Bullis.

After the interviews are edited down, we will then come up with a shot list of appealing visuals to go with what the interviewees are saying.  Inevitably, there will be a mix of shots representing academics, arts, athletics, and community.  For these days, we will focus on setting up high-quality shots with proper lighting and camera movement.  Some shots may be staged, while others will not be.

These videos will primarily be hosted on youtube and viewed on the renovated Bullis website on the admissions page.  DVD versions may be provided to the Admission Office for use at fairs or presentations, but there will be no mass production of DVD’s or wide distribution.  A special email announcing the release of the video will be sent to all parents, teachers, students, and alumni.

 

Upper School Video

Themes

Responsibility; ownership; self-advocacy; citizenship; becoming a global citizen; collaborative learning; finding a passion; being celebrated in a community; creating programs for each student; students can feel good about what they do.

Teacher Questions

  1. What is your favorite thing about teaching in the Bullis Upper School or teaching your class specifically?
  2. Why did you want to come teach at Bullis?
  3. How do you feel a balanced learning environment contributes to a child’s development?
  4. How does Bullis help students find new strengths?
  5.  (for coach/advisor) Tell me the various ways you see students in the course of the day
  6. What makes the Bullis student special?

Student Questions

1. What is your favorite part about the Bullis education and atmosphere?

(if there’s a hint of something they’re excited about, get them to elaborate)

2. What is a typical Bullis student like? (Warm? Helpful? Driven?)

3. What do you like about the emphasis of a balanced atmosphere at Bullis?

4. How do you feel Bullis is preparing you for college/life after Bullis?

5. Did Bullis help you in some way discover a new talent/interest/strength, something you didn’t know about yourself or didn’t think you could do before you came here?

6. Do you feel there’s a sense of community at Bullis?

Parents/Questions

  1. What do enjoy most about Bullis and the experiences you’ve had here.
  2. If you can think back to your initial impressions of the school, and then now since you’ve been here awhile, was there any aspect of the school that you really liked and were not expecting coming into Bullis?
  3. Is it easy to talk to the teacher’s at Bullis?
  4. How has Bullis helped your son or daughter?
  5. What are your thoughts on the community aspects of Bullis?
  6. What are your thoughts on the PTA and Parent’s association?
  7. How does Bullis compare to the previous school your child attended?
  8. Describe the teachers—what makes them special or unique

Production Notes

The Upper School video should be given extra urgency as the seniors will leave campus for special projects in late may.  B-roll and interviews must be completed by then.

 

Middle School Video

Themes

Learning self-advocacy; becoming individuals; finding out who they are as a person and a learner; learning how to learn; teachers care about development of the whole child not memorization, but teaching them how to learn.  Giving students space and opportunity to explore new strengths/interests.

Teacher Questions:

  1. What is your favorite thing about the Bullis Middle School?
  2. Why did you want to come teach at Bullis?
  3. How do you feel a balanced learning environment contributes to a child’s development?
  4. How does Bullis help students find new strengths?
  5. Why do you like teaching middle school students?
  6. (for coach/advisor) Tell me the various ways you see students in the course of the day
  7. Tell me you thoughts on the middle school curriculum and how it might be different from other schools.

(possible questions to be used in later videos)

  1. (profile question) What initiatives (if any) have you led at Bullis?  Talk about how that started, where it is now, and the impact it’s had.
  2. What do you feel your personal teaching style is and the benefits that brings to the classroom?

I think it would be good to get a mix of “energetic” 6th graders and “introspective” 8th graders to help illustrate the growth kids go through in their middle school years.

Student Questions

  1. What is the one thing you like most about Bullis?
  2. (8th) How do you feel you’ve grown as a person in middle school here?
  3. Which classes do you enjoy most?
  4. What is something really cool that you’ve done in the middle school? (co2 cars, community day, etc,)
  5. What do you like about your teachers?

Parent Questions:

  1. What do enjoy most about Bullis and the experiences you’ve had here.
  2. If you can think back to your initial impressions of the school, and then now since you’ve been here awhile, was there any aspect of the school that you really liked and were not expecting coming into Bullis?
  3. How has Bullis helped your son or daughter?
  4. Is it easy to talk to the teacher’s at Bullis?
  5. What are your thoughts on the community aspects of Bullis?
  6. What are your thoughts on the PTA and Parent’s association?
  7. How does Bullis compare to the previous school your child attended?
  8. Describe the teachers—what makes them special or unique?

 

Lower School Video

Themes/Messaging:

Focus on academics through the applied-learning projects.  The video can start with the sense of community that’s created within each class and grade, to the applied-learning projects that are done throughout the year.

Teacher Interviews:

Teacher Questions:

  1. What is your favorite thing about teaching in the Bullis Lower School?
  2. Why did you want to come teach at Bullis?
  3. First, tell me some of the different applied-learning projects you’ve done this year and then what has been your favorite applied-learning project so far and why?
  4. How do you feel a balanced learning environment contributes to a child’s development
  5. How would you describe the students in the lower school? What is the atmosphere like?
  6. Why do you like teaching lower school kids?
  7. (profile question) What initiatives (if any) have you led at Bullis?  Talk about how that started, where it is now, and the impact it’s had.
  8. What do you feel your personal teaching style is and the benefits that brings to the classroom?
  9. Tell me you thoughts on the lower school curriculum and how it might be different from other schools.

In interviewing the lower school students, we want to see the excitement the kids have about coming to Bullis each day.  We will need to pick very outgoing and friendly kids that will not be camera shy.

Student Questions:

  1. Besides recess and lunch, what is your favorite part about Bullis?
  2. What do you think of your classmates and the other kids in the lower school?
  3. What was something really important to you that you learned this year in class and why are you happy you learned it?
  4. Describe your teacher (or teachers over the years)—what do/did you like about them?
  5. How do the teachers make learning fun?
  6. What about Bullis makes you proud?

Parents

Parent Questions:

  1. What do enjoy most about Bullis and the experiences you’ve had here.
  2. If you can think back to your initial impressions of the school, and then now since you’ve been here awhile, was there any aspect of the school that you really liked and were not expecting coming into Bullis?
  3. Is it easy to talk to the teacher’s at Bullis?
  4. What are your thoughts on the community aspects of Bullis?
  5. What are your thoughts on the PTA and Parent’s association?
  6. How does Bullis compare to the previous school your child attended?
  7. Describe the teachers—what makes them special or unique

 

General Production Notes

Technical Specs:

Interviews will be shot at 1080p/24 to allow for better lighting options.

B roll will be shot at 720p/60 to allow for some clips to be shown in slow motion.

Editing sequences will be set at 1080p/24.