good story with video

3 simple steps to telling a good story with video

What are the first steps to telling a good story with video?

Every story has a hero, and when you’re telling a story you want to make your customer the hero. But to tell a good story, your hero needs lots of hurdles to overcome. We love watching a hero triumph over some great challenge. We don’t pay attention to stories that are about nice people living in a nice world doing nice things.

This is because our brains are wired to look out for trouble. It’s an evolutionary thing. It kept us alive when life was full of life and death struggles (and we were all the underdogs – chased by lions and tigers and bears, oh my!)

When the hero of your story gets in trouble – we start to pay attention.

1. Make your hero the underdog

good storyCase Study: Misty Copeland – #IwillwhatIwant

32 year-old ballerina Misty Copeland has a great underdog story. And we all love an underdog.

Copeland was relatively unknown, and as a teenager, she was told via several rejection letters that she would never be a dancer. Her body wasn’t right, and at 13, she was too old.

As the video (above) opens, this is all told via a voiceover quotes from her past rejection letters.

2. Show don’t tell

But then, in a wordless revelation, we are shown Copeland flying through the air – a segment reminiscent of the final scene in Billy Elliot – with Copeland proving herself before our eyes. (Despite the early rejections, she is now a soloist for the American Ballet Theatre.)

This is brilliant, and efficient, storytelling.

The opening voiceover echoed things Copeland heard as a child.

But the visuals tell the opposite story.

We see Copeland power across the stage with strength and grace,

3. Talk with your audience

The tagline, “I Will What I Want,” appears at the close as a defiant call to action.

According to David Droga, founder of the Droga5 Agency, the “I Will What I Want” campaign is aimed at women who do not wait for permission, advice or affirmation from others to follow their passion.

Instead of creating a campaign about their clothing line, the video’s sponsor, Under Armor, built a site at www.iwillwhatiwant.com where athletic females can join with their peers to form “the ultimate fitness community.”

This is great engagement – especially for a brand that previously featured male athletes almost exclusively. They’ve succeeded at telling a great story. More importantly, now Under Armor has a nearly endless range of topics for an ongoing conversation with their target of athletic women – a place where women can go to share their passion and get support from their peers.

Right now the absolute best way to talk with your audience on a regular basis is through Facebook Live. You can reach your audience and engage them by sharing one story after another. And you can learn how to engage and grow your audience with just your smartphone on Facebook in my free Live Stream Rockstar challenge right here >

sharing your process

Will Sharing Your Process Help You Rule The World?

You’re a creative person.

And you’re working on stuff that you are crazy for. You say you’d do it even if you didn’t get paid. But there’s something that happens with creatives. They tend to stay in their creative closet. It’s a kind of block that’ll keep you from revealing your true talent. But, with just a little, regular exposure, your creativity can come out of the closet.

In the music making world this is called ‘woodshedding.’ As in ‘Out back practicing in the woodshed for hours and hours to get good enough.’

But you can build your audience, and be engaging, while you’re still in the woodshed. You can share your process – a little at a time – no matter what you do and no matter where you are in your learning curve. Each day you can post a small tidbit of what you’re working on. And you’ll learn so much in the process.

It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Your share can be a tweet, a Facebook post, a photo on Instagram. But most engaging is a short video. Just pull that smart phone out of your pocket and show us something you’re doing today. Take 30 seconds and then share the clip.

Do this often. Make it a habit. People will respond and you’ll build your community. And once it becomes a habit, it will become part of your creative process – driving your work forward.

How you can do this yourself

The video above is about as good as a sharing your process video can get. It shows just how engaging a story about someone’s process can be. It’s an endearing interview with artist Zina Nicole Lahr and a close look at her process – something she calls, ‘creative compulsive disorder.’

Zina needed something that would showcase her work but also tell a little bit about her personality and her interests. She had two days to shoot and edit so she and videographer Stormy Pyeatte shot the interview and smashed something together to meet their deadline.

But at nearly 6 and 1/2 minutes this video is long. And it shows so many projects. You could easily break this down to eight or nine separate short clips. There’s the LED parasol project, the robot project(s), the tarantula project, the crane puppet, the train puppet, stop animation, the soldering iron, the sea monster… each one of these could be stand-alone 30-seconds-in-a-day-in-the-life-of-the-artist videos.

How do you do this? You keep your smart phone handy with a simple tripod and turn it on when you hit an interesting or inspiring moment in your day.

You can also get help. Zina enlisted her friend who was a videographer. You don’t even need to go that far. Any friend who knows you well could sit behind your smart phone and make sure that you’re in the frame and ask you questions, interview style.

All you have to do is answer. No script needed. Best situation would be to partner with someone and help each other out with making short ‘share your process’ videos with each other. Not only will this make it easier, and better quality, but you can hold each other accountable.

Zina’s video ended up with a lot of visibility. It was chosen as a staff pick on Vimeo and has over 1 million views on facebook. Gives you some idea of the potential response to a ‘here’s what I’m up to’ video.

(On a sad note: On November 20, 2013 Zina passed away due to a hiking accident.)

stories with video

5 remarkable secrets to telling video stories

Why telling stories about your work is not always a good thing.

It took a long time for me to get this one right.

But once I did, everything started getting easier. New clients started showing up – not only with more interest in my work but with a greater appreciation for its value.

And yet, this is the one mistake that I see creative business owners making. It’s the thing that keeps them from standing out from the crowd and can turn your efforts to engage your audience into just so much time wasted.

Visit any website (especially your own ‘About’ page) and you’ll see the problem:

Talking about yourself instead of talking about your customer.

I know. I did this. It feels natural to want to show what you can do – or demonstrate the length and breadth of your experience. But your customers and clients don’t really care about you and your story. They care about themselves and their own story. They care about their problems and concerns. And they want to know if you understand them.

It’s Not About You – It’s About Them

Take a look at your website or your latest social media post or the elevator pitch you’ve been using at networking events. Is it all about you and how great your service or product is?

Or could you be telling video stories about the real benefits that your customers are looking for? Start telling stories about your customers and they’ll start talking with you – and hire you.

Here’s 5 essential steps to telling stories about your customers
1. Begin by telling their story.
2. Talk about their circumstances.
3. Present a picture of where they are now that shows you understand their concerns
4. Then show them where they could be.
5. Listen to what your customers & clients want and then show them how you can help them get it.

Air on the side of humanity

telling video storiesThe Jet Blue video above does this beautifully. In 30 seconds it perfectly describes the circumstances of the typical frequent flyer – showing the lack of customer care provided by the airline industry. In a review of the video, Adweek points out that the video shows how we’re actually quite pigeon-like, “Much like the humble pigeon, who flies in crowded spaces, gets crumbs for snacks and is generally ignored and/or despised, we tend to be unappreciated when we take to the skies aboard (other) airlines.”

Anybody who’s ever flown can relate.

And it’s funny because it’s a pigeon who’s narrating.

The video closes with a key insight that you can’t help but agree with: “There’s gotta be a way to fly with a little respect.”

Why this works

Jet Blue shows us where we are today – which is a crumby place to be (see what I did there?). And then suggests the possibility of something much better – which speaks to our collective desire.

We want to fly with respect.

Then they hit us with how they’ll take us there – with more leg room and free, unlimited snacks and two slogans to help us feel respected: “Air on the side of humanity” and “You above all.”

This video didn’t go super viral – but it didn’t have to.

It just works.