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When to Pull the Plug on a Project

One of the hardest things to do in life is to walk away.

Whether it be from a job that you’re not motivated to wake up for, a dead-end relationship that’s going nowhere, or a creative project that you’ve poured your heart and energy into that just isn’t coming together, walking away is never easy.

But that’s what #CSUSocial did recently. We pulled the plug.

After a team brainstorming session, we decided to recreate a social video inspired by Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show. The video would highlight CSU’s Fight Song and would be created in the same Brady Bunch-style as the Tonight Show videos featuring our mascot, CAM the Ram, and the CSU marching band. You’ve probably seen these incredible Tonight Show videos.

If not, click HERE

The element that made our idea unique was that instead of having the band members sing the words to CSU’s Fight Song, each person would sing their own, specific, instrumental part. This concept sounded like an interesting approach to this video style because we wanted to highlight sections of the song that people don’t typically hear – the trill of the piccolos, the gusto of the sousaphones, the playfulness of the trombones – not just the melody of the trumpets.

In order to make this concept really fly, the audio had to be perfect.

To accomplish this project, there was a long laundry list of things that needed to happen. We needed to:

• Sell the idea to the marching band director

• Find marching band members who wanted to participate

• Reserve time with our mascot

• Schedule the video shoots

• Purchase a special blue screen

• Reserve the photo studio

• Edit all the voices together

• Sent specific email instructions

We coordinated with the band director. Booked our mascot and 15 band members. Overnighted the blue screen. Filmed for two days. Edited for hours… only to realize that the concept just wasn’t coming together.

Even with the help of CSU’s stellar drum major, who conducted the students during filming, we didn’t anticipate having issues with tempo, pitch, and timing.

In the end, after layering all the voices together in editing, we determined as a team that even though we had put in a lot of time and energy into this project, it just wasn’t good enough. It just didn’t sound good enough. The video did not highlight our talented band. So we pulled the plug.

It is important to remember that as social media professionals and digital storytellers, when a project does not meet your level of expectation, it’s ok to pull the plug. Sometimes you just have to walk away. But hey, at least we’re walking away with a cool new blue screen.

Jen Smith

About Jen Smith

Third-generation Fort Collins native. Former Husker and pro softball player. Loves avocados, flip flops, cowboy boots, ice cream, playing the guitar, traveling, live music, dogs and DIY projects. Hates snakes. That’s it – just snakes. Well, snakes and math. Proudest social moment: CSU’s post for #LoveWins.