Mastering the Art of Storytelling with Film

Film is a great way to convey a story, whether yours or a client’s. The tricky part is creating and promoting it successfully, without wasting time and money. Last month, the Maine Public Relations Council (MPRC) invited Shane Thomas McMillan, documentarian and educator at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies; and Ramsey Tripp, owner of Trade-mark R Productions; as well as moderator Dan Marois, freelance writer, producer, actor and communications specialist, to share insights into the world of film. 

Here are some tips from the workshop: 

  • Before beginning to plan the film, ask yourself: what’s the purpose of having pictures attached to this story, and what are you trying to convey? Be sure that you have a short and concise message to deliver.
  • Develop and be focused on a goal when creating the video. Target a particular audience. It would be great if “everyone” wanted to watch your video, but unfortunately that is rarely the case, so tailor your message to your target audience. 
  • Focus on the person behind the story. People like people. Build a rapport with the person being interviewed so they are comfortable and in turn more likely to be genuine. 
  • Let your interviewee talk — don’t interrupt them. Shy away from a script. Use a journalistic approach by asking numerous questions in different ways to get multiple versions of the response. 
  • Most importantly, make sure the video is relating back to your goals and objectives. The video may look great, but does it have value to your or your organization?

During the presentation, the infographic at left created by The Hoffman Agency was referenced (click here to enlarge), differentiating storytelling and corporate speak.

Often individuals confuse the two, utilizing jargon when they should be speaking more conversationally — viewers want something real! MPRC hosts professional development sessions on the third Friday of every month.

Be sure to join us on Friday, June 19 for breakfast and a session focusing on research methods, current realities within the research discipline and demonstrate how research informs public relations and marketing campaigns. The event will be broadcast from Husson University in Westbrook and Bangor. See more information at   

— by Jillian Kanter, Broadreach Account Executive and Client Operations Coordinator, and Communications Chair of MPRC