Occupy Wall Street Gets Its First Commercial
"I literally went from directing a Wall Street Journal commercial to an Occupy Wall Street commercial," David Sauvage, the new commercial's director, told The Huffington Post.
Sauvage makes a living by directing commercials and documentary projects, but he felt compelled to make a video about the Occupy movement after visiting the protests in Zuccotti Park in New York City. After talking about it over coffee with producer Glenn Grossman, the two decided to make something.
Sauvage has his own reasons for supporting the protests: He says he can barely afford rent because he spends $500 a month paying back his student loans. That money, Sauvage says, goes to institutions the government bailed out, something he views as profoundly unfair.
"It suggests that the country as a whole values its financial institutions more than education," Sauvage said.
Conservative critics, and indeed many in the media, have suggested the Occupy Wall Street protesters have no goals and no formal demands. Sauvage says his video is an attempt to explain to a broad audience just what the demonstrators want.
"I felt like the criticism that these people don't know what they want was so profoundly wrong," Sauvage said. He admits there's a diversity of views in the movement and concedes that from the outside it may just look like a bunch of pissed-off people. But he said there are two things "that unite every single person: They all want meaningful political conversation. ... And everyone wants a better world."
The most important aspect of the Occupy movement to him is a desire for meaningful political conversation. "We're not being heard. That is the one message that everyone agrees on -- we're not being heard," he said.
In Washington, D.C., people attending rallies and demonstrations have told HuffPost they feel like no one inside the Beltway is paying attention to their problems.
Sauvage and his team went to the Occupy Wall Street protest and began asking people on camera what they wanted. One person they interviewed opens the commercial, saying "I want to see more serious political conversation starting to happen."
Another says, "I want to be able to speak my voice without jeopardizing my job." The video concludes with a man saying, "I want true democracy for the 99 percent of us who don't have it anymore."
The video -- which Sauvage says cost next to nothing to make -- has been getting picked up around the Internet since he posted it on Oct. 12. Former White House adviser Van Jones and his new Rebuild the Dream group have been promoting it.
Rebuild the Dream's Matt Ewing said in order to get a commercial like this circulated on television in the past, one would have needed a union or a large group like MoveOn to provide financial backing.
"What's exciting to Rebuild the Dream about this is the idea that the way new media allows voices to get out there," Ewing said. "It's symbolic of how new media, and sort of the crowd, can get involved in politics."
Money to get the spot broadcast on the air is being generated through small donations on the website LoudSauce.
Sauvage and his crew have raised a few thousand dollars in just a couple days. On Monday, Sauvage plans to launch the second Occupy commercial and is already at work on several more.