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Storytelling With Heart Tour

By December 2, 2013Uncategorized

We Believe Great Stories Can Change The World. Here’s How To Bring One to Life.

Think of the last great story you can remember.

A movie, a book, a documentary, a stand-up routine, a dinner conversation…

Pick one that really captivated you, hooked you in, or forced you into deep thought.

(Yes, I’m serious. Stop reading and think of one!)

Got it? … … … Good.

Now ask yourself… Why?

Why was this such a powerful story? Why did you remember it specifically?

Was it memorable characters? A struggle you could relate to? An inspiring journey? A sad ending?

What made it so memorable for you?

Over the past 9 years as a film studio, we’ve analyzed thousands of stories in just this way. From classic literature to online wedding films. From routine sports broadcasts to Hitchcock and Tarantino.

We’ve also been fortunate to walk through this process with hundreds of students from all over the world face-to-face.

And you know what we found?

All great stories have a set of universal principals that they share in common.

It doesn’t matter how they are told, when they were told, or who told them. Great stories share common traits that magnify their meaning and impact.

And that’s why you’re here right? To make an impact with your films?

We’ve learned that in order to make the kind of impact we want – it’s a two step process:

  1. Step One: Aggressively study the common components that all great stories share.
  2. Step Two: Bust our butts to bring stories to life. Over and over again.

We’ve dedicated our life to understanding the fundamentals of storytelling and filmmaking – and more importantly – learning how to take an idea and turn it into a powerful film.

Our most recent (and most important) example of this has been our first feature-length original documentary, #standwithme.

The entire Stillmotion team has spent the last 8 months of our lives dedicated to birthing this original work.

12+ hour days. 6-7 day weeks. Dozens of countries. Hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We’ve invested so much into this because of one simple truth…

Pouring your heart into telling a captivating story can change the world.

Our film, #standwithme, is now locked and finished. We’re gearing up to share it with the world in a big way soon. But before we do – we wanted to hit the road and share the process we went through with a small group of fellow storytellers and filmmakers.

The last time we organized a workshop tour like this (the KNOW Tour) was a life-changing experience for our team. We were inspired city after city by thousands of filmmakers that came out to explore, push their limits, and become stronger category.

I can tell you confidently that without the inspiration and community we built from our first tour – this film would not have been possible. We’ve pushed ourselves to stretch for bigger impact as a result of those amazing couple of months building relationships.

Now, once again, we want to come and spend time with you.

We want to dissect what we’ve learned, share how we brought this to life, and model how you can use this approach to tell the stories YOU want to tell… to share the stories that matter to YOU with the world.

To give you some more background – here’s a peek at our #standwithme trailer…

As you can probably tell, we’re fired up about this!

We’ve now seen firsthand what pushing for bigger impact and deeper storytelling can create!

Despite the pride we have for the upcoming #standwithme premiere – we’ve realized a long time ago that to make the largest impact possible – we have to do more than just share the film itself.

We need to share our *process* of making the film – and what we learned throughout – with a band of like-minded peers and students.

Because no matter how many stories we set out to tell – we can’t possibly tell all the ones that deserve to be shared with the world.

And truth be told, we’re not the *right* people to tell every story either.

There are stories out there that ONLY you can share with the world.

And that’s why we’ve always taken time to not only put together our own projects – but to share with other filmmakers what we’ve learned along the way.

Together, we can make a much bigger impact (as a community) than any of us can do alone.

Announcing the Storytelling With Heart TOUR!…

Storytelling With Heart Map.

Starting February 1st, 2014 and continuing through April – we’ll be visiting 30 different cities in the United States in Canada. (Sorry international friends – we’re working on bringing the tour over to you down the road!)

In each location we’ll be hosting an action-packed day workshop called “Storytelling With Heart” with up to a hundred like-minded filmmakers and storytellers.

At each Storytelling With Heart Workshop:

  • Doors will open between 9:00 and 9:30 a.m. (for meeting new friends before).
  • We’ll start our first education module at 10:00 a.m. sharp.
  • There will be 7 modules – ranging from 45-90 minutes. (More specifics below)
  • We’ll have an hour set aside for a lunch break – and we’ll have a list of options that are close.
  • We’ll wrap up by 6 p.m. each day.

We have several options for registration (listed further down), but each workshop registration guide will also contain a 48-page guidebook that’ll be integral to the workshop – and valuable to reference on future projects and shoots.

We’ll use our own documentary, #standwithme, as a full case study throughout the day’s curriculum. We promise to hold nothing back from our experience and give you a real world example of how we applied each topic we cover to our own feature-length film.

