Donate to the Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation to benefit those suffering in Somalia

Donate to the Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation to benefit those suffering in Somalia

PSA Advertisement (Final): You can help turn a dream into a reality

PSA Advertisement for the Doctor Hawa Abdi Foundation

PSA Pre-Production Sketch

During Production Photo

When I began this process I had a very specific vision of what I hoped my final project would look like.  As is evident in my rough sketch, I knew that I wanted to play on the emotions of my audience, I wanted to make them feel something and use the call to action to make them understand that they have the ability to help and to truly change someone’s life.  In my research before I began my production I decided that my PSA poster would utilize dramatic conflict, a tool utilized by many advertisements today.  The dramatic conflict that my ad would face would be the conflict between an underprivileged Somali person and the every day struggles that they can not escape on their own.  Many dramatic conflict advertisements utilize a “hero” figure; in my ad I decided to make the hero figure “you” (my audience) because they were the person being called to action to help someone that so desperately needed it. Originally I had pictured in my mind a Somali woman holding her child with a dream cloud over her head picturing the way that her life could change with the helpful donations of my audience.  However, I ran into trouble when I began to look for a picture that I liked for my ad.  I had to completely alter the vision I had for my ad when I found a moving picture that a Facebook friend of mine had taken on a service trip to Kenya (a country bordering Somalia) of a crying Kenyan boy.  I contacted the Facebook friend to ask for the original file of the photograph (the Facebook photograph was much too low in quality to edit effectively) and at first she was extremely hesitant to give her picture away to me.  However, when I explained what I would be using the photograph for she became excited and immediately sent me over the file.  She is extremely interested in community and international service projects and began to do a lot of studying on the Dr. Hawa Abdi foundation on her own.  We later discussed my ideas for the PSA ad and what would and would not work and she became an extremely useful tool in the editing of her photo through photoshop (something I am not quite a pro at).

After refining the ideas that I had for my PSA advertisement I began production on the photograph I apprehended from my friend.  First I edited the picture itself without adding anything to it, I did this through I different editing software (also made by Adobe) called Lightroom.  Here I played with the colors of the photograph and turned the lighter colors to darker ones and added a Sepia toned film filter to the image.  I also posterized the image to make it seem like it might have been a painting.  This created the dramatic effect that I had intended and specifically brought attention to the teardrop falling from his left cheek.  I then moved the photograph over to photoshop.  Initially I had made everything behind his head black but it ended up washing out his features and taking away from the dramatic effects on his face.  However, when I added the “dream” cloud above the boy’s head and rasterized the shape to make it less opaque, it was hard to see against the white background behind the boy’s head.  To combat this without losing the dramatic effects on the boy’s face I put the entire photograph on a black background. I then positioned the “dream” cloud above the boy’s head and rasterized it to give it the cloudy effect; then, to separate the dream cloud from the background I positioned a shadow behind the dream cloud.  Then it was time to figure out what exactly to put in the dream cloud and what exactly my tag line would be.  I knew I wanted to include health because that is, specifically, what the Dr. Hawa Abdi foundation tries to achieve for the people it benefits, a healthier life.  I also wanted to mention specifically education because I personally think that the best way to end crisis, specifically in underdeveloped nations, is through education.  Educating both individuals being treated unfairly and individuals treating others unfairly helps them to realize why what they are doing is wrong and how they can change their life style to a healthier one without compromising their beliefs.  Next, I decided that I definitely wanted to include either freedom or happiness.  The reason why, in the end, I ended up choosing happiness to put on my PSA advertisement was honestly because I could not find a picture or symbol that was not copyrighted that I thought represented freedom in the way that I would have wanted it to be viewed.  Then, probably the hardest part of this project for me, I had to go about finding symbols that I wanted to use that did not have copyrights.  I ended up doing about 2 hours of research on copyright laws and copyright infringement to make sure that I was not doing anything illegal and to figure out where I could find this non-copyrighted photos.  Being unsure of the red cross symbol I just decided to make one myself in photoshop which was fairly easily and I thought represented health well.  It specifically represented health in a positive light; for instance, a syringe would have represented health well but a syringe has a much more negative connotation than a red cross and I wanted this little boy’s dreams to be hopeful.  I used a non copyrighted smiley face to be the obvious representation of happiness in the boy’s dream cloud.  The final symbol that I added to the boy’s dream cloud was a graduation cap to represent education.  While the graduation cap may not represent graduation in all parts of the world, since our goal was to gain the financial support of the western world I thought that the graduation cap was appropriate because (almost) everyone in the western world, specifically north America, associates the graduation cap with a successful education.  Finally I had to decide what exactly the tag-line on the advertisement would be.  I contemplated a few different options deciding that anything urging the audience to “donate” would be too pushy and drive people away (people do not like to be urged to give away their money).  I decided that the best verb to use in the statement would be “help”.  Asking for the audiences help insinuates that they can do something to change the indecencies that these people face; asking for help makes you, the audience, the hero in the advertisement.  My final tag-line decision was “You can help turn a dream into a reality”, directly addressing the audience and referring to the dream cloud above the little boy’s head.  Finally once I had completed the meat of the advertisement I added a border to tie everything together, sampling from a color on the boy’s face to keep it consistent, I made the symbols in the dream cloud slightly less opaque to keep them from taking over the image, I added the words that the pictures symbolized in the dream cloud to avoid confusion, and I bolded the words “dream” and “reality” in the tag-line of the advertisement because they were “catch words”.

