Vital Companies collaborated with local poet Scott Woods and the Columbus Metropolitan Library to give a new interpretation to one of Scott’s works. “A House That Cannot Fall” is a poem that was written in celebration of not only the opening of a new library, but of all libraries.
Over the years, we’ve worked very closely with Columbus Metropolitan Library. While filming the October 2018 dedication and grand opening of CML’s new Martin Luther King Branch, we heard something that was incredibly inspirational to us all. Scott Woods—a local published poet, activist, and long-time CML employee—read a poem that he wrote specifically for the library’s ribbon cutting. We were so moved by the piece that the idea eventually came to our Director of Photography, Gabriel Kaunitz, that we could create something visual to match the power of Scott’s words.
When asked about the inspiration behind the poem, Scott said that he had “two inspirations in mind: MLK library and libraries as institutions”. Scott had worked at the MLK Branch before the new building and had personal ties to its staff and the surrounding community. “If any community deserved a new library building, it was MLK. It is a library with strong community roots and active legacy patrons, with generations of families as regular customers,” he wrote. “To the other inspiration, I have always maintained that libraries are mankind's second greatest invention after music, so the references to the passages of time reference the ubiquitous nature of libraries, how they have always been there, and how any society that means to survive must have them.”
Our first step in creating the video was collective brainstorming – what does the story look like? – followed by a script outline and a sketched storyboard to create a visual of important shots and scenes. All of that was combined into a concept pitch that was to be presented to the library. Once approved, we laid out the planning process, from creating shot lists and deciding on what equipment would be required, to selecting talent and the type of crew we’d need. During all of this pre-production, Scott Woods joined us at our studio to record a portion of his poem to be used as narration for the piece. Everything culminated on May 22, 2019, when we had an overnight film shoot at CML’s Main Library.
The post-production for A House That Cannot Fall consisted of discussions on the video’s tone. The coloring of the piece, especially the change from black and white to color, was crucial. Equal importance was attributed to the original music score of the video, which was composed by Kevin Adams (our Motion Graphics/3D Animator) and produced by Fred Blitzer. The post-production process also included the creation of a short behind-the-scenes video to give an idea of how the shoot looked.
“A House That Cannot Fall” had its official premiere at Celebration of Learning, Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation’s biggest fundraising event of the year. “Scott’s poem shined a spotlight on not only the importance of public libraries to their communities, but also their importance to a civilized society,” said CML CEO Patrick Losinski. “As soon as we heard him share this gift during the grand opening of our new Martin Luther King Branch in 2018, we knew it was really a powerful emblem of the work we do.”
We hope this video and Scott’s profound words will inspire you, too. Maybe you’ll be inspired to visit your local library. You’ll see what an invaluable staple they are to your own community; from the programs and resources they offer everyone, from youth to adults. You’ll see the care that the staff and the volunteers put into their work. You’ll see how libraries are built to endure. Run your fingers along the spines of books both new and old and perhaps you’ll feel the backbone of society: knowledge.
Perhaps you’ll look up and think, “This… this is the house that cannot fall”.