Approach to Storytelling
- Why does this story need to be told?
- What problem am I working to solve by telling this story?
- What is the solution to the problem we are describing?
- What do I know about my audience's understanding of the topic?
- How will I share the story?
- Did I achieve my goal?
Three Steps To Consider
In telling a story I focus on three factors: planning, production and distribution. These are fundamental aspects to developing any story, but working in that order every time would be a mistake.
If your plan to tell a story is linear (plan, produce, distribute) you will most likely tell a story that most would consider a success. Except you have not reached the full potential of the work.
Every story needs a platform, and my definition of success includes addressing the specific needs of that platform.
Here's what I mean:
The first step in story planning is to know your audience, and if you know your audience then you must know how your audience is going to get your story.
With clients, I work within their distribution networks and help them tailor their content to fit new networks.
In the Gator Band project for the London Olympics, I coordinated with news outlets before, during and after the games to ensure the content produced fit each platform.
You wouldn't produce a story for print or TV in the same way if you were planning to distribute online. The same goes for content that you put online for distribution through social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, etc). Each planned method of distribution should be taken into account before production.
The lighter the better. My philosophy for production is to take the essential equipment and some "what if" gear.
The project on Haiti was shot with a single Nikon D750 and a 35mm lens. The goal is to make a picture, not let the gear make it for you.
Choose a production method that will allow you to meet your client's goals and make the most of your time in the field.
In the work I am most proud of, I was part of the planning process. When I was part of discussions about who the audience was, what the story was and how we share the story, the overall product was significantly better.
During the frank gathering, we were able to plan content production that was much more than event coverage. Our content was used to promote the gathering, improve the experience of attendees during their sessions and keep the message strong long after the gathering ended.