A video providing information to prospective students about financial aid at Genesee Community College has earned a prestigious Telly Award. Forest Productions & Photography, Inc., of Buffalo, with whom the College worked on the project, was recognized as a Bronze Winner in the 35th annual contest.
Nearly 12,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries competed for Tellys, the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs; the finest video and film productions; and online commercial video and films. Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators and corporate video departments in the world.
The two-minute financial aid video utilizes animation and clever graphics to guide students through all the possible sources of financial assistance and how to pursue them. Michael Mandolfo of Forest Productions & Photography, Inc., began discussing ideas for the video with the College in December 2012. The video, created through a computer and audio recorder, was completed in May 2013.
"GCC challenged us with creating a nontraditional video that would appeal to young people," Mandolfo said. "They wanted a hip and attractive way to get this information across. We thought the animation would help the viewer navigate through the information using techniques like graphics, symbols, color, texture and music."
Working with director of Student Financial Assistance Joe Bailey and admissions staff, Mandolfo crafted a script, narrated by GCC graduate Samantha Vogt ('13), that takes a direct, yet playful, approach to sharing the information.
For example, in one section, the narrator states, "The Federal Pell Grant is free money that you don't have to repay. That's the best kind!" The video advises students on applying for everything from grants to loans, filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student AID) and TAP (NY Tuition Assistance Program), "It's really easy," the narrator offers in a supportive tone.
"Everyone dreads filling out these forms," Bailey said. "We wanted to reduce the intimidation factor through this video." Bailey's name is featured on a "Hello, my name is Joe" name tag in the video as the narrator describes "friendly staff ready to help answer your financial aid questions."
The complete video can be seen here: http://www.genesee.edu/offices/finaid/.
GCC has worked with Mandolfo's Forest Productions & Photography, Inc., on numerous projects through the past 10 years. "GCC allows me to be creative and explore new ways to convey information," Mandolfo said. "I am proud to share this award with GCC."
Founded in 1979, the Telly Awards are judged by more than 500 accomplished industry professionals, each a past winner of a Silver Telly and a member of The Silver Telly Council. The Silver Council evaluated entries to recognize distinction in creative work. Entries do not compete against each other but are judged against a high standard of merit. Less than 10 percent of entries are chosen as winners of the Silver Telly, the highest honor. Approximately 25 percent of entries are chosen as Bronze Telly winners.
"The Telly Awards has a mission to honor the very best in film and video," said Linda Day, executive director of the Telly Awards. "Forest Productions' accomplishment illustrates their creativity, skill and dedication to their craft and serves as a testament to great film and video production."