Case Study: Goodtastic/Miami Day School
Goodtastic Films partners with Miami Country Day’s Lower School to create a series of dynamic short films. The results we were able to produce for the school include:
● The series of short films Goodtastic created for the Lower School became culturally pivotal for students, families, and staff alike.
● Both teacher recruitment and prospective student/family outreach were positively impacted.
● Student enrollment increased 60%, a gain that was attributed by the school’s director in large part to Goodtastic’s film series.
How Do You Tell a School’s Story?
It’s difficult to give an accurate sense of a school using only words. Photographs can help, but even stunning images still can’t fully convey how a campus feels, what the people are like, or what the “vibe” of the place is.
That’s a problem that Jenny Knight, the director of Miami Country Day School’s Lower School, knows all too well.
Ms. Knight knew that the Miami Country Day “vibe” needed more than words and pictures to be successfully conveyed to the families of prospective students and to the teachers she wanted to attract.
She’d even tried video before, working with one of Goodtastic’s South Florida competitors.
Then she saw a Goodtastic short film. Ms. Knight called us, and we got to work.
Lights: About the Client
Miami Country Day School’s story began in 1938, when an elementary boarding school for boys was founded. Enrollment expanded in the 1950s and 1960s and the school became co-educational in the 1970s.
Miami Country Day has over 70 years of experience educating some of Florida’s best and brightest, including well-known professional athletes and performers such as:
● Emily Estefan (musician)
● Christian Gaddis (NFL player)
● Zoe Kravitz (actress/singer)
● Sandon Stolle (professional tennis player)
● Briny Baird (PGA player)
● Scot Drucker (professional baseball player)
The school also boasts some academically impressive credentials. Miami Country Day’s team ranked nationally in the Junior Engineering Technical Society TEAMS competition two years in a row, taking first place in 2007. (JETS was a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting STEM careers to young people, and was acquired by the Technology Student Association in 2011.)
Miami Country Day has earned accolades from a number of sources, as well. W Magazine named it south Florida’s “hot school” in its December 2006 issue, and the school has also been named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.
Camera: Preparing to Make Our Client a Star
Ms. Knight “wanted to create a powerful message about the nuance of our Lower School community.” That was our mission, and that’s what we set out to do.
Our first step is listening to the client and feeding back ideas, until we’re sure we're in agreement about what they want and how we will achieve their vision. Then we have internal discussions about how we can take the project beyond the client’s expectations to maximize their vision.
We send a project description and estimate to the client for approval, and we're off and running!
Often we’ll work with a liaison from the organization to arrange a production schedule, while we research the topic and prepare interview questions. Filming schedules are planned down to the minute, but on set we're always flexible and looking for the spontaneous and unexpected moments to capture and include.
Once we have the footage, we watch and log every frame, pulling out moments and quotes that cause us to react emotionally. The film is made from these best bits. We add music not as "wallpaper" but to enhance the scene. Sound design is added to create another dimension, so that the viewers feel the scene unfolding all around them. The film is polished again and again like a fine gemstone to create a seamless viewing experience.
This penultimate version is sent to the client for feedback. Often the film is approved right away, but sometimes the client requests minor changes. Once the final film is approved, we upload it to an online video platform for immediate use. The client also receives a custom thumb drive with the film, and sometimes free bonus material such as promotional photos from the video.
We love to follow-up with clients to find out how audiences are reacting to the video, and we use this opportunity to learn ways we can refine and improve our service. Often at this point, the client is already discussing the next project!
Action: Getting Goodtastic Films Made
We began the collaborative process of working with Miami Country Day by soliciting Ms. Knight’s ideas for the films she had in mind. After extensive site visits and many conversations, we submitted a formal proposal for the film.
Ms. Knight assigned a teacher to serve as our point of contact and facilitated our scheduling of any interviews the film needed. We would typically take several days and shoot 20 hours of raw footage to produce a film of about 6 to 10 minutes in length.
Goodtastic then got to work editing the raw footage. A few months later, Ms. Knight reviewed the work, made whatever editing suggestions she had (“usually minor edits,” she says), and we made those changes, ultimately delivering the final film on or before the agreed-upon date.
And the Critics Say …
The audiences love Goodtastic’s films about Miami Country Day’s Lower School! Ms. Knight uses them as recruitment tools to attract top teaching talent from all across the country.
The films also get shared by parents to their friends with children who are prospective MCDS students -- nothing tells a prospect’s family what it’s like to attend Lower School quite like our films.
Ms. Knight also shares the films with professional colleagues: “I teach a week-long course in the summer to other Lower School Directors around the country. When I share one film, the impact is viral.”
And student enrollment has increased 60% over the last six years, which Ms. Knight says is at least partially attributable to the strength and power of the film series we created for them.