Celebrating 200 Years of Hamilton College History

Still from Hamilton College video

Each time we engage a new client there is a rush of elation… before reality sets in. It’s not an easy task, stepping in to tell someone else’s story – especially an entire college’s story – trying to capture what best represents the college and its mission. Every film challenges us, but joining with the team from the college, a partnership is formed to tell the college’s story in the most nuanced and effective way possible.

By the end of the process, not only is a unique film produced, but also friendships are formed. This weekend was the culmination of such a process. Vern and I were invited to upstate New York to join thousands of alumni, parents and friends at one of the oldest colleges in the nation – Hamilton College.

With Vern at the International Quorum of Motion Picture Producers’ annual conference in Sydney, I was honored to represent Tribe Pictures at the premiere of our ten-minute film “Hamilton College: The First 200 years”. The film kicked off Hamilton’s Bicentennial Celebration and launched the school’s fundraising campaign.

As storytellers we spend months living the client’s film, capturing the proud history of a college, the vibrant campus life, its ambitions for the future. And in Hamilton’s case our film brought a crowd of 700 to tears and thunderous applause! Of course, it’s our job to trigger emotions, draw the viewer in, and command their attention. We want our films to move people. But it is always gratifying to witness their enthusiasm and appreciation.

During the course of producing films for colleges and universities, it’s always a thrill to spend time meeting new and interesting people, hearing about their lives, bringing those stories back, and incorporating them into our work. It’s my job, but it’s also like continuing education for me. Vern and I tend to fall in love with each college for whom we work, and since we’re not going to enroll, at least we can get to know them well and tell their stories.

And how do we do that? How do we touch a nerve, jog a memory, or motivate a response? Stories. Through stories ideas are communicated; people influenced; and history chronicled. Stories about educational institutions, at their heart, are stories about people. That’s what we love to do, and that’s what we do best. We are pleased we did it once again. This time for Hamilton College

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“It’s one thing to understand the role of video in business communication, it’s another to know how to use video to solve actual business problems. Vern Oakley gets that.”


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