Behind-the-Scenes Promo Shoot: Who Is WRAL?

by WRAL-TV Creative Director Shelly Leslie

A :60 brand image promo conceptualized, written, blocked, shot and edited in 14 hours by a four person team at WRAL Creative:

After 27 years at WRAL, the CBS affiliate in Raleigh, NC, I bleed PMS 279 blue. I grew up watching this station in the Charlie Gaddy era. I know its soul and am now part of its DNA. This spot started with a document I wrote to help our team understand our brand voice, why we do what we do, the way we do it, and the values that guide our decisions. The WRAL Creative team took that document and adapted it for the screen.

We used the cinematography in “Birdman,” the Oscar-winning Best Picture as inspiration. Now, let me just say this. What Director Alejandro González Iñárritu and Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki did in that film is ridiculously difficult. We didn’t do what they did. We didn’t have $18 million dollars or a movie crew. We had four people, a steadicam and one long day to pull it off. Shooting a constantly moving promo this way is a challenge. Shot location, blocking, lighting, timing, how one movement works into the next shot to tell a story – it’s all critical.

Writing: 3 hours
Blocking: 2 hours
Shooting: 5 hours
Editing: 4 hours


It’s worth noting, a promo like this only works if your news anchors are authentically connected, real people who truly live the words they’re speaking. WRAL News anchors Debra Morgan and David Crabtree have a combined 40+ years as the faces of our brand. They are truly, selfless servants. What you see is what you get, every single day.  It’s a delight and a privilege to channel their heart and souls onto the screen.

We are, WRAL.

“You can’t fake caring about people. Eventually, that will show. Plus, how exhausting would that be?!” Debra Morgan


Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Shelly Leslie for this capcom story and video & for these capcom photos.

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