Meghan Duncan & James Dockery catching up since their time together in Kosovo a couple years ago. This is Meghan’s second storytellers workshop. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 140, 1/200, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 24)]
We have a teaching schedule that requires the subjects to be available to the storytellers for a good 3 to 4 days at the first of our time in the field. Meghan’s person had some job come up at the last moment which through her whole project either out and we find a substitute or as Meghan pushed for was to pack all the process into a couple days.
Since this was Meghan’s second workshop Jeff Raymond decided to let her along with the support of Bill Bangham going with her on getting the b-roll to meet that deadline.
The success of the project has a great deal to do with how motivated Meghan was for what would require event later night editing than most.
Meghan was given this paragraph about Cesar:
Cesar became a believer while he was in prison. He became a spiritual leader within the prison and now wants to continue ministry as a pastor. He has started studies at the Facultad but is currently taking a break to get married. He is involved with a new church plant and will hopefully become the pastor of that church.
Watch how she got more by peeling the onion as we say in storytelling.
If you are passionate about theological education, start the conversation with ABWE here at abwe.org/go.
Storyteller Ken Robinson is listening in class to James Dockery teaching Adobe Premiere Pro. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 8000, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 105)]
Storyteller Ken Robinson was assigned Christian Aracena for his story. Here is the paragraph that he was given.
“Christian Aracena is a Facultad graduate who is currently leading a thriving church plant in Las Condes. They have an English translation available for their service which ministers to ABWE short-term missionaries and other expats (not just from the US). His one daughter is currently attending SCA, but his older daughter is struggling with English impacting her ability to attend SCA. They are currently homeschooling her.”
Ken wrote on Facebook, “Well it is finished! The Storytellers Abroad Missions Multimedia Workshops is complete. The finished product is more than just this video, it is the friendship and connections made and the difference in the lives of everyone on our team. We may never know the full impact our work until the other side of heaven!”
Watch the final story that Ken captured.
If you want to support the Facultad Teológica Bautista ABEM so they can help more students like Christian Aracena go here to learn more on how to do just that.
If you want to do a workshop like Ken did to capture this story then go here Storytellers Abroad.
Storyteller Catherine Gray is out early capturing b-roll of the Ciliniroglu children being dropped off at school. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 1400, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 35)]
Storyteller Catherine Gray was given one of the stories that was to help ABWE missionaries running a school in Santiago, Chile. We asked the missionaries what they needed. One of the primary needs was funds to use as scholarships for the students to attend the school.
We then asked the team to identify some of the students/families that have benefited from a scholarship. They then gave us this information about one such family.
“Cuneyt & Claudia Cilingiroglu are parents of four students at SCA. He is from Turkey, and she is from Chile. Several years ago, they began a local business making muffins and desserts, but it had a slow start. As a result, money was tight. Through the Student Fund, SCA was able to reduce tuition to allow their kids to continue attending while the business got started.”
Watch the video, captured by Catherine, to see how ABWE stepped in and gave them more than just financial help.
If you want to support the Santiago Christian School so they can help more families like the Cilingiroglu family go here to learn more on how to do just that.
If you want to do a workshop like Catherine did to capture this story then go here Storytellers Abroad.
Cole Buchanan is off to get B-Roll of pastor Rodrigo Cisternas. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 800, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 82)]
Storyteller Cole Buchanan was given this small paragraph and then asked to flesh out the story.
“Rodrigo Cisternas is a graduate of the seminary (Facultad) in Santiago. He is now the pastor of a church in Recoleta that was planted by ABWE missionaries. That church has grown to almost 300 people, and they have worked to start 3 additional churches. He also teaches at the Facultad and has children attending Santiago Christian Academy at a reduced cost thanks to the Student Fund.”
Storyteller Jennifer Nelson works with coaches Bill Bangham and James Dockery putting the final touches before our showing to the missionaries who helped us in producing these stories.[NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 3200, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 28)]
Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, Texas sent their former staff pastor Julian Pizarro to Santiago, Chile to do missions. Pizarro went to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for his training.
He is planting a church in the upper income neighborhood of Los Ciruelos.
Storyteller Jennifer Nelson was assigned the Pizarro family because they are sending their children to Santiago Christian Academy which was founded by ABWE [Association for Baptists for World Evangelism] for the purpose of helping missionaries with the education of their children while doing missions.
Without the school Julian’s wife was staying out of the ministry to do full-time home schooling of their children.
