Fuquay-Varina Firsts: Celebrating Black History

Town of Fuquay-Varina
Historic conversations with primary and secondary sources are time-sensitive treasures, and video is a powerful way to archive and share these stories for a lasting impact.

There are many significant “firsts” in the Black history of Fuquay-Varina, and town leadership knew that these stories need to be recorded now.

For this series in particular, 8 representatives volunteered to share their memories and wisdom within 6 videos entitled “Fuquay-Varina Firsts: Celebrating Black History”.

The series was filmed on location at the Fuquay-Varina Arts Center, and we loved the look of individual speakers framed by an auditorium. Stages and performance theaters provide an aura of significance and illicit thoughts of art, culture, academia, politics, and spirituality- all of which fit the creative direction of this series.

For the body of the interviews, we alternated between wide and close shots of the subject(s) and used a slider to integrate movement into the footage. 

Style Frame for Close Up and Wide Shot

Each video in the series began with an establishing “hero shot” of the speaker or speakers. We also requested that each interviewee bring a few items of archival and/or personal memorabilia to hold or wear during filming. These physical items added a textural dynamic to each video, and it was moving to experience each speaker’s authentic reactions as they admired their keepsakes.

Style Frame for Hero Shot 1 and Hero Shot 2

For a preview of a few topics the series would touch on, Mayor Blake Massengill delivered an introductory message.

Forrest Newkirk spoke about his own experiences as the first Black volunteer fireman in the Fuquay-Varina Fire Department. 

Ralph Joyner, Alumni Association President, spoke about the formerly segregated Fuquay Consolidated School. 

Sherrelldine Perkins and Arone Brown spoke on behalf of their father James Brown, Fuquay-Varina’s first Black police officer. 

Pastor Nathaniel J. Wood spoke about New Providence Missionary Baptist Church- the first Black Church in Fuquay-Varina- which is still in operation, under Pastor Wood’s leadership, today.

Carl Trice spoke about Fuquay-Varina’s longest-running Black-owned business: Trice Funeral Home. 

Billy Freeman & Scooby Freeman spoke on behalf of their father William Freeman, the first Black elected official and the first Black man to serve on the town board of Fuquay-Varina. 

Each of these people and institutions has made an incalculable and continuous impact on the community at large, so we felt that it was important to see each speaker on camera. In this series, we decided to implement a new device for our “talking head” interviews- an EyeDirect. EyeDirects are patented tools that use mirrors and beam splitters to enable interviewees to look directly into the camera while simultaneously holding eye contact with the interviewer. This can make the experience of being interviewed feel a little more natural, especially for people who are not used to being filmed. 

During the edit, we collaborated with the client to choose the perfect music and motion graphic design for the overall creative direction. These final touches were the perfect polish that these important stories deserve. Not only did they create lots of engagement upon their release, they also won several awards and helped to preserve the town’s history for years to come.

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