18 August 2008

A Message from the CAACR Ad's Videographer?

Note: this appears as an anonymous comment following this story; it's worth its own post. Shortly after it appeared in the comments section, another anonymous commentor replied in defense of Allen Media Strategies, and you can read an edited version of that response here.

Dear MPandGS,

I happened to stumble across your blog this morning while doing some research of my own. The connections you have drawn out concerning the CAACR video and Cristi Adkins are accurate. I know because I am the videographer that produced the "Obama Rhetoric Video" as it was so named, for the Coalition Against Anti-Christian Rhetoric, or CAACR. I can not speak of some of the other connections you have made.

Here's how things unfolded:

-Cristi Adkins approached us in February asking for a quote to produce a 30 second smear ad against Obama (for the CAACR). We quoted the job but they then declined due to the cost.

-We were approached again in late May for the same ad, except this time, we were told that someone (Mike Donovan) was able to raise the funds. We were to have the video completed in time to air the commercial prior to the primaries in South Dakota and Montana. We debated if we wanted to do the work because some of the imagery described was questionnable. Mike D. was presented to us as the financier, and as such, had creative control of the project. Mike discussed the video with us, and after providing an outline, we agreed to do the production since the imagery had been toned down.

-Mike drafted a "script" of the commercial and provided us with the photos used in the video. We were instructed to also use a video clip from YouTube which was a speech Obama gave on religion.

-We began production on Wednesday, May 28th. We had to do some deletions of the script in order to reach the 30 second target, but working with Mike via phone, youtube.com, and e-mail we finally developed the finished ad.

-On Friday, May 30th we had the video transferred to BetaCam tapes and sent them via UPS them to Allen Media Strategies (for delivery on Monday June 2. I sent it to them b/c Burke had purchased media time for the commercial per Mike's request. We also uploaded the video to a YouTube Account (caacrvideos) that Mike had set up. Finally we sent a high res copy to Mike and Burke via a site called USendIt.com

-Payment for the video was to be paid net 14 days after delivery per a contract between us and the CAACR, drafted and signed my Mike Donovan. Mike has not paid anything toward the debt and it is my understanding that he has never paid Burke for the media buy, either.

-The video almost immediately got a negative response. I think that it aired one time on television (not sure of the station), but it was reported that other TV stations refused to play it due to complaints from the Obama campaign (concerning the fact that the speech was "modified")

-Almost immediately after Hillary lost the nomination, the CAACR website went black (I think it was June 3 or 4) and the media alerts that had listed Mike D. as the media rep were pulled. I began to contact both Allen Media Strategies and Mike D. because I was concerned about not receiving payment for our services. There were several reasons that were given for the site going down, everthing from those involved receiving threats to a possible negative story that was going to be published by the New York Times.

-When confronted about the identities of people in the CAACR, Christi refused to state who was involved (excluding Mike Donovan). She stated that the CAACR were friends of hers and that she occasionally did work for them. She admitted that:
1. She set up the CAACR website
2. She initiated the request for the video production
3. She promoted the video and approved of its content on behalf of the CAACR.

-Since the CAACR website was shut down we (the video production co) have attempted to collect payment for the video from Michael Donovan (unsuccessfully). We have also been unsuccessful in determining a physical address for him, so we have not been able to file suit for non-payment. Ultimately, we WERE successful in negotiating a resolution with Allen Media Strategies and they have honored the agreements made so far.

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