Cutting wasted time with video interviews

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.

Naz Mohammad [Blue Shirt] – Pastor of church plant in St Augustine, born and raised in St Augustine. He is talking with some of the students who will be doing a story on him this week. Ñ at St Helena Shiv Mandir. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 12800, Ä/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 28]

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.

Lukas & Nate interview Scott Brock, missionary to Trinidad [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 9000, Ä/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 35]

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.

Jeff Raymond helps Rachel Ingram and Miki Veness on their video project Ñ at Trinidad & Tobago Urban Ministries. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 12800, Ä/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 48]

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.

Action they took
Call to Action

Lennox Boodram – ministry partner that was saved out of drug and alcohol addiction, runs a Christian drug and family rehab center (Turning Point)that has been operating for the past 5 years. Great testimony. Ñ at Turning Point Drug & Family Resource Centre. [NIKON Z 6, 24.0-105.0 mm f/4.0, ISO 4500, Ä/4, 1/250, Focal Length = 38]

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.

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Meet Storyteller Hannah Bohrer

I walked over to Hannah Bohrer and asked her about her story. The night before she had met her subject of the story Marlen Talledo.

Marlen and Hannah at the premier showing of the videos. [Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM, ISO 3200, ƒ/6.3, 1/60]

Hannah was really moved by Marlen’s story. You can see when Marlen showed up for the event we had for the community to see the videos we had been working on our last night in Lima that Hannah was excited to see Marlen.

When we were working with Hannah on the story she was passionate about the content and all that she had learned about Marlen’s story.

Hannah talks with Pat Davison about her story. [Canon EOS 7D, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM, ISO 3200, ƒ/4, 1/60]

One of the hardest things each of the students struggled with and through was the cutting their videos down in time.

Andrea Carhuachîn helped translate Hannah’s video. Andrea lives in Peru and is in college studying communications and joined our workshop for the week as a translator. [Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM, ISO 1600, ƒ/4.5, 1/60]

There were a few criteria for which we made our decisions. First the missionaries picked people whose lives were changed by a particular ministry. We did stories on the seminary, a radio station and the prenatal center.

Marlen Talledo is the director of Centro Prenatal Vida Nueva [english “New Life Prenatal Center”] and if the content didn’t help tell the story of how the Prenatal center changed her life, we cut that out of the story.

The other thing that was driving our stories was the audience. Why should the audience care and also how can they get involved? You see if the audience was to be a conference where this video would be shown then we kept them in mind. If the audience was churches in the United States that are supporting the ABWE missionaries we would be sure the content would engage them.

One way I help teach this simple, yet very important concept of storytelling, was to ask people to think of communicating something to the mother or dad. Would how they tell the story change depending on which parent they were talking to at the moment.

Most all the videos were made for the United States churches that support ABWE and for the missionaries to use them also with the Peruvian churches that support these ministries.

Hopefully this gives you enough of the context for which Hannah made this video. Please comment below about what you think of the story.

If you want to learn how to have an experience like Hannah in storytelling workshop please consider joining us this June in Romania with Storytellers Abroad.

If you have a group that would like to have us come and teach you storytelling then write to me so we can create a special workshop for your organization.

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Meet Storyteller Naomi Harward

I met Naomi Harward a couple years ago on our Storytellers Abroad Workshop in Nicaragua. Naomi is one of the quietest people I have ever met.

Naomi working with James Dockery on her project. [Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM, ISO 1600, ƒ/4, 1/60]

Naomi said many times that video isn’t something she likes. She prefers writing. We continued to push her out of her comfort zone.

Pat Davison looks at Naomi’s project. [Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM, ISO 1600, ƒ/5.6, 1/60]

Each one of the instructors is direct when advising students. We do not beat around the bush. They give their strong opinions because they want the very best story possible for the subject and for the audience.

Naomi is the only workshop participant who did her story in English and then had it translated into Spanish for subtitles.

Listen to Sara Lu tell her story and see how Naomi captured it for you here:

If you want to learn how to have an experience like Naomi in storytelling workshop please consider joining us this June in Romania with Storytellers Abroad.

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