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The goal of this installment of H-Town Stories was to illustrate the meaning and pride that hard work brings to our lives. Neighborhood Centers provides services to 400,000 Texans every year and MediaStorm hoped to create intimate portraits of just a few of these men and women who benefit from such assistance.

Client: Neighborhood Centers Inc.
Published: November 6, 2014
The Challenge
The most difficult challenge of this production was to tell the story of Neighborhood Centers, a massive organization that helps thousands, in a form that felt both intimate and personal. To compound this, we knew we wanted to let individuals tell how their lives intersected with Neighborhood Centers, rather than the other way around.

The second challenge concerned translation. Teresa speaks predominantly Spanish throughout the film, as do her children. Her interview, the narrative spine of the story, was conducted solely in her native language.

Editing in a foreign language is always a difficult and time consuming proposition. It requires the team to be extra diligent in making sure that the subject and the subtitles ultimately say the same thing.

A Heart So Big

A Heart So Big

A Heart So Big

The Solution
Neighborhood Centers understands that the way in which they change their clients lives is far more important than any “corporate messaging.”

Rather than create a film that encompassed every aspect of their organization, NCI gave us the freedom to focus on personal stories that exemplified their work. This way we were better able to understand why Neighborhood Centers succeeds.

Ensuring correct translation was a multi-step process. For starters, Director of Photography Rick Gershon, who is fluent in Spanish, was able to communicate directly with Teresa.

An audio file of the interview was then given to staff at Neighborhood Centers to translate.

Producer Eric Maierson at MediaStorm wrote Teresa’s script, then worked with Spanish speakers on staff to isolate the individual narrative bites. Subtitles were then created and then the editing process began.

When the project was complete, MediaStorm sent the film to Neighborhood Centers for feedback as well as a final check to make sure spoken words and subtitles matched.

These stories have been an instrumental part of Neighborhood Center’s capital campaign around workforce development. It has helped put a face and name to the real people that are affected by the employment issues that are discussed on both a regional and national level in an abstract way.

The film premiered to an audience of 170 people at Sundance Cinema in Houston. The film was followed by a conversation around both the films and the issues they represented. Audiences were thrilled to have an accessible medium through which to understand a complicated issue. The team at Neighborhood Centers continue to use the films to important stakeholders--including clients and donors--to show them how their work impacts the lives of everyday people.

A Heart So Big

About the Client
Neighborhood Centers Inc. brings resources, education and connection to more than 400,000 people throughout Texas each year. For more than a century, Neighborhood Centers has offered comprehensive community-based programs for people at every stage of life – from infants to seniors. The organization works with residents of emerging communities in 60 service locations to help them discover the strengths and skills necessary to become productive, prosperous and self-sufficient. Building on the strengths of individuals and communities, Neighborhood Centers is transforming them. FOR GOOD. Neighborhood Centers Inc. is a United Way agency. For more information, visit www.neighborhood-centers.org.

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