On-line harassment of female sportscasters is an abuse suffered daily and director Chad Cooper, founder of One Tree Forest productions and Just Not Sports representative Brett Burke, portrayed this in #MoreThanMean, the video that reached 7 million viewers on social media.
The 4:15 video demonstrated ordinary men reading not-so-ordinary, but very real tweets, emails and other exceptionally mean comments made to two Chicago area sportcasters, Julie DiCaro, CBS Chicago anchor for 670 The Score, and Sarah Spain, ESPN Radio Host.
“One of the players should beat you to death with their hockey stick” and “I hope you get raped again” are two harsh examples of the on-line harassments. The video, reaching millions of social media viewers with no paid support and making 500 million media impressions in three days, punctuated the severity of this problem.
Burke and Cooper knew they had a story to tell, but bringing it to life in the right way was key. Cooper contacted DiCaro first, who immediately agreed to be a part of the video, then Spain, who followed suit.
Then, Cooper, who directed, said, “We called all the guys we knew to come in” to read the actual statements to these women. While Cooper uses a Sony FS7 camera and has sophisticated equipment such as drones, GoPros, wireless video and Ready Rigs, Cooper just captured the moment in the quiet, brick-walled West Loop studio with the Sony.
Nothing more was needed, it was simple and “nothing was forced.” Cooper continued, “It was one of those shoots that you could hear a pin drop and, as a filmmaker, I knew this was really powerful.”
EPs were Adam Woullard, Joe Reed and Gareth Hughes; Collin Mauro edited.
#MoreThanMean has already won three PR News Platinum PR Awards, two Mashie Awards, the Cannes Lions Shortlist, and the Shorty Social Good Award. with more anticipated. The insightful yet humble Cooper confided, “The video didn’t go viral because of the way I shot it or the camera work, but because of the topic. That’s one of the coolest things, that you can start a larger conversation. You can make a difference. That’s one of the coolest things, that you can start a larger conversation. That’s why I got into this. You can make a difference.”
Cooper and his two full-time employees, Chris Kouten, production manager, producer, and AD, and Collin Morrow, editor and producer, both Columbia College graduates, work together to find the right story that’s real for each client.
Although #MoreThanMean was completed in-house as their own project with a budget of about $300, One Tree Forest helps brands develop web content for social media exposure, creating “content at the speed of life.”
From pitching a concept to filming, and final production to upload, Cooper and his team “reduce a lot of the waste and streamline the production process.”
Cooper’s company has grown via word of mouth exponentially over the last seven years, filming in both their comfortable 3,000 sq. ft. studio or traveling the country in a customized Dodge Sprinter van to create a “video village” on location. This mobile approach allows quick turn-around with their final product.
“We’re versatile,” Cooper said. “We’re doing mobile-first content quickly to create work worth $100,000 in production value in a much quicker and affordable way.”