Our first feature film, 64 minutes in length – how do you possibly make 96,120 frames all say the same thing?
Every story you tell will come with a million decisions.
We can turn our backs, hide under the covers, or close our eyes. None of that will make them go away.
Think about something fairly straightforward like an interview. You’ve got your aperture, iso, shutter speed, camera height, focal length, white balance, picture profiles, lighting ratio, location, eyeline…okay, you get the point.
When I started filmmaking, I’d make every single one of those decisions with the same thing in mind ‘just make it look good’. But what is ‘looking good’? And it’s probably safe to say that not every story should look that way.
It’s tough business. A million decisions, all hitting you at once, while you’ve got to stay on schedule, get the shots, and find time in all of that to eat and breathe.
So we get overwhelmed and It’s easy to miss or dismiss so many of the decisions. For so long I didn’t know how camera height affected story, that shooting down on somebody could diminish them, or shooting up could give them power and authority.
But guess what? Every time I setup my camera, I was still saying something with my camera height, whether I knew it or not.
Our challenge then, as filmmakers, is to take those million decisions and make them with intention – harness their power to drive your story.
We need a rhythm, a resonance, a way to have them all point in the same direction.
Realistically, it’s impossible. Let’s just get that out of the way. No amount of pre-production will let you make every single decision with intention when met with the realities of bringing the story to life.
Our goal as storytellers shouldn’t be to chase the perfect story. Just take one more step forward. Listen more deeply this time.
We do this by creating keywords; 5 words that will be a filter for all of our decisions.
We come to these 5 words by listening. By immersing ourselves in the story. It’s why we believe that the best storytellers are the best listeners.
These 5 words represent what this story really is, what it means, and what we want it’s impact on people to be.
Ever heard the parable of the sculptor that when asked how he came to his masterpiece said that he listened to the marble? As opposed to showing up with your hammer and diving right into the rock with mighty force, we listen, let the story be heard, and then allow it to come through us.[do action=”pullquote-tweet”]We need to let the story move us, before we try to move the story.[/do]
But once we’re moved, it’s on.
We’ll use these 5 words to guide all of our decisions. We’ll use these 5 words to try and get all 92,160 frames to same the same thing.
And when somebody watches these 92,160 frames, it’s these 5 words, their essence, that they will be left with.
For #standwithme, these were our five keywords; One, Light, Subjective, Community, Impact.
So today, as we release #standwithme to the world, it’s these five words that we are truly sharing with you.
One – One person is enough to make a difference. You share the film, you facilitate a conversation, you make a difference in the lives of the people around you. Vivienne is one 9-year-old who showed us that a bunch of small steps can lead to a much bigger difference.
Light – Slavery is not easy to talk about. It was so important that this film be a beacon of hope, inspiration, and empowerment rather than something that knocks the wind out of you, and leaves you with little to do. By staying in the light, this issue and what each of us can do, becomes much more accessible.
Subjective – We each have a perspective to share. Slavery is built on objectification, turning a child into a tool for economic gain. We chose to fight that by bringing each person in this story to life, letting you get to know them. When we truly see each other as beings with value, dreams, and desires, how can we not share their story?
Community – Hey it’s all about community. Our connection to one another is based on the discussion we have and the stories we share. When you share #standwithme you are creating a community of people who can connect and support each other in their endeavors to create their own movement.
Impact – Making an impact on your own community, no matter how slight, is actually a really underrated experience. Think about the last time you left an impact on another person. Now think about the last time something left an impact on you. You have an amazing ability to touch the people around you, offer them support, and move them in a really positive way. Best. Feeling. Ever.
And when you choose to share this film with friends, it’s these same five things you will be sharing with them.
This is our first feature-length film. We’ve got a ton to learn. I mean, so much that sometimes it feels really, really overwhelming.
But for all we have still to learn, we know this – the most important step you’ll take, is always going to be your next one.
We dove into our first feature length film. We funded most of it ourselves. We made mistakes. Lots of them. But we are better storytellers, and better people, for the time we shared with this story.
As we bring #standwithme to the world, know that every rental means the world to us.
It’s you believing in our dream that a group of wedding filmmakers can take on stories much bigger, deeper, and more complex than we’d ever imagined. The belief that a well told story can really make a difference.
And when you share #standwithme you’re helping bring that dream to life, as well as 5 powerful words.
One. Light. Subjective. Community. Impact.
Thank you friends for sharing your time with us.
For letting us dream out loud.
For being so supportive of every step of our journey.
