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Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 2.58.28 PMMistakes!

Everybody makes them.

Now, most of the gear and setup mistakes you’ll make are brain farts that you kind of just have to go through in order to really learn a lesson.

But, there are all kinds of mistakes that most beginners make with their approach to clients, handling their business, and telling stories that we think could be avoided.

Specifically, we thought of 15 major ones.

With our new 2014 workshop tour coming up — one that focuses on the approaches we take to telling stories that truly matter to us — we thought this was as good a time as any to talk about some of the lessons we’ve learned as storytellers over the years.

Here we go…

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Your tag line, log line, or “elevator pitch.”

Whatever you want to call it, it’s important that you have one for your film — or even just for your idea for a film that hasn’t been made yet.

Last week we asked all of you to share your dream stories with us, and we got a ton of great submissions. Seriously, all great ideas!

However, there was one little problem…THEY WERE WAY TOO LONG!

Now, we certianly didn’t specify a length requirement, so we’ll give you that. BUT, it did get us thinking about the importance of having a one-sentence tagline for any film.

Something to the effect of: “It’s a film about…”

…only 100x less boring.

The best part: you can immediately start putting these tips to use, because we’re announcing a big contest for storytellers on January 1st (more on this below…)

Why?

“Why is this so important to have a go-to line for my film? Can’t I just speak from the heart and tell them all about my great story?”

There are a few major reasons why it’s essential that you have a brief go-to line about your story:

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Magic happens when we work together.

The combined wealth of knowledge and talent that we share as a community inspires us beyond belief. Currently, there’s nothing out there to facilitate this type of collaboration easily — to enable filmmakers to collaborate together, share ideas, and challenge each other.

For us, that’s frustrating.

So we’re building something. Together.

Story & Heart — a safe harbor for our captured moments and a place to see them become something more.

Story & Heart is one part filmmaking community, one part video licensing platform. We’re building this our own way — crafting a place that celebrates the unique individual, while supporting a community of like-minded filmmakers.

It’s a place to learn, collaborate and encourage.
A destination for authentic stories.
A new home.

And this is only the beginning.

One part filmmaking community.

We’ve honestly been wishing for a community like this for quite some time…it is just pure creative stimulation for me. It stimulates us to grow our own craft, and it gives so much of the footage that was just sitting on archive drives — a newly purposed life.

— Aaron at Film Lab Creative

Story & Heart is a platform that allows us to push our stories further. We’ll come together as a community, bounce ideas off of one another, and collaborate in a completely new way.

If you believe in this idea and want to be a part of a story-driven community, please visit the website and sign up with the Build With Us button.

One part video licensing platform.

Halt. Right there.

Story & Heart is the antithesis of the big box behemoths of the stock footage game…it is a downtown boutique store…complete with the friendly bell when you open the creaky, old-timey door to explore the digital goodies. Bohemian not Bohemoth. :)

- Dan at Gnarly Bay

Let’s be honest: previous stock footage companies are generic, greedy, giant abysses of largely unusable footage (piles of clips, virtually useless to a story-driven filmmaker).

The thought of our footage — the blood, sweat and tears that have been poured into it — being available on any of those stock video platforms has never sat well with us.

Story & Heart creates a viable platform to launch and sell your content without selling your soul.

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What does it mean to tell a meaningful story?…

And by “what does it mean,” we mean…

How much work really goes into it?
What kinds of decisions have to be made along the way?
How do we get funding?
And most importantly… at what moment do you know that a story HAS meaning, and what does it really mean to go all in and commit to telling it?

These and about one million other questions have had to be answered in the last 8 months of telling the #standwithme story. We put together this making of film together (shout out to Joyce for her direction on the piece) to talk about what it has meant for us to tell this story. Where our minds have been, what we feared (and currently fear) going into this, and why this story matters so much to us (and hopefully to you too).

The best stories reach far and wide to bring back something bigger. That is what this piece is when we watch it – a much bigger picture of what we’ve done together.

This BTS piece debuted on No Film School last week, and we wanted to bring it to our blog today to ask all of you a question:

What’s a story YOU really want to tell? Something you’ve always wanted to explore with your camera in hand — a story you would tell not only because it’s good, but because it actually means something to you? We want to hear from you, and we are offering our KNOW Field Guide as a thank you to several people who get involved in the conversation.

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“We just made our first movie…”

…to say those words feels absolutely crazy.

To be honest, we still feel like we don’t know what we’re doing half the time… but somehow it’s all managed to come together. And after a very long night of last-minute tweaks, we’re ready to show our trailer to the world.

This project has massively changed our lives as both filmmakers and everyday people. While we do feel excited, proud, and exhausted after finishing this film… we know that this is just the beginning of another journey. Making a film is one thing, but getting it out there and showing it to the world is another.

We’re scared, to say the least. But stepping outside of the ol’ comfort zone is pretty much a job requirement so… here we go.

We now present to you, our friends and fellow filmmakers, the official trailer for #standwithme — a stand against one of the world’s darkest evils.

Our hope with this trailer is not that you’ll come out to see this film because it looks like a good movie. Our hope is that 30 million human beings is something you can’t turn away from, and that this trailer will leave you wanting to know more about the issue and how we can all do our part to truly put an end to this suffering.

This has been a huge undertaking for a small production studio like ours — from funding this project almost entirely by ourselves, to putting in long hours and sacrificing much of our personal lives — it hasn’t been easy.

For this reason, you might be wondering…

What made us want to do this?

Well, in the beginning we didn’t even know what we were getting into. We heard a story about a 9-year-old girl named Vivienne Harr in California, who set up her lemonade stand with the goal of raising $100,000 and freeing 500 children. She asked customers to “pay whats in their heart,” and after 173 days straight of selling lemonade she met her goal, but decided to keep going. The spark that lit Vivienne’s fire was a gorgeous photo by Lisa Kristine, who takes a stand herself by traveling around the world photographing modern day slaves.