United Way of Pioneer Valley


These videos are part of a series called DITLO (Day In The Life Of). Carin Savel of The United Way of Pioneer Valley wanted to create some dynamic content to really show how United Way dollars are used. A lot of the time videos, commercials, or PSA’s like these can focus on the negative, but our objective was to take a more positive approach. We wanted a series of videos that left people feeling good!

Knowing that United Way is a non-profit organization and didn’t necessarily want to spend a fortune on the videos, we had to think simple in terms of size of the production. This challenged us to be as creative as possible in order to generate great content that really packed the abundance of emotions we were striving for.

The production of these 6 videos consisted of only a day and a half of shooting in just 2 locations. The “Veteran”, “Shelter”, “Mortgage”, and “School” spots were all shot at the Days Inn hotel in Chicopee in about 5 hours! To be able to do that you have to plan meticulously. Every shot needs to be planned and timed out. Our crew was Director, Director of Photography, Producer, and Production Assistant. That’s a fairly small crew to be able to pull off 4 complete videos (with actors) in a day! We had to make 1 hotel room look like a shelter, a motel room, and a bedroom in a house. We did that with subtle lighting, camera blocking, and some rearranging of the furniture in the room. If you notice, the shelter spot has a bluish tint to it and the shelter has a candlelight-like orange tint to it. This was all done on set using different colored gels on the lights. These were both shot while it was sunny outside and about an hour apart. Lighting is absolutely crucial to telling stories with moving images.

The second day of production we shot the school scenes. Our location was an elementary school in Westfield. We had a bunch of kids and their parents coming in for the day. Working with kids can be tough, but they turned out to be great! It was a pretty smooth day and went as planned. Couldn’t ask for more!

All of the videos were well received by the client and the public. The “Shelter” video was actually shared by the national United Way Facebook page and got more than 4,500 views within the first couple of hours it was posted.


“Thank you for your excellent vision!”
-Carin Savel

SVP Development & Strategic Communications
United Way of Pioneer Valley
1441 Main Street • Suite 147 • Springfield, MA 01103

“These look AMAZING! Excellent, excellent job….and please pass along thanks to Missy as well for the voiceover. I can’t wait to show these!
Thanks again for everything – you really did an incredible job with these.”

Marketing & Communications Coordinator
United Way of Pioneer Valley / 1441 Main Street • Suite 147 • Springfield, MA 01103