"Find a person. Tell their story. Weave the facts within that story."
That's a saying I've always used. Going back to my days in TV news and journalism, I believe that every story begins with a person (or people). Ask the right questions and the story will be revealed. But it's how you tell that story that can really have impact. Video is our preferred method (obviously) but we do it in a unique way.
Recently, we worked with St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Memphis to produce a quick video about their Wednesday morning breakfast. Their decision to hire us to make a video started with a conversation about their desire to share what was happening at the Cathedral with others. But it was also rooted in their need for assistance (donations of both time and money) to continue growth and to deepen the experience.
"It's no secret that videos have the power to generate a great response, particularly when posted on social media, and that's why we chose to invest in one," said Paula Peyton, a volunteer at the church.
So began our quest to tell their story. It started with a simple visit to observed the way Wednesday morning breakfasts work. A short service in the chapel, followed by a wonderful meal and fellowship. The visuals were there, the story was clear and the next step required setting a date and time to come back and shoot.
A few weeks later I was back and ready to shoot and interview volunteers, staff and recipients. The final product: a 3 minute video telling their story. It was posted on their Facebook page.
"Everyone who sees the video seems to fall in love with it as much as we have! We've had a wonderful response from our parishioners, other clergy and parishioners in our diocese, and from folks in the community. People enjoy seeing what we do on Wednesday mornings through the well-crafted perspective of the video. We've had folks reach out to say they'll be attending, as well as folks who are interested in sponsoring the breakfast," said Peyton.
125 shares and 14,390 views later the video continues to make an impact, despite their Facebook page only having 800 likes.
"The video format is a lot more attention-grabbing than our normal posts, for one, but the attention to detail you put into the video has made a lot of the difference too. People can truly see what's going on - they can see the goodness and the love. It's all very visible. Memphis is a wonderful city where many great things are happening, but it's also a really broken city, struggling through an enormous problem with the cyclical system of poverty and violence. A lot of the beauty in our city exists because of that brokenness - it's our strength and resilience and refusal to give up on each other. Folks have been exceptionally receptive to the video because they're really hungry for evidence of that beauty and goodness and love. We faithfully believe in those ideas about Memphis, but it's a totally different experience when you're able to see it for yourself," said Peyton.
The story continues every Wednesday morning at 8:00 am in the chapel at St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral. Watch the video to get a preview of their work and ours.
The power is in the story. But how the story is told can make all the difference. 14,000 views later and I'd say it was and continues to be a success.
Stories are FOREVER. We're always READY.