P.[do action=”pullquote-tweet-withurl”]Today standwithme is available to rent in just a few clicks. A story worth telling. A story worth sharing.[/do]
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Only a 9-year-old would dream a lemonade stand could free 500 enslaved children. After seeing a photo of two enslaved boys in Nepal, Vivienne Harr is moved to help in the only way she knows how: by setting up her lemonade stand. With the goal of freeing 500 children from slavery, she sets up her stand every day, rain or shine. In telling Vivienne’s story, #standwithme examines the realities of modern-day slavery, the role we play in it as consumers, and the importance of knowing the story behind what we buy.
Congratulations you guys! I’m so excited that #standwithme is finally ready to be released into the world. I know when I watched it, I was deeply moved by the power of one. If an inspired 9 year old girl can free 500 children who’ve been forced into slavery, just by selling lemonade, then what can I do? And even more importantly, what WILL I do?
Each of us has the power to change the world, and given that most of us reading this blog have been born into some of the wealthiest and most privileged countries in the world,we are in a better position than most to take a stand for something we believe in. We’ve got the world at our finger tips, so what will we do with it?
Since #standwithme, I’ve become so much more interested in the products I buy. Everything I purchase has a story, even if it’s not evident on the packaging. I’m buying more local, more organic, and more fairtrade. Throwing in a couple of extra dollars to make sure what I buy has a ‘no slave’ guarantee, yeah, I can definitely do that. I LOVED the story of the woman who became part of a co-op, and finally had enough money to educate her kids because she was getting a fair price for her crops.
Awesome work guys 🙂
Every time I watch this film, I am reminded of the importance that storytellers have in fostering the culture we live and participate in. As a small crew of dedicated filmmakers, your ability to reframe each of our personal contributions to the global community continues to blow me away. Not only does this film challenge me to look at the products I consume with greater awareness of the people who are affected by my decisions, your work invites me re-evaluate how I interact with and listen to the stories around me. This film reflects a way of being that I strive to bring more into my life– reminding us how deeply connected our stories really are, and the power of a lens to bring an eye from one end of the earth to another. Thank you for your vision, your heart, and the incredible hard work you put into gathering and sharing this story with the world.
It’s incredible what we can do when we realize we have the power to make a difference. Thank you for all that you’re doing in helping the young ladies of this world and in inspiring others to stand for something they believe in.
And yes, I attempted to read this comment in your awesome Australian accent. It was a total fail 🙂 Hope all is well!
This movie gave me goosebumps over and over again…
Not only was it beautifully executed but the story was SO inspiring and left me the desire to do more! It’s projects like this that made me get into film in the first place.
I hope this movie spreads like wildfire to show people what’s possible with a little optimism and dedication! 🙂
I admire all the work your team creates and have learned so much through the Storytelling with Heart workshop… Thank you for all you do!
I’ve been following Stillmotion’s blog for a long time and have been so excited to see the entire team grow in numbers as well as in their craft. They’ve taught me how video is so much more than just getting a point across. It’s so clearly, as seen in #standwithme, the finest form of motivational speaking.
The flood gates are open. There’s no stopping Stillmotion team from telling the world truths that we’ve been needing to hear. 🙂
What an incredibly rich story of many layers. I commend your editors, Quenna and Ryland for weaving these stories together the way they did. I was also taken in by the beautiful cinematography of each location. One can truly feel the emotion from those being interviewed but equally and amazingly so, I believe I felt the love from each and every person that was behind the scenes on this film. Stillmotion was meant to tell these stories. Thank you, Vivienne for being the driving force behind all of it.
I am sorry I did not stumble upon Stillmotion while they were on the road but I look forward to hearing Heidi speak at Wistiafest.
I loved the film. I have been moved to do something I just don’t know what. I recently started buying the bottled lemonade. I tell everyone I can the story. In fact I was in the store yesterday standing in front of the bottles of #standwithme Lemonade and saw this women grab a bottle. I told her she made a great choice and then proceded to relate the story of Vivienne and her lemonade stand. She grabbed another bottle and said thanks. I want to do more though. So I think I am going to figure out everything I eat and try to make my fridge a fair trade only fridge. Wish me luck.
I just watched stand with me sitting in the labor room with my wife waiting for our daughter to turn up and I am already in tears before the baby even gets here. And I know those tears are because my heart is breaking for the kids in your film whilst at the same time knowing I haven’t tried hard enough to make things better for them. Thank you for your film, your style already inspires my work but now I have woken up to a world with an outlook that not only worries about the world my daughter will inherit but also one that incompases a need to make it beautiful for everyone else too. Thank you, thank you, thank you x