Friday, March 25, 2011

Tim Pawlenty’s video guru, Lucas Baiano, talks politics, video and Ronald Reagan

On Monday, former Minnesota Governor dipped more than a toe into the Republican nomination pool...and he did so in a blockbuster-style video that is more reminiscent of a multi-million dollar car commercial than a shaky handy-cam video. With his announcement video and his epic Courage to Stand mini bio-pic, Pawlenty is fast becoming the candidate to beat in terms of web video.

We sat down with the brains behind Pawlenty’s video operation, 23 year-old Lucas Baiano to learn more about how he wrestles with web video, political preferences, and portraying the emotional quotient of a candidate.

1. How do you approach creating video for the web, rather than for television?

For my generation, the web is becoming the preferred choice. I think
smart candidates are beginning to recognize that you need to incorporate all social media elements in order to create and establish a successful campaign. The web allows for more creativity with fewer restrictions. It's real and and less filtered. The most significant benefit is that you can engage your audience and allow them to interact in terms of sharing, comments and unlimited viewing. This has revolutionized the way an audience views and experiences media.

Visual / interactive media and online features will play a prime role and be a significant component of as time progresses. Innovation is key. America will have to stay tuned - we’ve only just begun.

2. Your videos for Pawlenty have been described as “cinematic”. Do you think that political video is moving in a “blockbuster” direction this cycle, or is there still room for the handy-cam video?

Cinematic style happens to be my creative style. It's never been 'boring' and it's never been done to this extent in the political forum, so I'm excited to be pioneering a new frontier. Feedback has been positive - my generation of voters is connecting to these videos and becoming more interested in the political process and the candidates.

3. You supported Hillary in the last cycle. What made you shift to Pawlenty? Are you motivated by politics or by film?

Honestly, by both. Film and politics are my two great interests. Having the opportunity to combine them in this way is a tremendous creative canvas but you also need the most important element to connect them -- a compelling story. I try to find the EQ, the Emotional Quotient, within the person's story. With Governor Pawlenty, his is the American Story. At a young age, he had to overcome personal tragedy, challenge and hardship. Now he’s achieved so much. That's the definition of inspiration. He would make a great President and a great role model for our young generation facing their own struggles and hardships in an economic climate that's not so favorable.

4. What is one piece of advice you’d give someone looking to make political video?

When I was starting, I looked for every opportunity I could find in the field. I worked long hours for little pay, but I worked tremendously hard. If you don't take the opportunities that present themselves, someone else will, and through these opportunities, you learn and grow. Perfect your skills, be persistent, and when the right opportunity comes, you'll be prepared.

Frank Capra (Wonderful Life) once said, "Don't follow trends.....start them".
That's about the best advice I've ever heard and I keep that in mind while producing every project.

5. What is your favorite political video?

The original 1980s Morning in America ad for Ronald Reagan. A good message is timeless!


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