For Kosloff Torah Academy (KTA), our visual storytelling was especially important.
One of the biggest benefits of video is that the moments we capture carry tons of emotional energy; they let the audience into the story, to experience a new point of view as it unfolds right in front of them. No matter what tone you’re aiming for – whether you want to be serious, vibrant or lighthearted – video creates a sense of immediacy. This was critical for KTA, who needed to redefine their image and connect with local families in a new way. In addition to compelling interviews, they were relying on us for powerful imagery that would transport viewers inside KTA’s environment of stimulation and possibility. Graduates from such a place could go anywhere, achieve anything.
As usual, our first step was to workshop the message and give ourselves a clear direction. Working alongside Rabbi Yaakov Deutscher, we gathered that KTA provided a robust, well-rounded education for girls in a staunchly religious environment. We were able to understand their approach even more fully by relating it to the school motto: “Learn. Grow. Connect. KTA.” We took each of these verbs in turn and delved into how it was expressed in practice: instances of how the school maintained high academic standards, explored mussar and personal spirituality, and cultivated an understanding of one’s place in the world as a Jew. We were then able to come up with a list of scenes to enact onscreen.
These scenes would let the audience see KTA as a dynamic organization, not just a series of buzzwords and promises. Prospective students would relate the featured story lines to themselves and would be excited to partake in the KTA experience. When we heard about the work that the school did for the Leket Israel food bank, we resolved to do their efforts justice on camera; we even invited the Leket representative back to the school to give another presentation so that we could capture how she had inspired such a meaningful response in the first place. When we heard about how valuable students internships could be for making connections and discovering new passions, we knew we had to include Shana Weiser, who worked at a hospital as part of her twelfth grade internship. We did some extra filming in Israel, where she was learning for the year, and were able to film her at a local hospital in Jerusalem.
The video premiered at the annual dinner and was so well-received that KTA broadened their approach and looked for more ways to make use of the footage. More than satisfied with how they now appeared to prospective parents and students, KTA added the video to the school’s homepage, sent it out to potential donors, and used it for recruitment. In the two years we’ve been working together, KTA has seen their support flourish, with a spectacular 38% increase in total donations.