It’s Time: The Making of a Viral Video Love Story
BY Jeremy Kinser
November 30 2011 4:54 PM ET
Last Friday, the day after many Americans gave thanks for their blessings, the Australian grassroots advocacy group Get Up! released a marriage equality video titled "It's Time." The group hoped it would encourage a dialogue that would, as the organization's Paul Mackay puts it, "pave the way for change." No one was prepared for the clip's instant global success.
To date "It's Time" has been seen by nearly 3 million viewers on YouTube. The campaign is aimed at changing the country's Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Saturday will mark a pivotal moment as Australia's Labor Party convenes to discuss making changes to that narrow definition.
Get Up! hopes its now-viral video brings enough attention to what's happening that lawmakers actually make a policy change. Mackay offers The Advocate a behind-the-scenes look at the making of "It's Time," the response it's received from viewers, and what it could mean to the struggle for marriage equality.
The Advocate: How did you decide to tell the story from the perspective of half of a gay couple?
Paul Mackay: We gave a lot of thought as to whether we would tell this love story as a gay or lesbian couple and had varied feedback in the scripting process. Much research, at least here in Australia, is that same-sex female relationships are more widely accepted and we should consider using two women. In the end, we decided to use two men for the benefit of the final reveal. It’s common in advertising to pitch men as dopey characters who fawn over their partners, and so we played into that narrative.
How would you describe the general mood of the cast and crew during the filming?
The mood of the cast and crew during filming was fantastic. Marriage equality is an issue we are all committed to, which helps, but more so we were all committed to the concept. We’re a small organization and run on the smell of an oily rag, so the shoot was completed on a tight schedule and a tighter budget. It was at times quite demanding, but that never stood in the way of us enjoying the process and remaining committed to it. Plus, so much of what we were doing — fun date activities like hanging out at a theme park or beach — provided grounds for having a great time.
What’s the response been like so far?
To say we’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response we’ve had is an understatement. We knew the concept was good when we started filming, and we knew the video was good when we launched last Friday — but we never considered it would reach a million views in two days or continue to grow in the way it has. We never expected celebrities would tweet about it or massive international sources like yours would be interested in covering it.
We launched the video with a very simple ask: that people watch, be affected by, and share the video. We thought the simple action of sharing the video would start conversations about equality that would build momentum and public support for the issue and pave the way for change. The massive response we’ve had is hopefully doing just that.