Making a Video with the Top Takers app

Why and How?

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Why?

Why make a video? Because everyone likes video content, and you want to get a point across, right? Ultimately the goal is to reduce money in politics!

Politicians know about the power of video. And if they see people posting videos about the money they take from special interests, they’re going to get nervous. They don’t want voters to pay attention to that. So perhaps they will dial back on the amount they take. And they should. The video can carry that message loud and clear.

At least, that’s the hope of the Top Takers team. We are trying to give ordinary voters like us a tool that we can all use to communicate directly with politicians running for office. And also with other voters, who hopefully will create and post their own videos, and start a landslide of opinion that can lead to change. (Yes, we know it’s a long shot.)

Lastly, creating and posting a video is fun, it’s something we can do right now, and it may do some good. What’s not to like?

How?

How can you, a voter, use Top Takers to create a video? Read on!

Let’s say you have already entered a state and a zip code, and can see the names of your Senators and Representatives. Then you have chosen to either research the past election of your current Members, or alternatively to look at the candidates running in the current (2022) election.

Whichever you chose, whether the Member tab or the Election 2022 tab, you were able to browse through some information about how politicians have been funding their campaigns, and whether they did it by taking money from special interests who will expect favors. In either case the app will come to a page about Stories.

What is a Story?

A Story is what the Top Takers app turns into a video. You are in control of what the Story contains. For example, it has a Title, which you can edit. It includes a Headshot image that appears in the video and that you select from the images in your phone. It includes a Script, with lines that appear as subtitles in the video. All these elements are stored on your phone in a Story.

You can create as many stories as you like (look for the ”+” button). They’re listed on the Stories page in the app, each on its own card, with the most recently-created ones at the top of the list. When a new Story is created it contains default content which you can choose to customize if you wish.

Create a new Story with the ”+” button, or tap on one you already have. Your story shows two buttons: Edit/Preview and Video.

Now you have three choices:

1. Straight to video: Use the default story supplied by the app by jumping straight to Turning a Story into a Video. This is the fastest and easiest option.

2. Add impact: Change the headshot to a selfie or other unique image before recording. This only takes a moment but it magnifies the impact of your video.

3. Say what you think: Edit the script of the Story to include your comments and message to the candidate. Switch to our pre-written alternative script lines, or write your own.

Change the Headshot

Open the Story Editor by tapping the Edit/Preview button on a Story Card. Then tap the Headshot button at the bottom of the screen. You can choose any image on your phone as the headshot. Typically, and for maximum impact, it will be a selfie. You can easily undo any changes you make, just go to Recents. After choosing an image you Adjust it to pan and zoom it into its frame. Then press the ✔ icon on the Adjust Headshot page, then Done. Now you can preview your change with the Play buttons.

If you exit the Story Editor at this point you can go straight to creating a video, or you can do even more customization by editing the script.

Edit the Script

The Script is the part of the Story that contains text: the Lines, Title and Message. Edit these with menu items on the Story Editor page, which you access from the Story Card with the Edit/Preview button.

Lines: Here you change the lines in the default Script so that the subtitles will say exactly what you think. Use the slider to pick a line – just drag it to see how that works. Then edit the line or choose an alternative. Any change shows up immediately in the subtitle on the screen. Press Close to exit the line editor, then use the Play buttons to preview your changes.

Title and Message: These menu items both edit short pieces of text which can be posted to social media with your video, but which don’t appear in the video itself. The title does also appear on the Story card, and at the top of the Story Editor screen. The Message will become the body of your post, or you can skip it and make changes by editing the post itself when you get there.

Usually you will want to change the headshot as well as editing the script.

The next step is to create a video of your Story.

Turning a Story into a Video

The Video button on a Story Card takes you to a screen which guides you through the steps of creating a video from the Story. for now, here’s an overview of what you will be doing.

When you record your video you will be playing an animation while the Top Takers app is recording your screen using the built-in functions of the phone. The animation is the same one you can preview in the Story Editor, but now it will fill the whole screen. Once the animation is finished the video is automatically written into storage on your phone. You’ll need to give permission for the screen recording and also for the use of the phone’s storage.

You could stop here and share the video from your phone without using Top Takers. Or, you can continue to use the app to Preview the video and admire what you have created, then Post it to social media. If you post to Twitter be sure to add the candidate’s Twitter handle so that their campaign will see it.

Finally

With your video you have a powerful tool for both getting the attention of a candidate’s campaign and motivating your friends and followers to speak up as well.

Thank you from the Top Takers team for using the Top Takers app.