The opportunity of a lifetime

Imagine getting accepted to the college of your dreams, then realizing you don’t have the money to pay for tuition. Typically, students in this position apply for student loans which take years or even decades to pay off. But in 2008, Vanderbilt joined a growing number of universities that replaced its student loans with grants and scholarships. This program, called Opportunity Vanderbilt, guaranteed to cover the tuition needs of every single undergraduate. But making this promise would not be cheap. And Vanderbilt needed to raise some money.

  • Client: Vanderbilt University
  • Agency: Stonecastle
  • Type: Nonprofit, Education
  • Deliverable: Fundraising Video
  • Services: Creative Strategy, Video Production, Scriptwriting

The Project


The alumni development team at Vanderbilt approached Stonecastle to create a fundraising video that did more than just explain the Opportunity Vanderbilt program. They knew they had a powerful story to tell, but they needed help structuring all the elements into a video that captured the imaginations of would-be students and donors.


It’s easy for “documentary-style” approaches to rely too much on talking heads to cover the empty space. While it’s nice to see characters speak, but at Stonecastle, our directors work hard to create scenes that place people inside evocative environments which add meaning to the story. This discipline is part of what makes the video for Opportunity Vanderbilt work.