This story is progressing! I think the soundbites truly capture the difficult experience Rocket and his family went through. I practically clapped at the conclusion that Rocket beat brain cancer and is back at school for his sophomore year.
I think there are a few ways to make this story even stronger, and it starts at the beginning. I don't think the opening is as attention-grabbing as it has the potential to be. First, I strongly urge you to avoid introducing Rocket as a normal 14-year-old boy. Any story in the world could start with that same basic opening. It doesn't truly capture what makes this story special. Also, throwing out the specific name of the cancer in the first mention is a little overwhelming without setup, since many people probably have never heard of it before. You'd want to build up to that. What about something like (and this is just an example of what you could do since I know I don't have the new interview transcript, I'm just pulling stuff together to illustrate what you could do):
VO: At 14 years old, Rusdan Rocket Kaikea Ahuna got sick and lost his voice. He never dreamed it was a sign of cancer.
SOT: "I just didn‛t really care about it and went day by day, Just went persevere through it. // From there I had to take a bunch of scans and stuff then that’s when we found out that I had something growing in my head."
VO: Doctors diagnosed Rocket [Are you referring to him as Rocket vs. Kaikea?] with Chondro Sarcoma, which is a bone cancer in his skull. Then, everything changed. His world of hula and volleyball were replaced by doctors and hospitals. (This serves as a transition into his experience battling cancer.)
Also, I would open with video broll of him, not photos. Typically photos, due to their static nature, are not as powerful in a video story-telling format, and to be honest, showing photos of someone and saying they were diagnosed with brain cancer could give viewers the false initial impression that that person has died.
After this, I think the story should go immediately into his cancer battle and what he and his parents went through. Right now, as is similar to my feedback on the initial rough cut, the story jumps away from cancer to talk about Rocket as a person (which is still great and should be included), but after dropping a bomb in your story, it's best not to leave the viewer hanging! The character part should come toward the end -- after explaining what he went through, then shed perspective on how Rocket handled and got through such a difficult process, with his bright, shining personality. I don't think this requires much more additional work. You can probably just shift that section down and do some rewriting of your transitions to establish a strong flow in storyline.
My final overall note is that his cancer battle seems to end abruptly and needs more fleshing out. The story talks about the family being exhausted, having been denied insurance coverage five times, and then Rocket says "I just had a fun time with my family in San Francisco." As a viewer, I thought, "Um, what?" That is a very abrupt 180 in storyline and there's no resolution to those problems. Instead, I think this is a great opportunity to bring back that community support both financially and emotionally (a strong theme from the initial cut) and also, simply state the fact that the surgery was a success.
Lastly, for the conclusion, I'm glad to see Rocket's back in school, but I did have one question -- is in totally in the clear, or does he need to get regular checkups? Also, I noticed his voice was still hoarse, and on his family's GoFundMe page, it mentions that is a lasting, permanent effect. I wonder if the story should mention this? Right now the story ties everything up with a happy bow, which is nice. He is obviously happy. But perhaps it should add an element of realism with an extra line or two?
Overall, I love this story and I think this piece is definitely on its way to capturing the heart and spirit of Rocket's fight and victory. Great job!
The interviews have good audio. The dad's interview was shot the best but the others were shot against a wall. We really need to stay away from walls so that we can have some depth there. The story is ok but I feel like there are parts left out that I want to know more about. You make it seem like he's all fine and dandy after the surgery but you can hear his voice being raspy. Is that from the surgery? Will it get better? Does he have to return for any treatment or tests? Is he 100% free from cancer? The problem with cancer is that while it can go into remission and not be there for a while, it can come back and so I think he's forever going to have to keep getting tests done and checkups to make sure. I want to also know more about Rocket. It's mentioned that he's good with his hands and we see pictures of leis, playing volleyball, and hula. What was he like before the incident? How did they find out that he had cancer? I like the part about how his parents talk about how he has this glowing light within him. I think that's great. The part about being turned down from the insurance carriers is also something I want to know more about. Why were they turned down? How did the family overcome this and did the insurance eventually kick in? Your b-roll is pretty good but you need to include more sequences. They also experienced a break-in to their vehicle when they went up for their surgery. Maybe that wasn't important to the family but the news report I saw about it done by a mainland tv station explained how the family didn't care about the material possessions but cared more about the get well cards for Rocket that were also taken. It's tough because this is a great story but I can't ask you to go back again to refilm the interviews. We've already visited them several times and I think we have to move on and learn from this experience. 2.65 points
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.