Advocacy video is a very specific type of video, with clear aims and objectives. Advocacy is working toward a certain position, result, or solution. Advocacy video is not the same as participatory video or alternative media although it may contain aspects of these as well. I also think that advocacy video is part of but not synonymous with activist media. I think that activist media can come in many different forms and is less restricted than advocacy video which has a specific aim to activate a specific audience for a specific cause. Where as activist media can entail any media that is made in reaction or against the status quo. It does not necessarily have to activate the audience, but can be activist media purely in its creation.

The reason I draw this distinction is because of Caldwell’s explanation of Step 4: Define your audience and think through how to communicate your message to them. “Having a clearly defined audience makes it easier to shoot and construct a compelling argument using video,” (8). This is so valid. I agree that it is integral for an effect advocacy piece to be aware of its audience and message; that is simply how it will be successful. But I think the necessity to have your audience shape how you construct a piece is not integral for activist media. Sometimes the personal is more important and integral to a piece, and being constrained by what an audience will be receptive to can put you at the mercy of dominant culture. That is why I see the two differently.

Caldwell also says, “So how do you define your audience? You must decide which audience has the most influence on the change you seek, and whether that audience is accessible to you…Recognize what will be appealing, persuasive, or intriguing to them,” (9). Again, this seems like pretty legit advice for this type of video. It’s hard to imagine another way for advocacy video to be effective. My only critique of this is that often this ‘audience who has the most influence’ are those with power, white upper-class men (although this is not always the case). It just seems like censoring to me. Diluting your message to make it digestible by the dominant class. It sucks that this is something that is so necessary to get support. That’s why I think activist media differs from advocacy video because it does not have to abide by those same constraints, although that is done on a case by case basis. Yeah, so those are just some of my thoughts on this subject.


About alexamuniz

Media Studies major at Scripps College '16.

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