I came across this great article on Medium and the authors have kindly allowed me to re-post parts of it here.
Lessons from a nonprofit that is building a successful media program from scratch
Over the past several years, documentary films have made an explosive comeback. There are lots of reasons for this, but two of the big ones worth noting are:
- The continued emergence of the millennial generation and our keen interest in contributing to something bigger than ourselves.
- Substantially lowered costs via technological innovations in consumer-level videography equipment.
Just because more nonprofits and individuals are pursuing documentary filmmaking does not mean it is effortless though. Documentary filmmaking for the modern nonprofit is just one part of having a solid media program, while owning your own small studio as an individual still isn’t super cheap.
Our nonprofit has built a successful media program, one that focuses on a warzone half a world away, from scratch over the past three years. It’s been hard work, but well worth it as we continue to advance in our mission of seeing peace and justice in Sudan in our lifetime.
Like many documentary filmmakers, we started down this road because we are passionate about storytelling and a specific issue. We still don’t have all the equipment and expertise we need, but we’ve made a lot of noteworthy progress. Here’s a few things we’ve learned along the way.
Story Is Everything
Human history is built on breathtaking stories. Our world wouldn’t be the same without them.
If there’s one thing every human being in the world has in common, it is our collective love of stories and storytelling. The world’s most ancient texts are filled with sweeping stories of early civilization. Today, we can’t get enough of big-budget films, post-apocalyptic books, and real-life stories of ordinary people becoming heroes. We’re wired to come together around those who who create, write, and show.
A good documentary film does a lot more than simply provide the facts. A good documentary film will also provide a story. An excellent documentary film will have you so riveted to the story that you barely even realize you are learning a lot about the social issue the filmmaker wants you to focus on.
So, how do you tell a good story? There’s lots of methods and approaches, but we want to provide you with just a few tips just to get started [Keep reading…]