I AM A FILMMAKER...
That does not mean I am off making a personal film and so deep in the weeds that I've lost all sense of time and place. It simply means that I can do it all. Not only am I a cinematographer and editor with nearly two decades of experience. I have also written and directed a multitude of corporate projects for a diverse group of clients.
Sometimes I do all of them on the same project while, at other times, I am collaborating with a director who wants an experienced cinematographer, someone who is highly attuned to their needs and knows story, from script to screen.
WHY TELL A (CORPORATE) STORY?
We all know documentaries and scripted films are story-driven. But what about a corporate video—does it need to tell a story? Well, the answer is both yes and no. If you want to demonstrate how to assemble a bookshelf, then a well-crafted, emotionally riveting story about that bookshelf's designer is likely not the right call. The viewer just needs to know that part A fits into part B.
Instructional videos most definitely have their utility. And I'm not suggesting for a moment that I am above making them. I'm not and in fact like a good mix of work. But here's the thing...often times this approach becomes the default for corporate video. It feels like the safe and logical option when making the ultimate decision to plant your company's flag out in the ether. Conversely, what for many feels risky is a video that is bold, original and connects with an audience's emotions.
Yet think about how successful companies craft their images. Do they make an instructional video about their products? Do they ever really push the features and benefits of their products? Okay, sometimes... But the best Nike spot is less about selling you sneakers than it is about selling you motivation. Starbucks is more about selling a lifestyle than it is about selling you a fancy coffee. And the way to connect with an audience is to give them a hero's journey; to tell them a story.
SO WHAT IS ALL THIS FUSS ABOUT STORYTELLING?
Well, when done right, we lose ourselves in the lives of others; we go on their journeys—tortured, inspired or something between those poles—and come out the other side feeling an emotional response to what we've just been through together. We connect. And that can be a powerful, transformative thing. What's more, good stories build faith in us, the audience. And faith, as the author once wrote, can move mountains.
Now, despite the fact that none of those faithful has actually moved a single mountain, the quote is still provocative. That's because we want to believe that, if our faith is strong enough, we can move mountains!
So, if you're looking to explain how something works, I can do that. But if you're looking to build a relationship with your audience, then let's talk story and try to move mountains.