Start Your Journey: Making the Video

2015-2016 Issue 2

Imagine seeing your journey as a student at the School depicted on YouTube. That surreal experience will soon be the case for a handful of students and alumni, because their stories inspired the School’s new promotional video.

“We needed a video that highlighted the student experience and could be used at different events,” says Elana Trager, Senior Marketing and Communications Advisor. “We wanted to showcase what really sets the School apart, and the benefits of choosing McGill.” With the final video published, here’s how it all came together.

The video complements the School’s ‘Learn. Connect. Elevate.’ campaign that launched in Summer 2015. The School collaborated with Akufen on the video, who in turn brought in staff from Koze, a content marketing production workshop. Three of the key players were Sophie Pepin and Gabrielle Lafontaine at Akufen, and Vincent Chabot of Koze.

“Elana provided us with guidelines and the overall strategy behind the type of video required,” says Lafontaine. “Just like the print campaign, we wanted to use real students, and the idea of ‘Learn. Connect. Elevate.’” To ensure it was as authentic as possible, Lafontaine and Pepin had the opportunity to interview real students and alumni. “It was a no-brainer,” says Lafontaine. “They’re the ones who go to McGill, so they know what it’s like. It was the best part of the whole project, because their experiences are so inspiring. They talked about their studies, the friends they made, and how they connected with their instructors – it all helped to create the personas in the video.”

As a result, “every scene in the video is inspired by a real story – nothing was invented,” confirms Lafontaine. “When the student works on her business plan with her teacher, that happened in real life. When she presented it, that happened too.”

Even the locations were accurate: the crew shot on location, featuring McGill’s Roddick Gates, the School’s classrooms, offices and Client Services area, and a business owned by a current School student. “Being there helped us relate to the story,” says Chabot. “Meeting the teachers and the students made it fun and interesting. You could tell they were happy to help – there was a sense of pride.”

That feeling seems to have rubbed off on the crew. “The whole experience was so inspiring I actually signed up for a course,” says Pepin. She’ll start an English course this spring.

Until then, the entire team is anxious to present the video to the public. “It’s always fun to see people’s reactions,” says Chabot. “We’re excited to see how the McGill community will relate to the story.”

Here’s behind-the-scenes facts on how the video came together:

Many students spoke of their joy of entering McGill’s Roddick Gates for the first time
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Inspired by Marina Sonin, Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship
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Inspired by Masashi Usui, Certificate of Proficiency in English – Language and Culture
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Sammy Tork, a Client Services representative at the School
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David Horowitz, instructor in entrepreneurship
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Manon Gadbois, coordinator in the Certificate of Proficiency – French for Professional Communication
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This scene was inspired by Joanne Paquette, Certificate in Translation
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Inspired by Natalie Zhayvoronok, Certificate of Proficiency in English – Language and Culture
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“The ladder transitions appear at key moments when they’re elevating,” says Gabrielle.
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Emilie Nketiah, Career and Transition Advisor, appears on the left.
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The colour red was used throughout the video by the two main personas in reference to the McGill logo
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Shot on the 10th floor at the School
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Shot on the 12th floor at the School
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Shot on location at B-Lux Boutique & Atelier
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