Listen to the story that Jennifer captured telling how Santiago Christian Academy is helping them be more effective in their church plant.
If you are interested in teaching in a missions school around the world like in Chile to to www.abwe.org/go to learn more about opportunities to serve.
Maybe you are interested in learning how to tell stories like this one. Go to StorytellersAbroad.com to learn more about workshops in the future.
Emily Tromp, in the foreground, working hard on her story during our Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Missions Workshop in Santiago, Chile. [NIKON Z 6, VR Zoom 24-105mm f/4G IF-ED, Mode = Aperture Priority, ISO 4500, 1/100, ƒ/5.6, (35mm = 28)]
Before the workshop starts for participants, some of the coaches go early to the country and lay the foundation for the workshop. We spend time working on some of the logistics that involve housing, food and transportation for the workshop.
The core to this time is finding stories. We talk with the missionaries and find out what are the needs they have right now. Often these are things like a building, money for something and people.
Basically it is a list of wants and needs. The problem with this list is there is nothing emotionally engaging to it.
We then ask the important question “Why do you need this?” That is when they tell us what they can do if they get those resources. Often those answers are pretty generic. “We can help more people” is a common answer.
Can you give us an example of a life changed by your ministry that you need more support for? This is when we start to find those stories.
The teacher/missionaries at the Santiago Christian Academy shared how through the school they were doing evangelism of families. Some families just need some help with scholarships and that by individuals like you and churches also supporting they can reach more people with the Gospel.
This is one of those stories.
Storyteller Emily Tromp
Storyteller Emily Tromp shares the story of Maria Paz Gonzalez, a single mother who lives with her daughter, Antonia, in Ñuñoa, Chile. Maria has dealt with a great deal of adversity in regards to her health and has struggled with heart issues that have impacted her ability to work. Due to financial difficulties arising from her medical needs, she did not believe she could afford to send her daughter to Santiago Christian Academy, but thanks to the “SCA Student Fund” the school has been able to cover the costs of Antonia’s education. Despite continued struggles with her health, Maria continues to keep a positive outlook on life and gives thanks to God for everything he has given her.
To support the student fund, go to abwe.org/give and search for Santiago Christian Academy Student Fund.
Maybe you are a storyteller yourself, but have never done a missions story. We are planning workshops right now for next year. Go to Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Missions Workshop website and start the process so we can alert you to the trips and dates for next year.
The workshop is designed for those who already have a working knowledge of photography and have some basic writing skills. Many of the past workshop participants worked on their college newspapers, studied communications in college or have been working in the industry.
The workshop is designed around doing what a seasoned pro storyteller would be doing to tell stories for a missions agency. Our coaches have been working in missions for years. I grew up in missions and have been doing missions storytelling professionally since 1984.
Here are some of the things we address and this is not a complete list:
Identifying the Audience
Identifying the Client
Navigating the politics of missions organizations
Cross cultural issues
Difference between using logic and emotions to tell stories
Why you need to know the story before hitting the record button
Understanding how Human Voice, Words, Visuals and Music can all tell a story more effectively
Having a “REAL DEADLINE” and delivering a finished story to the client
Coaches share their call to “Missions Storytelling”
Deep dive into a person’s life that you get to tell their story
“The debilitating interpersonal impairments experienced by individuals with Austism Spectrum Disorder are assumed to result from a neurocognitive impairment in the basic motivation and ability to understand people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors – perhaps even their own.”
– Personality and Self-Insight in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder by: Roberta A. Schriber, Richard W. Robins, and Marjorie Solomon
I really want to fit in and connect with people. This desire is what has led me to try and understand good communication skills and to do a LOT of self evaluation.
People with Autism and those struggling in storytelling have something in common. We can get a message delivered, but are often perplexed as why the audience isn’t responding.
I am on the Autism Spectrum and considered to be high functioning. What is important to understand for this blog post is at its core Autism is about a disorder that has social impairment at its core.
My wife, family and friends have all gotten used to me. I will be deep in thoughts and when something fascinating is in my mind I often just share this with those around me.
When I do share these thoughts I am seldom taking the time to understand what is going on at the moment with them. I do a poor job of meeting people where they are in that split second and helping them make a transition to something I would like to share.
Guess what? When it comes to business and communications in general this is a problem for everyone. When you have something to sell you are often like a person with Autism. You have a really hard time to meet people where they are. People often are talking about everything they know about their product, but not understanding at all where your audience are in the moment and in relationship to the product they are selling.
