I've Switched to Dean for President

How To Make Your Own
“Switch” Video

Would you like to have your own Switched to Dean video posted on this Web site? We will take the best submissions and feature them in a special section. Follow the instructions below to get started.

All of our Switch videos follow a specific format (white background, music, logo, all in 30 seconds). But we'll give you a choice. You can either create your own Switch video by duplicating that format following the instructions below, or create a short (under 1 minute) video in the style you prefer using your camcorder or webcam.  In either case, it would be good to cover the Questions listed below.

Once you've completed your video and would like to submit it to us, send us an email at and we'll give you further instructions.

Video Set-up:

  • Find a pure white wall or buy an 8’ X 4’ foam core from an art supply store.
  • Position foam so that the subject has some side- and headroom and when zoomed out.
  • Light the background so that the white is blown out. If your camera has “zebra stripes” to indicate when whites are too bright, then the background should be exposed so the white is just barely over the limit.
  • The subject in the foreground should stand 3-4 feet in front of the background. He or she should be brightly lit but safe according to the zebra stripes.

Audio Set-up:

  • You should have a directional microphone on a boom.
  • The sound person can get as close as your framing allows, angling the mic towards the subject’s mouth from above the frame.
  • A well-hidden lavalier microphone will do as well.
  • The mic should be on Channel 1.
  • The room you use should be very quiet and with no street or foot traffic noise audible.
  • Listen to the audio with good headphones while interviewing the subject and frequently check to make sure you have strong levels.

Interview Set-up:

  • Ask your subject to sign the release.
  • Try to put your subject at ease so they will appear relaxed on camera.
  • Ask your subject to look directly into the camera. This is not easy for everyone, so try to stand very close to the camera in case they are tempted to look at you after answering the question. Retake the question if you don’t feel that your subject was looking into the lens.
  • Tell your subject to try to include your question in their answer. It is very possible that their answer might be unusable if we can’t tell what they’re talking about.

Camera Framing:

  • After each question, reposition the camera framing.
  • The framing is up to you, although the camera should never get so wide as to see below the subject’s knees. The frame can be off-center so it cuts off the subjects shoulder. Try to shoot at least four different positions in each interview.

The Questions:

“What party or candidate did you previously support”

(“I used to support Bob Graham”, “I was previously an Independent”, “I’ve always voted Republican”)

“Why did you switch to Dean?”

(“I choose to switch to Dean because‡”)

“What is it about Dean’s campaign that excites you?”

(“I really like the way that Dean supporters are so enthusiastic‡”)

“Which of Dean’s policies are most important to you personally?”

(“I think that Dean’s economic plan makes a lot of sense‡”)

“Please state your first name, your occupation, and say
‘I’m taking back my country’ or words to that effect.”

Make sure that the final name statement is done succinctly. Feel free to improvise questions but try to focus on people’s true feelings about Dean.

The Edit:

The edit is a jigsaw puzzle but with a way to cheat. To make a perfect 30 second spot, start by putting in the ending name statement. Butt the “” graphic up against that. Then go back to the top and insert a good starting statement. Look through the remaining footage to find appropriate clips that fill in the space from the opening statement to the graphic.

Here are two tricks to help if you get stuck:

  • The graphic can change length and can cover nearby cuts.
  • If you desperately need to cover a jump-cut, use a brief segment of the subject smiling or laughing (but not talking) from an outtake.

Once the picture is cut, lay in the music. Keep the music level low, but raise it slightly during the graphic.

If you want to use the official Dean script font, you can buy it from type designer & Dean supporter Brian Willson’s Type Quarry


You have your very own “Switch” commercial. Now show it to people. If you'd like to share it with the world on this Web site, contact us at and we'll tell you how.

Make your own video
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