Tag Archives: Short film production companies

Workshop: Advance your mission through better storytelling

You are working to create a better world for all of us. As a social innovator, you have some of the best stories to tell and you understand the power of sharing them. But crafting a compelling story framework and sharing it consistently so that it reaches a large audience in fresh ways that inspire action is tough to do well and can be expensive to execute.

Using examples primarily from the medium of short films that have broken through to large audiences, but applicable to other forms of communications, we will:

  • explore the greater possibility for your role as communicator for social innovation
  • learn how to cultivate clarity in order to express narratives that go beyond polarization
  • develop a public narrative framework for your mission that is more effective than the classic approach of  issues and solutions
  • practice story-scouting and understand how to prioritize specific stories that can help move your mission forward
  • look at possibilities for getting personal and humanizing your vision
  • discover strategies for communicating complex matters in bite-size formats
  • explore specific channels for reaching significantly more people with your stories
  • draft a distribution plan that inspires your audience to take action
  • review best practices for affordable, regular video production

Who should attend?  Whether you have been a communicator for social innovation for a few years or are a seasoned pro, you are welcome to join us.  If you are looking for ways to improve your storytelling skills or learn new strategies for reaching larger audiences in order to advance humanitarian and environmental missions, this workshop is for you.  Past attendees have come from foundations, nonprofit organizations, social enterprises and purposeful businesses.  Since this workshop assumes attendees have some experience with social innovation communications, it can be considered of an intermediate/advanced level.

Tuition exchange opportunity:  We would be happy to waive your tuition if you have a beautiful place to host us (about 20-30 people).  Please let us know here.

Sliding scale: We would like to bring together a diverse group with a variety of points of views. If you would you like to request a sliding scale for your tuition please let us know here.

Where & When:

Instructor:  Natasha Deganello Giraudie, Creative Director and founder of Micro-Documentaries.

Natasha first became fascinated with visual storytelling as a girl in Caracas, experimenting with her father’s Nikon F3 camera, which she still loves to take pictures with. Today, through her point of view as a a filmmaker, a social entrepreneur and a mother, she is interested in advancing humanitarian missions and inspiring moral courage.

As Creative Director and founder of Micro-Documentaries, Natasha has had the opportunity of pioneering this film genre. The hundreds of short films she has produced with her colleagues have helped social innovators in more than 30 countries raise funds, further legislation, grow their audience, win awards and increase thought leadership. The independent film series she directed exploring ways out of the homelessness crisis, Let’s Get Street Smart, has been seen by more than half a million people.  Natasha regularly teaches and learns at universities and conferences on topics related to storytelling, social innovation, documentary filmmaking and distribution. Prior to Micro-Documentaries, she founded Papilia, where she helped nonprofits raise millions of dollars with a stewardship software that showed donors the difference their gifts make. As co-chair of the Advisory Council of the Dalai Lama Fellows, Natasha strives to inspire moral courage in young leaders and as a board member of the Biomimicry Institute she champions innovation inspired by nature, for more graceful and sustainable design. Natasha went to film school at UT Austin and received her Master’s degree in Journalism from Stanford, where she was awarded the Donald Kennedy Fellowship to pursue documentary work in Nepal.

Natasha’s heart is still in Venezuela, but her home away from home is San Francisco where she lives with her family and enjoys paddleboarding with sea lions and discovering the joys of the violin.

Smartphones: That’s where your audience is watching short films

We often remind our clients that understanding their audience is the first step to creating effective short films. Once they step into their audience’s shoes and understand their aspirations, it becomes easier to frame a story and achieve specific goals for their organizations with video content.

Similarly, we need to consider where audiences will engage with content. Is it their computer? A laptop? A tablet?

Increasingly, the answer is a smartphone.

Plain observation can lead you to this conclusion. The sidewalks of pretty much any city on the planet are now filled with pedestrians glued to their smartphones, often with a GIF or a Facebook film in motion. Hard data backs it up. An impressive 46% of all video viewing now takes place on mobile devices. That applies to smartphones and tablets combined, with smartphones exceeding tablets by a factor of 6x in the U.S. Those are the findings from research firm Ooyala’s latest index of video viewing, titled “Millennials Take the Wheel.”

Let that number sink in for a moment: 46%. That means nearly half of all videos are being watched on mobile devices, and nearly 40% on smartphones in particular. Ooyala says that tablet and smartphone plays grew 35% in the past year and 170% since 2013. “Mobile slowly but steadily is becoming the dominant form of video consumption,” writes Jim O’Neill, Ooyala’s principal analyst and videomind editor.

short film rise of mobile video
Phone and tablet plays constituted nearly 50% of all video views in Q42015. Graph courtesy of Ooyala.

What does this mean for you? Among other things, keep your short films in a smartphone-optimized format: short, punchy and dynamic. 69% of all videos watched on smartphones were under 10 minutes, according to the report. True, that means that nearly a third of all videos were longer than 10 minutes, but with people on the go — pulling phones out of their pockets, scanning email, checking out a film that a friend sent a link to, then hopping into a meeting or a car or dinner with the family — brevity is paramount.

Another interesting point from the report: These mobile trends apply equally around the world, with the same roughly 50% mobile viewing metric applying to Europe, the Asia Pacific and North America.

“Millennials are a distinctly global generation, sharing more similarities than generations before them, and they’re driving us to a digital homogeneity that is distinctly mobile,” writes O’Neill.

Andrew Tolve

Andrew Tolve is Micro-Documentaries' Content Strategist. He moonlights as a journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Slate, and National Geographic Adventure, among others. By daylight, he's a stay-at-home dad.

Your story is the world’s best kept secret

Journalists are treasured members of a society, and we can’t really function without them. Their tendency, however, is to be the watchdog and report on the problems. This partly spawns from good intentions: If you shine a bright light on dark places, it forces awareness among the general public and action from leadership.

But it’s also because there’s a prevailing belief in the media that lurid headlines sell and that all of us are more interested in the latest murder or outbreak than in a piece of positive, uplifting news. As one of my favorite journalists, Nicholas Kristof, put it in a recent column, “We (journalists) cover planes that crash, not planes that take off.”

The result: Negativity overload. Violence brewing there. Another disease is on the rise. Here’s the latest education crisis. And on and on.

This is where you come in. Let your story be an antidote to the negativity — the plane taking off — and short film the medium you use to give it wings. As you step into your role as storyteller for social innovation, be sure to share your solutions and your visions for tomorrow and invite your audience to be part of the unfolding journey.

They, like you, are eager for a brighter future.

“Let’s Get Street Smart” public premiere

Happy Friday everyone. Before the week is through, we wanted to share some photos from the public premiere of Let’s Get Street Smart last weekend at the SOMA StrEat Food Park.

The short films were very well received. Everyone seemed eager to get involved to stop the homelessness crisis. About 200 people watched the micro-documentaries, including a number of unhoused neighbors who were invited to the event.

It was the perfect venue for us – on the street, in a food truck park having a conversation about what it means to get street smart in the new sense of the term:

– becoming educated in the causes of homelessness (it can happen to anyone)
– refusing to accept the dehumanization that comes from living on the street (just the lack of sleep is like torture!)
– engaging in building communities that work for all of us (it’s pretty clear that otherwise they won’t work for any of us).

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