Over the past decade, Nashville has grown at such a breakneck pace that locals joke the unofficial city bird is the crane. But in the race to erect a skyline crowded with gleaming new towers, developers have demolished an alarming number of historic buildings in the process. More and more Nashvillians have become worried that all this unrestrained progress has come at too heavy a price, so in 2022 several of them launched a new preservation society. And they needed a short documentary video to make their case.
What is the price of growth?
Finding the story
This type of project is our sweet spot, because it was as much a journalistic endeavor as a creative one. There was a rich story to be told, but the client needed our help to find it. So we began researching the issue, meeting with the leading voices, outlining a narrative, and assembling a cast of characters who would deliver thoughtful performances. The result was an informative and entertaining short documentary that, in the process, made preservationists out of us all.
How we worked
This project for the Preservation Society of Nashville is a perfect example of how we bring it all together. The research phase is where we did all our gathering — things like identifying experts and collecting television news footage. Then we moved into the creative development phase, which is where we took everything we learned and everyone we met and organized them into a story. By the time we began production, we had a very good idea which pieces of the puzzle we needed to capture and how they all fit together. This made for an extremely efficient production phase. How efficient? We shot the entire short film in three days.
We’ve gone back and forth over the years to define exactly what to call our style of documentary filmmaking. Our work is full of original reporting in a classic documentary sense, but it’s also highly-stylized and usually executed more like a commercial production (storyboarded shots, better production equipment, etc). One of our cinematographers landed on the term “documentary plus” to describe what we do, and it kind of stuck. It’s solid documentary filmmaking, for sure, but we go further, hopefully in the direction of commercial art. Our work is intended to move people, and so we pull every creative lever to reach for their hearts and minds.