LogoWe are driven by story.

But not the buzzword story. At Stillmotion, we’ve taught across the world, we’ve worked on several Emmy Award-winning productions, and our studio mantra has long been ‘Story First’. Story is in our DNA and this is something we share with
Story & Heart.

Guided by heart.

We know the power of a well-told story. We donated our time to telling the story of Old Skool Cafe, and a year later, we dove into our first feature-length documentary about a 9-year old fighting child slavery with lemonade. We’ve invested ourselves for years in stories we believe in, and that we believe need to be told. We have, and always will be, guided by heart.

Today marks a significant moment, and no countdown could ever correctly represent the breathless anticipation we’ve felt as we’ve spent the past year telling a new kind of story.

Because:

The time has come: Story & Heart has taken flight!

Story & Heart, the world’s first story-driven stock footage licensing platform is HERE.

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When was the last time you told a story that you felt so connected to, that if you could, you would tell it entirely for free? And as a storyteller, when was the last time you made a film that truly moved people, and intensely reminded you of your passion for this craft?

Today we announce something very special. An opportunity to tell an inspiring story, to learn, and to win $100,000 in amazing filmmaking awards.

Bad news is easy to come by — in the newspaper, on screen, over radio waves, saturating our media: the world is a troubled place, and it seems like this is something we’ve grown used to hearing.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to let it deflate us or try to drown out the noise.

We are media makers too, and there are some pretty incredible stories out there to tell!

A little more than two years ago, we told a story that changed our path as a studio.

It was a story without a contract, or client, or payment. It was a story we were deeply connected to both in its purpose and how the film we’d craft could help them. It’s because we had such creative freedom and felt so deeply connected to the piece, that we still consider it be the best short film we’ve ever made.

It was a story full of hope, struggle, diversity, deliciousness, and support. In fact, those were our 5 keywords — themes within the story that guided us as we made choice after choice to bring the film to life.

This story was that of Old Skool Cafe, a youth-run supper club in San Francisco. Their mission:  Confront the epidemic of violence by providing at-risk and previously incarcerated youth with career opportunities that would normally not be afforded to them.

We’d just wrapped production when it happened. One of our last scenes was in the projects in San Francisco, an area so dangerous, we were advised to back into our parking spots so that we could get away quicker, should the need arise.

We were in the gear room of our old Mountain View studio putting everything away. It was a tiny cube of a room with uber-ugly fluorescent lighting. And as everything was going back onto the shelves, Justin walked in and said he had an idea.

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Five years ago, I entered into the filmmaking arena a minority, an underdog. I didn’t go to film school, I’m just over 5’ tall, I’m young…. and I’m female. If you were able to place bets on me at a casino the odds would be something like 341:1.

That’s not too far from where a lot of other women feel like they are at in their filmmaking careers, but here’s the secret:

On paper, you may be the underdog. But don’t for one second let yourself believe it.

I went from working at 3M in an engineering lab to all-access on the sidelines of the Superbowl in just 19 short months. From there, I went on to take a major role in the production of A Game of Honor and, over the past few years, I’ve had the privilege to work on a number of different productions, large and small.

As I look back, I’ve discovered a lot about what it takes to succeed as a female filmmaker and I want to share five powerful ideas I’ve learned with you.

This is a tough industry. It’s a harsh landscape for any filmmaker, but it’s especially challenging for women who have dreams to succeed in this space. Make no mistake, women are still the minority, but we don’t have to be the underdog.

It’s important to point out that with immense challenges also come opportunities to succeed.

Some may say that being DP of a feature-length doc and winning some Emmys in just five short years are significant triumphs, and I wouldn’t disagree, but I also feel that is something that’s within everyone’s reach.

You just have to want it enough to go for it, regardless of age, race, or gender.

So how do we handle being repeatedly marginalized, dealing with inappropriate comments on set and making the most out of fighting an uphill battle? Ladies, this one is for you.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned about how to succeed as a female filmmaker.

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What would you say if you could share one thing with the world?

We had the amazing opportunity to speak at the Social Innovation Summit hosted at the United Nations in New York.

I had 10 minutes to talk to an amazing group of people, but what did I want to say?

In ten minutes you really want to get to one big idea. So what was it? Our one big idea that we wanted to share with people. I knew that if I tried to say too much I’d end up saying nothing at all.

One big idea to give to a room full of people: CEOs or heads of social corporate responsibility for companies like JetBlue, Chobani, Google, and Microsoft and a few hundred more.

As we thought about what we wanted to share, we realized that there is one storytelling secret that we think everyone should know.

Heidi McKye and I put our heads together to co-author what exactly we might say on behalf of Stillmotion.

This is what we came up with. Our one thing, as shared with everybody at the Summit.

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Hiya, I’m Dom, and I’m a Connector at Story & Heart.

Story & Heart is one part film licensing platform and one big part filmmaking community—a place for storytellers to learn, encourage, and collaborate.

In that sense, we foster a passionate group of like-minded filmmakers drawn together to focus on one thing: helping you tell amazing stories. Because we believe that what we grow together will be something so much greater than anything we could have nurtured alone.

So, in the spirit of collaboration, Stillmotion asked me to write a bit about the idea of collaboration.

Imagine, for a moment, a storyteller. Do you picture writers laboring, lonely, behind a stack of paper in a dusty study? Or animators alone poring over the same drawing, over and over, changing it slightly every time to capture the precise pose, or the right mannerism, to convey that perfect purpose?

Now, for one more moment, imagine a freelancer—the storyteller who is bound to work alone, for whatever reason, be it financial or physical.

Because the truth is so much simpler: Storytelling requires collaboration.

That book that writer behind the lonely typewriter is creating? It’s so much bigger than the bounds of that study. It needs an editor—or a team of them—if it has any chance at reaching a greater audience. And that writer, beyond just her editors, also needs an agent, a publisher, a publicist, and countless others to hold her hands throughout the process of publishing, before the book can end up in your hands.

The same, of course, applies to film. When the credits roll, you aren’t bombarded with hundreds of names because of some elaborate joke.

Yet, as filmmakers, we can probably all remember a time when we’ve had a strange relationship with the idea of collaboration. Maybe for you, that time is now, and at the moment you’re staring at this screen hoping we’ll convince you that teamwork isn’t as frustrating or difficult to manage as it’s seemed so often in your career.

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