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.
I remember Justin turning to us and saying, “What if this could be so much bigger? What if we shared our experience and how inspiring this process has been so far, and created a space where filmmakers could come together and do the same?
What if instead of us making one film, this turned into people around the world telling hundreds of stories of people doing good?”
We imagined what that would look like. It was inspiring, for sure, but it would also be a lot of work. And we, just like all of you, had client films we had to deliver, editing backlogs, and as much as we wanted to jump on it right away, it was one of those things you file away as ‘One Day.’
Fast forward a year later.
We wanted to tell another pro bono story, and found little Vivienne, a 9-year-old girl selling lemonade to end child slavery. This story had everything a storyteller could want, but best of all, Viv and her family were doing something that was making a positive impact in the world. After all, her lemonade stand had already raised over $100,000 to fight child slavery.
This story ended up turning into a feature-length doc that put us face to face with these atrocities around the world. We knew that the only thing we could really do is to tell this story and tell it well — to bring awareness to the issue and give our audience the knowledge they’d need to make things better, one step at a time.
This project reminded us every day that this is really where our passion has always been: Telling stories that make a difference.
Over the years, EVO, our 4-day in-person filmmaking workshop has followed suit. In the beginning, we coached attendees through the creation of films for small businesses via creative storytelling challenges. But several years ago we started reaching out to non-profit organizations instead of for-profit ones, and we’d have the groups tell moving stories that could really bring the charities the attention and support they needed.
Stories like Mural Music & Arts Project in San Fran, that teaches disadvantaged youth to express themselves through various art mediums like graffiti. Or The Rebuilding Center, based here in Portland, that deconstructs uninhabitable homes and makes all of their salvaged materials available to others in need. Or Ethos, an inspiring organization that gives donated instruments and brings music into the lives of children, who no longer have access to such education in school.
As we’ve travelled the world sharing our ideas on storytelling, we’ve met so many of you who also believe in the power of story — who want to make films that push you, inspire you, and can make a real difference. But too often filmmakers get stuck in the grind, have a hard time finding those stories, or just feel like it’s too much to tackle alone.
For years we’ve worked hard to share everything we do in the hopes that it will help you tell the stories you love, and help you become a stronger, more intentional storyteller.
Now we are days away from launching Story & Heart. A platform built by storytellers, for storytellers.
Story & Heart is a filmmaking community that will change how we can connect to other filmmakers.
Inspired by 10 years of filmmaking, 7 years of giving back, and 1 about-to-launch filmmaking platform, we are excited beyond words to announce Storytelling Parade.
Storytelling Parade is a filmmaking contest with heart. It’s about coming together to tell the stories of those who are dedicating their lives to making a difference. To sparking a fire in others to do the same. To making the world a better place.
Participate in Storytelling Parade and do good, improve your craft, celebrate the strength of your filmmaking community…
…and win a portion of $100,000 in prizes in the process!
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be giving you heaps of support in your creative journey. We want to do all we can to help share everything we’ve learned in making films for non-profits over the years:
Two full weeks of entirely free education where we’ll cover things like:
• How to find the heart of your story. The three qualities that every strong heart (lead character) needs. Knowing these will change how you approach your stories.
• How to craft a story that moves your audience emotionally. We’ll share one rule that always helps us create a strong connection with the viewer.
• How to conduct an interview that always leaves you with strong, passionate responses. This certainly goes against what they teach in film school, but these 5 ideas will shift everything about how you approach your interviews.
• A step-by-step guide to building your story in post. We’ll walk through how to structure the narrative, add in B-roll, and we’ll even touch on sound design and color.
All of this and more, in 5 tutorials. All entirely free if you sign-up to be a part of Storytelling Parade. And at the end of the two weeks, we’ll have a live 2 hour online Q&A.
With a team of up to 3 filmmakers, tell the story of a person or non-profit that is making this world a better place.
• One shoot day
• One camera shoot
• One main character
• One clear take-away
In the first tutorial we’ll deconstruct each of these constraints, share why we’ve included them, and how they are designed to help you tell a stronger story within Storytelling Parade.
Together we can own the power of our craft. We can come together and show just how much good is happening in the world.
Let’s tell stories that inspire, and bring attention to the people and organizations that need it the most.
We’ll also have over $100,000 in prizes to help you tell even more amazing stories in the future!
And on October 27th, in Portland, OR, we’ll be hosting a premiere where we’ll screen the top films at a local theater and announce the winners!
For more about Storytelling Parade including official rules, important dates, and to register for the contest itself, visit www.storytellingparade.com.
If you would like to nominate a story that you think needs to be told during Storytelling Parade, share it with us here.