Lindsay Miller traveled to Nevada for work with the 2014 Medal of Honor Convention, art directing a photoshoot at the facility where the nation’s top military award is minted. Lindsay and a video production team from RIVR Media were given security clearance and access to a process that has never been documented. We asked her questions about the medals, the trip and the overall experience.
What does working with the Medal of Honor Society mean to you?
It’s an incredible honor for me and the entire Designsensory team to work on the project. Understanding the reasons why these medals are awarded and learning about the people who earned them helped guide our process to brand and develop a campaign for the Medal of Honor 2014 Convention in Knoxville. These stories of sacrifice coupled with the opportunity to meet a living recipient like Joe Marm make you even prouder to be an American.
Why go to Nevada?
Northwest Territorial Mint, one of the largest of less than 20 mints in the U.S., is the company that casts the medals. The video and photography assets will capture the people, place and process of how and where a medal is made, sharing its journey from creation in its casting to consecration in its awarding.
Tell us about more about the shoot.
Don Routh of Northwest Territorial Mint gave everyone participating in the shoot an amazing behind-the-scenes tour, allowing us to capture never-before-seen footage of how the medals are cast. The craftsmanship, attention to detail and reverence is reflected in every part of the process. Jeff Muller, who oversees the production of the medals, explained even the blue ribbon affixed to the Medal of Honor is hand finished by a woman in Texas and, as a sign of respect, any surplus ribbon that isn’t used cannot simply be discarded.
Beyond you as art director, who were some of the people involved in the shoot?
Although he didn’t travel to Nevada, we work closely with Joe Thompson, who is spearheading many aspects of the upcoming 2014 Medal of Honor Convention. Joe helped make the trip and this unprecedented opportunity possible. Bill Waldorf was our photographer, and RIVR Media sent producer Nathan Haun and a small crew of videographers. Ed Hooper, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author and military historian based in Knoxville, TN, joined us. Ed's depth of knowledge of the Medal of Honor's history and its recipients is instrumental in crafting the script and story of how the medals are made.
What are you going to use the video and photography for?
The photography will be incorporated into the entire 2014 Medal of Honor Convention campaign--the website, rich media, print collateral, environmental pieces and other branding components. These will be one-of-a-kind assets given to the Medal of Honor Society in perpetuity. When we began working on a bid document to bring the convention to Knoxville, we were surprised to find available such limited photo assets of the medals. We knew getting these photos would, over time, be more important than our use of them in promoting the convention; as a result, we needed to properly preserve and document the legacy of these medals for years to come.
So, you were in Nevada. Did you gamble?
Tempting, but no. We had a pretty tight schedule so the closest I got to gambling was seeing some slot machines at the airport. The view of mountains bordering Lake Tahoe was enough to convince me where I'd spend my time if given the chance to return.