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.

9 thoughts on “Announcing my first-ever Golden Eagle Awards for best Eagle project videos

  1. Our deepest appreciation to Scouting Magazine and especially to you Bryan for this wonderful honor. Let other scouts take up the challenge to make their own video story. Start with a simple campout and put together a remembrance video. Elements might include still photographs, music, on-screen graphics, and lots of “sound bites” from scouts. Remember, you’ll need a beginning, middle, and end. Put it on YouTube and tell your friends about it on social media. Have fun. We did. – The Family of Jack Smalley, Seattle.

  2. Very cool! It is always neat to see Eagle Projects come together, work through them, and end it the way it was meant to be.

  3. Navy Commander and South West Air line pilot Patrick Purcell Eagle Project was Re-landscaping the Duncanville War Memorial in Texas in 1969 ! Duncanvile lost more War Heroes Per Capata than any other city in America ! I’am blessed my son received The Air Medal from the President for flying combat missions in current war and returned home ! Duncaville is celebrating the 140 anniversary of the loss of their first hero lost in the Civil War on Memorial Day May 27 2013 !

  4. Bryan – these are great – wish my grandson had done something like this on his Eagle Project. One thing I noticed on Matt’s Project above in the 0:20-0:45 timeframe – a power saw was used, apparently by the scout – while I see nothing wrong with the scout using power tools with appropriate supervision, my grandson was told that violated Guide to Safe Scouting. Now he had more than adequate supervision, and had taken Industrial Technology 2 years while in middle school. In addition, Scouting allows, with adequate supervision (he’ll be doing some of this at Jamboree 2013), zip-lining, white-water rafting, rock-climbing, archery, shotgun, rifle – perhaps it is time to revisit some of the safe-scouting guidelines. I’m not proposing to allow anything dangerous – just to recognize that by 15 or 16 years old, many scouts have learned how to use power tools in a safe manner.

  5. Very nice! Thanks for including REAL projects (instead of ones NESA seems to think are worthy, such as folding miniature flags).

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