America's Promise Alliance

America’s Promise, with support from Target, set out to learn the real reasons why students leave high school before graduation. The organization conducted 30 group interviews in 16 cities with more than 200 individuals using a methodology designed to build trust and elicit stories from young people.

All of these findings were compiled into a report called “Don’t Call Them Dropouts,” but as the report came together, the team at America’s Promise realized something was missing. The real stories weren’t coming across in a way that would spark emotion and drive change. That’s when they called us.

Patchbay Media was hired to create a companion piece for the report, but we didn’t want to just create a video version of the numbers, charts, graphs, or include all the research rhetoric. What we really needed was to tell the story, the real story of why these individuals left high school before graduation.

We joined the researchers and staff from America’s Promise in four locations across the United States, meeting the young people whose stories were featured throughout the report. Our primary goal was to get their stories out into the world. What could they tell us that numbers couldn’t? It was our goal to find out.

As the researcher guided the interview process, we asked questions of our own. As the individuals told their own very personal stories, the story we wanted to tell became clearer and clearer. Why did these kids drop out of school? If they could go back, would they have done anything differently? What are their lives like now?

We didn’t enter the process with scripts or hard prompts to “get them to say what we wanted to hear.” There were no teleprompters or talking points. We listened and engaged in a conversation that allowed us to get everything we needed to tell their story in the most powerful way possible. The result was incredibly powerful.

Some of the best work we do at Patchbay Media comes when we craft the story on the spot. Our advance preparation gives us a foundation from which to spring into the unknown, and our ability to balance preparedness with flexibility always allows to tell our clients’ stories in a very real way. What we end up with is a piece that sparks emotion in it’s viewers and drives them to take action. The Don’t Call Them Dropouts video is no exception.