Depaul Homeless Video Campaign

“What Keeps You Awake At Night?” is a Christmas campaign created for Depaul, a charity dedicated to helping homeless people with emergency, mid-term and long-term accommodation in Ireland. The concept of this campaign came over an individual brainstorming session and research for inspirational campaigns. After coming up with the concept of what keeps people awake at night, I’ve researched and found out that homeless people are the most likely part of the population to develop insomnia. The whole campaign was created, filmed and edited by myself for my Professional Digital Video class in TU - Dublin, Blanchardstown Campus.

The Concept

The concept of “What Keeps You Awake At Night?” was to bring a contrast between what keeps non-homeless people awake at night and homeless people awake at night. We all know the numbers of homeless people out there and we all know our own problems, but allowing homeless people to have the voice instead of ourselves and bring us closer to their reality was something they haven’t seen before, so the concept focused on the stories of homeless people.


The first phase of the project was looking for inspirations online. The following two videos were key to creating my own video concept:

Original Storyboard

The second phase of the production was creating a storyboard. I've created the storyboard based on our first concept:


Depaul took the task of finding homeless people that were comfortable with being in front of a camera and talking to me about the cause of their insomnia and the stories behind them – this would be extremely helpful in order to create a connection between them and viewers when editing the footage. Two stories were very interesting to me and here’s a brief of them:

The opening eyes (Extreme Close-Up) of this campaign is Natalie. She has two kids, but they live with her sister since she doesn’t have a house and has been over a year in the council house waiting list. Natalie was key for this campaign since the housing crisis is affecting single-parent families deeply and causing mental health issues to everyone involved and separation of members.

The official face of the campaign is Aaron. He’s part of the recent demographic of young people (under the age of 25) increasingly becoming homeless. Depaul has been very helpful to Aaron, so he’s always willing to help them on their campaigns. He’s a rap musician and sings about his past himself, so his official answer to the question “What keeps you awake at night?” were the ghosts of his past.

Depaul chose this Full/Wide shot as the official campaign image as it shows all these aspects in a chaotic city like Dublin, where people see postcards (Christ Church) but fail to notice the people around it.

Final Video

Feedback & Summary

Unused footage of non-homeless person

On the first concept we'd introduce non-homeless people saying what trivial things would keep them awake at night. When tested with a sample of 4 people, the homeless testimonials had much more impact alone than with contrast. Once the rearranged campaign had much more impact due to empathy we’ve decided to stay with it and only let the homeless people’s voice be heard.

The feedback from the public and the charity over social media (over 100 shares on Facebook) during Christmas was fantastic and that’s what I was striving for. This project was heavily based on human interactions and experimentation and it helped me with one thought that I believe every designer should have, which is accepting that the first concept might not be ideal.

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