Visual storytelling can prove to be the most effective means to convey your story to customers, investors, beneficiaries and all stakeholders who matter to your brand, if done right. It can be alternately referred to as filmmaking. Intuitively, the idea of filmmaking may sound expensive to most entrepreneurs, changemakers and marketers. But,it may not be so. This post will guide social changemakers on how social impact can be shown through filmmaking.
In the previous post on filmmaking for impact, we briefly touched upon the various types of films made for impact and some of the acclaimed ones too. What we will talk about here is, HOW films are made. To begin with, all social impact films, yes, the ones you see on charity:water website and those short, documentary-style, clips you see on The Better India Facebook page are ‘non-fiction short films’. Gibberish? Let me simplify that for you.
Films spanning not more than 30 mins, which involve REAL people, REAL environment, REAL situations and REAL stories are non-fiction short films.
Non-fiction short films further consist of 2 types:
These are the mainstream non-fiction short films that are made where there is an interaction between the video maker, the changemaker and the community in the film.
Non-audio-visual films involve absolutely no interaction throughout the span of the film but a voice-over with a script plays in the background leading you throughout the length of the film. This type of film is specifically used when you have to an idea or a phenomenon.
Cutting to the chase,
How Are Non-Fiction Short Films Made?
Non-fiction short films can span a budget of zero to more than 50L INR. It can be made with a smart phone or using high-resolution cameras and filmmaking equipment along with a fully fledged production team. What really matters here is how you tell the story and how well you have captured the intangible component of ‘impact’ into a focused visual content. Non-fiction short filmmaking is broadly 3-step journey:
- Planning (Pre-production)
Every impact film has a purpose or a call to action which you want your audience to perform. The first step towards making a short film is the concept. This is the most important phase since your entire filmmaking process hinges upon what you really want to convey. Identify the protagonist and other characters in the story. Identify where the film an be shot. If you plan to interview someone, tell them exactly what you want to know from them and whether they are willing to be captured on the camera. Ensure that you have all the necessary permissions from the authorities, if any. Test and service your gear with spares at hand. There are 4 types of stories for social good brands. Here’s a quick template to determine what type of story you need to create.
This is the actual recording phase of the film, involving shooting at a real location. This requires appropriate equipment and a small team. The goal should be to get high quality, professional looking visuals and a clean audio (Audio remains an Achilles’s heel for most field videographers). There is a wide variety of cameras and audio equipment available depending upon your budget. Not only cinema-grade cameras but iPhones and DSLRs also can be used for filmmaking.
Rohan (Founder, Creatively Unsettled) while filming the ‘Sustain Earth’ visual story at Thannapalli.
- Editing (Post-production)
Short film comes to life during this phase. Here, the video clips shot in the field are cut, arranged and framed according to the storyline planned in the first phase. Using various video editing software like FinalCut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro and others, raw video clips are synced with audio on a timeline and brought together to form a visual story.
Impact films are typically made to raise funds for a cause, or create awareness about a specific socio-economic or socio-environmental issue with an ultimate objective of bringing the world’s attention to something that deserves it. Promoting your film is a whole new ballgame. Much on that, later.
What is your idea of a short film for your social good brand? We would love to help you out!