Announcing my first-ever Golden Eagle Awards for best Eagle project videos

golden-eagle-awardsThough certainly not a requirement for earning the Eagle Scout Award, an Eagle Scout Service Project video can be icing on the cake, celebrating and commemorating a boy’s hard work and planning.

And with HD cameras built into modern smartphones and inexpensive, user-friendly video-editing software available, it’s easier than ever to produce high-quality videos like the ones I’ve chosen to show here.

So allow me to present the first-ever Bryan on Scouting Golden Eagle Awards for Eagle Scout videos. I’ve watched several-dozen so far, and they’re all great. But I’ve singled out five in particular for these awards, which come with neither a statuette nor any prize money — just my pat on the back for a job well done.

So, without further ado… 

Jack – Best Narration and Use of Testimonials

Who better to tell the story than the Eagle Scout himself? That’s the idea behind Jack’s video, which is well-edited and includes strong narration and interviews with important people in Jack’s Scouting life.

Jack’s video serves a dual purpose: It’s a permanent reminder of his journey from Tiger Cubs through the Eagle Scout project, which he considered the toughest step along the trail, and it’s an inspirational tale to motivate the next wave of aspiring Eagles — even those not in Jack’s troop.

Matt – Most Overly Dramatic (and Funniest)

Anything worth doing, is worth overdoing — just ask Michael Bay. And like Armageddon and all those melodramatic blockbusters, Matt’s “Project Eagle” video uses pulsating music and slow-motion video to pump up the drama. But Matt’s doing it with tongue firmly planted in cheek, so the result is comedy gold:

Jonathan – Most Heartfelt

Wow! That’s all I could say after watching Jonathan’s video, in which the Life Scout tells how his father’s struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder have inspired his Eagle Scout project. I had tears in my eyes while watching this touching, well-made video.

And there’s another point to be made here. Unlike most Eagle-project videos, this one was made before the project was completed. Jonathan includes a call for help so that people touched by his story can donate food to support his project. If you have a prospective Eagle working on a similar project, a video message can be a powerful way to garner support.

Zach – Best Use of Time Lapse 

I saw a lot of videos that used this technique, which I think is a great way to show a lot of work in not a lot of time. Using time-lapse cameras — from two different angles, no less — Zach has made a simple, compelling video that holds my interest.

Hunter – Best Cinematography and Editing

Lots of quick cuts and close-up shots of work being done make Hunter’s video shine. I thought the interviews with Hunter and his friends were authentic and fun, which only added value to this terrific video.

What did we learn?

From watching lots of these, I’ve learned that the best Eagle Scout videos…

  • Are short. Keep it under four minutes.
  • Actually have video. It sounds obvious, but some of the videos I watched were just slideshows set to music, and those weren’t as compelling to me.
  • Show the Eagle Scout himself. I like to see the Eagle Scout working, leading, and planning. The Eagle Scout can explain on camera why he was inspired to make this his project. Make sure he’s the star.
  • Include a good soundtrack. What’s true in Hollywood movies is true in Eagle Scout movies — music makes a difference.
  • Use emotions. Any emotion will do, really. So whether the video makes you laugh or cry or feel all warm and fuzzy, try to make viewers feel something when they watch.
  • Show before and after. For construction-type projects, be sure we can see what the project site looked like before and after work was done.

Your favorites?

Share some links to the best Eagle Scout project videos you’ve seen, in the comments below.