Jackson State University’s Day of Giving is an annual one-day fundraising event that affords JSU alumni, employees, parents, students, friends and the community an opportunity to give back to the university, and more specifically to programs and causes that are important to them. Our objective was to creatively produce a short film that would accomplish three goals: entertain, inform and inspire. Firstly, we wanted to entertain our target audiences with nostalgic comedy, harkening back to the 90’s sitcoms that many of us grew up with. Secondly, we wanted to inform them about some of the great things happening at JSU and how their gifts have helped students. Finally, we wanted to inspire them to partner with us by giving toward our one-day goal of $500,000.
When considering how we’d accomplish our objectives, we thought about our target audiences, which were mainly JSU alumni, employees and supporters, and how we could use video to entertain, inform and inspire them. We realized that many of our target audience members were part of the age-demographic that would remember those famous 90’s sitcoms that had us all glued to our television sets. We decided to produce a film that would borrow from shows such as “Martin”, “A Different World'', “Family Matters” and “The Fresh Prince.” So we researched some of the characters and scenes that we could borrow and amend for the purpose of achieving our objective.
As we continued developing the ideas, our writers pulled data and information from several sources to help refine the concept, including:
Past unveilings/naming opportunities
The university’s photo database
Former student inventions
JSU faculty/staff quotes from university news articles
The JSU President’s recently released strategic plan, Elevate.
Our strategy was to develop a script that would feature JSU students, alumni or employees playing the role of several well known 90s sitcoms characters. The plot of the story would center around a young potential female student who’s being led on a tour of the JSU campus by a current student. In the course of the tour, the two would encounter several interesting characters and comical scenarios all while the excellence of JSU was revealed to the viewers.
Although classic sitcoms inspired this project, a title was needed that spoke specifically
of Jackson State University and its distinction. We considered three facts:
1877 is the founding year for the school
JSU is affectionately referred to as THEE,
The university is the epitome of the popular saying, For The Culture.
Therefore, we decided the title should be “1877: For THEE Culture”.
After writing and revising the script for the film, we then begin casting for the film and identifying shoot locations. Our assistant director and location manager put together the shoot schedules and call sheets and we commenced the filming stage of this project. Over a course of a couple weeks and several film days, we completed the filming stage and moved to post production. After several rounds of editing and revising, we finished editing the film and scheduled its premiere on the university’s YouTube and Facebook accounts on July 29, 2022 at 6pm.
This project could only be deemed successful if we met our goal of raising $500,000 on Friday, July 29, 2022. However, we did better than just meeting our goal. We actually surpassed our goal by raising more than $600,000. The 2022 JSU Day of Giving Film, ‘1877 For THEE Culture’, had earned more than 4K views on Facebook and YouTube. Additionally, there were 313 comments and 115 shares of the post on the Jackson State University Facebook page. On Youtube, there were 190 comments in the live chat box during the premiere.