Creative Director Rich Russo of ad agency Euro RSCG Worldwide called on the talents of award-winning editor Jeff Ferruzzo of Outside Editorial for a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) for the Coalition for the Homeless. The nation's oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping the homeless, the organization's new PSA entitled "When All Else Fails" features :90, :60, :30 and :15 versions; and is currently airing on the E-Health Network throughout New York.
Concepted by Euro's Rich Russo and directed by Gary Lankford, with cinematography by Kevin McKnight, "When All Else Fails" informs New Yorkers about the growing epidemic of homelessness in their city. A diverse group of homeless (men, women, and even children) depicted in a montage sequence are empowered, given a voice, as each reads excerpts from a "New York Magazine" article addressing the issue. As an image of a man's face fades into that of a child, the narrator delivers an alarming statistic: the average age of a homeless person in New York City today is nine years old.
According to Russo, reading the "New York Magazine" article, which is critical of the current Bloomberg Administration, gave him the idea for the PSA. "I thought it would make a big impact to see the people most affected by homelessness read the article itself," he explains. "And then I asked the best people I knew to get involved. Everyone I asked said 'yes.' That meant a lot to me, and the final product is something we can all be proud of."
Coalition for the Homeless - Facts - (2008) :30 (USA)
For Director Gary Lankford, as soon as he was asked by Russo to get involved and knew that Jeff Ferruzzo at Outside was editing, it was a done deal for him. According to the director, within a few days, he and Kevin were in New York scouting locations and then shot the piece over the weekend on a Sunday. "Besides working with Rich again, and on a project that he has a lot of passion for, it also gave us the chance to shoot digitally on the new Red Camera," details the Director. "This technology was perfect for this PSA, because we were shooting real people, so we were able to run long and not cut. And I don't think we could have captured the moments we got, if we had shot traditionally on film."
Coalition for the Homeless - When all else fails - (2008) :15 (USA)
Once production was over, the footage went to Outside Editorial in New York and to Jeff Ferruzzo, a recent AICE Award winner for "Best of New York." "Going through the footage was heartbreaking," notes Jeff. "The way Gary captured these subjects, who had never been filmed before, and the reads he got from them was amazing. The choices were endless; the visuals were stunning. It came together really nicely. I enjoy editing in general, but when it's for a good cause like this one, that's even better."