TIME Magazine’s online news site TIME.com comes to Corduroy Media for original multimedia content because our team has the capability to produce editorial style portraits for print and narrative video stories for web broadcast.
Earlier this year our assistant director, Sean Donnelly, approached TIME with a great story pitch about a yoga program inside San Quentin State Prison. Since 2009, we have worked with TIME, producing relevant and unique content for online distribution. A few of the stories they have previously contracted us to produce include Tea Party protests, homeless college students, and the Mavericks Surf Contest.
On a cold, blustery day in November, we made our way up to San Quentin, a prison that occupies 272 acres on the north side of the San Francisco Bay. There we met inmate Anthony Alford, who was serving his fourth prison term. Although Alford’s list of offenses includes some scary convictions (assault, attempted murder), we found him amenable to being followed around with our cameras. In addition to giving us a peek into his yoga class, he also let us trail him through life in the dorms, vocational training, and strip searches.
We ended up with 20 hours of footage, which we crafted into a stirring ten-minute video told through Alford’s eyes. We also shot stark, honest portraits of other inmates attempting to obtain peace while serving time for their dark pasts.
In the middle of post-production, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that California must reduce its prison population by 25%. In that moment, our story became associated with breaking news. Our already-tight deadline was suddenly moved up, and we worked through the night to get our video and photos to TIME so their news magazine could offer its clients a unique perspective in a market suddenly saturated with prison stories.