What was thing big Ah – Ha! moment with students during the Storytellers Abroad Multimedia Missions Workshop in Trinidad? How important it was to spend more time on the pre-interview.
We build into the workshop time for the students to get to know their subject. This is the pre-interview. Even doing this most everyone would start their “formal interview” with the camera rolling too soon.
They learned that if they didn’t know what the story was before they started they didn’t know how to take control. They would let the subject just talk and talk and talk. This meant they had 60+ minutes of an interview to edit and everyone of those interviews had to be redone.
When we teach how to interview, we teach what are the key points you are looking for to help tell an effective story.
While this storyline/narrative has been known for a long time in storytelling we still often struggle to get those key elements.
Subject Conflict Resource/Help Action they took Call to Action
Now the one thing we add to all of our stories that you don’t see in a movie theater is a call to action. Now that you have seen this story we want the audience to know how to get involved.
If the storyteller has taken time to get the story before they roll the camera those interviews are usually more of a 15 – 20 minute interview. The only reason it isn’t the short 3 – 5 minute finished project is they often have the subject do a few takes. They want to get the best emotional match to the content.
What all the students were talking about was how next time they will spend more time getting the story during the pre-interview so that the editing process will be much simplier.
I have known Jay York for years. We met at the Southwestern Photojournalism Seminar in Fort Worth, Texas. Jay was using his vacations to photograph for the ABWE.
Many years ago photographers volunteered their time to help ABWE missionaries by taking photos of work around the world that went into a database. During the film years missionaries would have to go to Harrisburg, PA offices and look through all the 35mm slides and get copies to use in their slide shows that they showed to churches and supporters when they were on furlough.
During our week in Lima, Peru Jay worked on a story about Elvira Cuevas Bolívar. Here is the package that Jay produced.
Jay worked methodically not only in being sure he understood Elvira’s story, which is much bigger than told in this package, but to work with three instructors Pat Davison, James Dockery and myself.
Jay wanted to understand every aspect of the storytelling process.
Just a couple months before the trip Jay switched camera systems to the Fuji mirrorless system. Jay shot most of this project on the Fuji X-T3.
If you want to learn how to tell a missions story like Jay join us this June in Romania with Storytellers Abroad.
Mr. Positivity is how I would describe Josh Hart. He was the first person to introduce himself to me when I first met the group in Lima, Peru. He was eager to learn and had a wonderful smile.
We spent time sitting by his computer and talking about his story on Darwin and Azucena Diaz. He went out and interviewed them and then the next day I was able to go with Josh as he spent more time getting B-Roll.
In film and television production, B-roll, B roll, B-reel or B reel is supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the main shot.
Here is the story that Josh produced during his week in Lima, Peru.
Each student had time with their subjects at a meal with everyone when we arrived. The the following day they hung out with them again getting to know them better.
Josh loves technology and shot his interviews in 4k. If you are not a geek that just means he shot them video with a very high resolution camera. This way he could shoot the couple side by side and then just zoom in on one person at a time. This made it possible to shoot with one camera but get some variety our of the interview.
While working together shooting his B-Roll I just hung back and watched. Since he had told me what he was wanting to capture I would just add suggestion when he ran out of ideas.
The one thing I was helping with Josh on was how to put into words his direction to the couple and translator what he needed next. He could tell them he needed them to walk in a direction, but he was having a hard time to tell them what they should be thinking about when they were being filmed.
“We are capturing you when you come to the church and have to take the taxi and unlock the building. I need you to do this a few times so I can film you from your front, back and side. Just do what you do every day when you make this trip.”
“I want to capture the two of you doing a bible study together that you talked about in the interview. Find a passage you guys have been working on together. I need you both to talk back and forth.”
If you want to learn how to tell a missions story like Josh join us this June in Romania with Storytellers Abroad.