The craft of documentary storytelling | Part 1

Not everyone is a good storyteller, but we all have a great story to tell. Some people might not know the great stories they have within them which is why we introduce you to the craft of documentary storytelling.

What is a story?

Every story is a journey; they take us to places we have or haven’t dreamed of and remind us of the weirdness that life entails. All stories are unique in opposing the simplicity of universal assumptions based on sameness. They make you think that difference is the very ground of our shared humanity. How stories are told is culture and media specific. As stories are everywhere, they are at once the raw material and the cultural product of memory and will therefore always have a ‘fictional’ element. But at the heart of every story lies a truth that gives power to the message.

At Reelmedia Film we are vigilant on issues of representation, seeking to represent individuals and their stories in a way that inspires empathy, contributing positively to people and planet. We designed the GenOcean campaign to grow awareness, build knowledge and drive action in the general public, in order to restore and protect the ocean. A story that reframes the way people think about the ocean and ocean issues, engendering an emotional connection that drives audiences to engage and take action. The campaign features several stories of people from around the world who are connected to ocean activism. Have a look and get inspired about storytelling that actually moves people.

The importance of story

Stories affect everyone. From their creation to their reception, every story has an impact. The stories told in feature films can leave a viewer with a multitude of emotions. Think about how many films have stayed with you after watching them. The stories told in the daily newspaper for instance also influence your emotional state of being. They allow people to digest often complicated political and social events by applying the principles of storytelling. It makes the reader or viewer understand. Even statistics and facts tell a story – the depletion of value in a stock tells a story of potential loss and misfortune and vice versa. Without stories, it is impossible for someone to connect to information. Stories allow for change and meaningful impact.

The power of storytelling for social change

Storytelling can move audiences to reconsider life as they know it. It can inspire, inform and motivate action. We believe that everything we produce should tell a story of change. Through documentary film, multimedia and campaigns, we learn new information about the world and our place in it. Likewise, children’s education also depends on storytelling. We learn at a young age to tell stories so that we can share our life experiences and stand our ground in the world. Our being is influenced by stories every day which results in our behaviour changing. Storytelling is this powerful because people connect and identify with it, initialising the thought of change.

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