The Great American Eclipse coincided with the Connecticut Open in August of 2017. While in New Haven providing coverage I was tasked with creating an original all-access piece when we had media time with the top seeded players. Before the tournament I had thought about doing a piece with some players reacting to watching the eclipse. But obviously that video would be finished after the event. It would not benefit from the momentum of the national conversation, hype and excitement about the coast to coast celestial show.
My concept for a PSA was approved and I wrote the script the day before our all-access sessions. Having the benefit of working with these female players in the past, I knew their personalities well enough to write lines that suited their delivery.
It was definitely a blast writing, directing and editing. I really enjoy working the Connecticut Open because the tournament director, Anne Worcester allows for so much latitude to create original content. The team in New Haven scrambled and came up with all of the props needed. Katie Spellman, the new PR director for the tournament, is very well connected having worked for the WTA and also repping players. Her ability to cajole players and worldwide tennis contacts to share and retweet the piece meant that the video reached an audience that dwarfed all of our previous output from the past three years.
I enjoyed doing the voiceover, making the tennis ball eclipse graphics, picking the 1950s light and lively orchestral track. Editing meant that some fun jokey parts were left on the cutting room floor. But I think the piece ended up being tighter and more watchable as a result. This video and the Connecticut Open Debate video from 2016 rank as two of my favorite pieces we have created recently. Obviously there is limited interest and fans of European tennis players is niche audience, but making something from scratch that people respond well to and enjoy is one of the most rewarding parts of the job.
Over 350 retweets.
Vital message re TODAY’s #eclipse from #CTOpenTennis astronomers* @Petra_Kvitova @ARadwanska, @KikiMladenovic @Cibulkova
*not astronomers pic.twitter.com/HGJiAoTWjU
— Connecticut Open (@connecticutopen) August 21, 2017
When measuring views as metric for determining success, this video was 500% more successful than our all-access piece from 2016.