Authors – Sue Collins and Kristina Roach Moonshine Agency
This article is second in the series, written for ehospice by Moonshine Agency.
Told through the eyes of patients suffering terminal illness and their families, Life Before Death is a rallying cry for palliative care services for those beyond cure.
It’s a still, crisp Saturday afternoon. You’re lounging in a quiet room, the lights are dim and there’s a gentle glow coming from the screen in front of you. You’re feeling comfortable, relaxed even. It’s been a long week.
Beautiful, vivid images appear before your eyes. Soft music floats around you. A story is taking shape and soon, you’re completely lost in it. It’s as if the room you’re lazing in is fading away and a whole new world is coming into focus.
That’s the power of film.
And it’s a power you can tap into for your own communications. Especially for palliative care services. ‘Show don’t tell’ as the adage goes.
Humans are visual creatures. It’s been estimated that we absorb images 60,000 times faster than text while about 90% of the information our brains process is visual.
This explains why on-screen interviews, live-streamed videos and social media clips are so popular. Do you recall the last piece of content that stopped you in your tracks? We’re going to go out on a limb and say it was a video.
Video has boomed thanks to social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. They’ve never been more sharable or easier to watch. In fact, Facebook records more than four billion video views every day, while YouTube viewers watch a staggering one billion hours of video content daily.
Unlike graphics, still images or even text, video strategically shapes the way a message is delivered. Sure, your audience can switch off at any point, but the analytics tools available on YouTube, Vimeo and other hosting platforms tell you when your viewers are clicking away. This allows you to not only track the content that is cutting through, but also the videos that aren’t performing as expected.
This is great news for communications folk as it makes video the most measurable form of online content, as well as the most poignant – which is why many of us watch videos in the first place. While some of us might gravitate towards idealistic stories, videos that explore the raw experiences of being human are just as captivating and compelling.
A great example of this is Life Before Death, an impact film project Moonshine Agency released in 2012. It is an intimate, hopeful and life-affirming collection of stories about living well and dying better. Told through the eyes of patients suffering terminal illness and their families, Life Before Death is a rallying cry for palliative care services for those beyond cure.
Comprising a feature film, 50 short films and a television documentary, Life Before Death was shot across 11 countries and follows the remarkable health care professionals advocating for better access to pain management. After a screening of the feature film, The Chairperson of the Cancer Support Network of Zambia said,
“This was the most unexpected outcome but a necessary one. Kitwe Central Hospital serves a population of 2 Million people on the Copperbelt Province of Zambia but has no specialized facility for cancer treatment. A tumor center added to that hospital will save a lot of lives. Once again, thank you for providing the movie – it has helped to influence the Hospital Administration to start this very important project.”
Published to YouTube almost 8 years ago, the short films continue to speak to audiences from all walks of life as well.
Carmen’s Story has garnered significant attention, clocking more than 700,000 views.
A citizen of the world, Carmen lived on almost every continent, designing apparel for some of the word’s most lucrative fashion brands. She was preparing to launch a new label in Japan when she was given a heartbreaking diagnosis: cancer.
Carmen’s cancer was aggressive and she generously discussed her treatment, which included palliative care, for Life Before Death. Although achingly personal, there is something universal about Carmen’s Story that has touched viewers profoundly.
Comments posted to YouTube include:
This was 7 years ago, and has found it’s way into my recommendations today…. 2021. The universe man. Rest in peace Carmen, your fight was not in vain. Life is so precious.
Believe it or not very little or no pain control is not unheard of… So sad nobody should suffer while they’re dying…
I have hEDS and this woman just comforted me beyond the grave. I needed her today. So glad I found her. I’ll write her words on my heart.
Anyone suffering from unremitting, intractable pain, should have access to opioid pain medication if they need it.
Despite the intimacy of it all, publishing Carmen’s Story to a public platform like YouTube allows those outside of the medical community to contribute to this important conversation too.
As with all social content, affording your audience the opportunity to ‘have their say’ creates a deep sense of connection. This is perhaps the greatest power of video: its capacity to share ideas widely and generate engagement 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. This helps to stimulate word of mouth and get your message in front of those who can actually enact change.
Giving you more time to settle on your sofa and surrender to your favourite film.
If you’d like to learn more about what film and video can do for you and your mission, head to https://moonshine.agency/
And to learn more about Life Before Death, please visit
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