I am extremely happy with my completed advertisement.  I think it displays the emotions very well and is a tempting call to action for the audience.  I also think that my advertisement accurately represents the things that the Doctor Hawa Abdi Foundation find most important.  The problems that I faced were all able to be solved through internet research or a quick email to my best friend or brother (both of which are much more photoshop adept than I am), or a Facebook message to someone more than willing to help me on a project that means so much.  Looking back, the hardest part for me was having such a clear vision in my head and being unable to carry out that vision because I did not have the proper images or amount of time.  In the end I am so happy with the photograph I chose because of the raw emotion in the boy’s face and the tear drop that you can see coming from his eyes.  My original concept for the poster is, for the most part, exactly how I completed my poster, the only differences being the actual images used for each symbol or photograph.  If I had unlimited time and could go back to improve my work I would probably take more time with the actual editing of the pictures and try to take some pictures myself to be used in the ad more effectively.  I think that this project was extremely successful, not only as a learning process, but also because it is for an organization that is so incredibly meaningful and truly can utilize what we have to offer.

Title: The woman, the child, the dream.

Format: PSA Advertisement

Concept/Theme: I plan to create a PSA ad for the Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation

Purpose/intent:  I hope to get others to donate money to the Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation in support of the suffering women and children in Somalia.

Production Plan:  I plan to make a PSA advertisement to play on the emotions of people (more specifically women) to help promote donations to the Dr. Hawa Abdi foundation for women and children.  The ad will feature a Somali woman and her child with a dream cloud above their heads.  In the cloud will be all of the things they could grow to be (a nurse, a student, a lawyer etc) with the caption “you can help to make their dreams a reality”.

Inspiration:  I have researched both about Dr. Hawa Abdi’s foundation and about the makings of an effective PSA ad (see links to resources below). I am not necessarily emulating a particular style but I am trying to find a cross between a style that is common for the Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation and something that appeals more to a western audience.   

Expected Outcome:  My audience is western young (20s) people (particularly women).  After doing some research I have found that playing on people’s emotions and their chance to make a difference is one of the most effective ways to create a PSA advertisement.  I hope that after viewing my advertisement my audience will feel inspired and empowered because they truly have the opportunity to make a change.

On March 22nd I went to see Fold, Crumple, Crush: The Art of El Anatsui, a documentary in the environmental film festival in Washington, DC directed by Susan Vogel.  The documentary follows the life and artwork of El Anatsui, a sculptor, originally from Ghana, who is a self proclaimed “found-object artist”.  This means that Anatsui uses everyday objects, even trash, to create his widely acclaimed masterpieces. The film takes place in Venice, Italy, Nsukka, Nigeria and the United States.  The film allows you to see inside the mind of the artists while he dreams, creates, and constructs converting things that we wouldn’t necessarily see as beautiful into absolutely spectacular works of art.  Anatsui particularly described in the documentary the way in which he combines both painting and sculpture to create his own unique art form. He uses his African background to give his pieces emotion but looks towards his dreams to really make them art.  This documentary is meant for not only people who are interested in preserving the environment but also people who appreciate art and heritage.  El Anatsui is a real man who chose to make art his life; he is an inspiration to those trying to do anything that may not seem attainable. 

The film’s structure was chronological and clean and used storytelling skills to illustrate the life and work of El Anatsui.  In the documentary, Vogel uses camera angles starting from the bottom of pieces and panning towards to top to capture the grand scale of Anatsui’s massive works of art.  This is shown most clearly when Anatsui’s art is pictured draped over a building in Venice.  The sound in the film was soft and almost ethereal, Anatsui’s voice and the telling of his own story was intriguing and interesting and the background music complemented this perfectly.  Throughout the film Anatsui is shown walking through the landscapes in which he is working on his art to gain inspiration; these scenes became the glue that held the separate parts of the film together.

Anatsui described his philosophy of art by saying “anything that has been touched {bottle caps, metal scraps, art] give off a specific charge.  Doing the art from these objects is a way you connect to the people who touched [the items before] it”.  This documentary serves to give an intimate look at the life and thought process of an artist that is recognized around the world and to inspire others to do the same.  He takes an original approach at a process as old as time and makes it completely his own.

Personally I really enjoyed the film.  It kept me interested the entire time and i was newly amazed by each piece of Anatsui’s work that was shown.  He is a truly inspirational man and his philosophy behind his work is revolutionary.  I knew very little about what this film would be about before seeing it.  I looked up some of Anatsui’s work and was amazed by the beauty and scale that he was able to create out of such mundane items.  I went into the film expecting to learn about his work and was presently surprised to find out that Anatsui was so incredibly humble and had such love for his work.  It is also wonderful to see a successful, seasoned artist who breaks the “tortured soul” mold.  Anatsui is a clear-eyed and clear-headed individual with a passion for what he does.