It's called "One Man Brand" -- about that singer/guitarist in Times Square who performs in nothing but a cowboy hat and tighty whities. He calls himself the Naked Cowboy, and he has female fans aplenty. Lots of other journalists have profiled him, but Nicholson's video -- produced at a MediaStorm workshop -- went one step further. It took us to his home, showed us his off-hours routine, and introduced us to his girlfriend. The multiple locations and perspectives is what gave her project added value.
Nicholson normally shoots stills of major events for Reuters -- from the Olympics to hotspots like Gaza and Afghanistan.
But she recently posted a new video profile worthy of your attention. This one is called "Homegirl Cafe," about Stephanie Lane, a former teen Crips gangbanger. Through Homeboy Industries, a pioneering gang intervention program, Lane left behind a world of drugs and violence, and got a job as a waitress.
Homegirl from Lucy Nicholson.
With text, powerfully intimate images, and video narrated by Lane herself, we get to see a life in transition. She confesses to "backsliding" -- leaving the cafe and returning to the violent and dangerous ways of the 'hood on weekends. After she got shot, and survived two bullet wounds, she took up boxing, rechanneling her energies. Now she's on the path to a career in restaurant management.
Nicholson artfully combines on-camera interviews with telltale B-roll that shows Lane in action -- at the restaurant and at the boxing gym.
Father Gregory Boyle, the founder of Homeboy Industries, provides background and context, though we admit we would have liked to have heard more from Stephanie's restaurant co-workers and patrons, her sparring coach and partners, her family and friends in her tough neighborhood. Still we get a strong sense of a young lady who is confronted by tough challenges and obstacles, but finally making good life choices, shaping her own destiny, and setting her sights on a more constructive path.
It proves once again that capturing captivating characters closeup during pivotal periods in their life is a key to successful video storytelling.
Watch the video here. See more of Lucy Nicholson's multimedia stories here.