One huge thing people who are in business and Autism have in common is often lacking an understanding of self.
We are so into our thoughts that we are not thinking about how we are coming across to others [AUDIENCE].
Two common themes I heard through my life is that first I need to learn to meet people where they are in the moment. Secondly most everyone said that once people got to know me they appreciated me so much more.
When you are in communications or sales you cannot survive very long with these characteristics. You need to be seen as a person who cares for others. You need to be seen as someone who is interested in others and not just yourself.
The hardest part of storytelling is not knowing your subject or peeling the onion to get the best story. The hardest part of storytelling is meeting the audience where they are with the story.
You need to do as much research understanding your audience’s knowledge of the subject as you do about your story/product.
When it comes to storytelling for nonprofits you are always going to have a “Call to Action” at the end of the story. Now that you have heard this story here is how you can get involved.
People take action to work with a nonprofit because of a few things.
They have a skill the nonprofit needs
They have a heart for the purpose of the nonprofit
They have someone who is involved with the nonprofit that they care about [ie..family or friend who they want to support]
In narrative storytelling the hero of the story, the subject, has a problem that they cannot solve on their own. They need some help. Either they have someone to help them like a mentor or some sort of a resource that helps them overcome the adversity and become better because of this process.
Many nonprofits are about providing education. They need teachers, administrators and others to help run a school. When telling a story of someone they helped this helps to tell what they do and invite others to help them continue doing this with even more people. If the audience has people who have worked in education in some way they may see themselves wanting to be part of the organization. A teacher who just finished 30 years teaching and retired in their early 50s may want to go and teach in a nonprofit and give back.
The key is the storyteller must know what the audience can do to be a part of the success of the future story of the organization.
Once you understand your audience you now know how to meet them where they are and tell the story in a way that helps them to see how they are part of the solution.
Here are some questions to make you think about if you are engaging your audience as a storyteller.
Have you had to change the story because of the audience?
Have you asked questions that you wouldn’t have asked, but the audience may ask when working on a story?
Have you ever created a focus group of an audience and asked them what makes them want to participate in a nonprofit?
Have you ever created a focus group of an audience and asked them what turns them off about nonprofits?
Have you ever dropped a great story because it doesn’t really help the organization?
Have you had to talk a client out of doing a story because it doesn’t really engage the audience?
To sum this up, when have you had to adjust how you tell a story because of the audience?
Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
This past week I was in Santiago, Chile helping with Jeff Raymond, James Dockery and Bill Bangham lead the Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Missions Workshop. We were working each day from getting up at 7:00 am until well after midnight each day.
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
I believe we were training the storytellers to be the best witnesses to what they had seen and heard of each person they were assigned to capture.
The week started with each of the workshop participants [Storytellers] doing pre-interviews with their subjects to get the story that they would later capture on camera/video.
I was teaching the class that you shouldn’t record the video interview until you had a pretty good idea of the storyline. The reason is then you would have much longer interview from which you had to transcribe all that content to dig for a story.
Friendships with the subjects that we were telling their stories and the translators and missionaries were being created throughout the week.
The best part of the week in my opinion was the one-on-one or even two-on-one coaching that was happening.
We went on location with each of the workshop participants to give direction there as well.
The weather in Santiago, Chile was winter while we were there.
We spent a lot of time in the field and even more sitting in front of the computers organizing and editing of the projects.
When we were trying to output some of the projects to make the final movie we ran into problems with the software. I had not seen those particular errors before. This is when having one of the senior editors for ESPN James Dockery as part of the teaching team made a huge difference.
Please stay tuned for the final videos. I will share them here when we have finished putting the final edits on them.
We believe that packing all we could into one week on the field is worth the effort. We believe that “we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
One of the most difficult things for photographers to photograph is large groups.
Communication is key to getting the best photo where you can see everyone’s face.
One of the best possible solutions is risers. They are often called CHORAL RISERS.
Now even using these risers doesn’t solve the problems with people’s heads blocking the people behind them in a photo.
No matter how many times I work to get things just right there are always a couple of folks who move and from their perspective they think they are OK.
The two guys on the back row here think they are OK since they can “see” me. What you need is each row to create enough space between people that the space between their heads creates a “Window” space for the people in the row behind them to stand.
Staggering people works, but telling the people on a row to help create a “Window” and have the 2nd row put their heads into those “Windows” can really speed up lining people up for a group photo.
If you don’t have risers be sure to create more space between people.