Here’s a full list of dates and times (organized by date):

  • February 3rd — San Francisco, CA
  • February 5th — Hollywood, CA
  • February 7th — San Diego, CA
  • February 9th — Phoenix, AZ
  • February 12th — Denver, CO
  • February 14th — Kansas City, MO
  • February 17th — Dallas, TX
  • February 19th — Austin, TX
  • February 21st — Houston, TX
  • February 23rd — New Orleans, LA
  • February 26th — Tampa, FL
  • February 28th — Atlanta, GA
  • March 2nd — Nashville, TN
  • March 4th — Raleigh, NC
  • March 6th — Washington, DC
  • March 8th — Philadelphia, PA
  • March 10th — New York, NY
  • March 12th — Boston, MA
  • March 15th — Toronto, ON
  • March 17th — Detroit, MI
  • March 20th — Cincinnati, OH
  • March 22th — Chicago, IL
  • March 24th — Madison, WI
  • March 26th — Minneapolis, MN
  • March 29th — Winnipeg, MB
  • April 1st — Calgary, AB
  • April 4th — Vancouver, BC
  • April 6th — Seattle, WA
  • April 8th — Portland, OR

In addition to the this intense workshop for filmmakers – the night *before* each of these dates – we’ll be showing a premiere of the movie in a local theater. (Two of our 3 registration packages contain tickets to the premiere in them!)

Unlike the workshop, this will be open to the general public. In fact, we encourage you to attend the premiere the night before – and to bring your family, some close friends, or your church group/organization.

This will be a great opportunity to be one of the first people to see the full film – and invite family and friends to share in your filmmaking journey without sitting through the intense learning the following day! 😉

Speaking of the workshop, let’s talk in more detail about exactly what we’ll be covering!

Module 1: Avoiding Most Filmmakers’ Biggest Mistake (Do This Before You Pick Up a Camera).

Have you ever sat down and thought about what really draws you into filmmaking?

What stories keep you up at night? What films would you shoot for free, on weekends, or in the middle of a snowstorm?

The truth is, we are often too busy to really figure out the real reason we’re attracted to certain stories – the real reason we got into filmmaking in the first place.

The secret is that it all starts with why.

We believe stories can change the world. That’s our why.

It’s also the first line of the email we wrote to Eric Harr in what was the beginning of an incredible journey. It was the first thing we said to Lisa Kristine, Paul Rice, and Free the Slaves, when we asked to travel with them across the world to document slavery first hand.

Knowing our why and being able to clearly communicate it not only gave us the opportunity to make #standwithme, but it also MADE #standwithme what it was. Without these experts, the international travel, and the front lines – this would be a far different and far weaker film.

Let’s be honest, there is a lot of noise out there – the person you want to interview likely has other people vying for their time as well. That space you want has a cost, schedule, and a handful of restrictions.

Developing your why and learning to communicate it in a strong way plays and essential role in multiple parts of your filmmaking process.

Module 2: What All Good Stories Share in Common…

Filmmaking can often feel ambiguous, there are so many questions, so many options, and so many ways you can put a story together.

Sorting through all the moving parts and deciphering how to put the pieces together in a way that makes it most effective is one of the biggest things we’ve learned over the years.

The reality is, we all want people to see our films.

We all want people to share our films, to be moved, to have them make an impact.

We often struggle with the how – how do we get there and how do we make it happen. What if there were a set of basic elements and principles that every story has?

And what if understanding and using these ideas in the stories we make, small or large, we can touch people in a much stronger way?

Nobody wants to watch a film where, halfway through, you shut it off or wonder were its going.

Story structure, the building blocks of story – have been so instrumental in our studio moving from wedding films to pieces that could help Canon launch the C100, that could win Emmy’s, or that could tackle such a huge issue as child slavery.

Module 3: The Single Most Valuable Filmmaking Skill…

So there’s a fox, a chicken, and some chicken seed – you need to get them across the river but you can only bring one at a time.

If left alone together, the fox will eat the chicken… and the chicken will eat the chicken seed.

How do you make it happen?

And once you solve that, how do you make it happen while keeping your crew happy, staying on schedule, and sticking to your original budget.

Every day of filmmaking, for us, has come with monumental challenges.

So much so, that these days we anticipate them, wait for them to come, and when they do, we greet them with an excitement for how we might creatively overcome them.

Land in a foreign country and all your audio gear is delayed? Have a shoot and your talent doesn’t show up? Stuck in terrible lighting conditions and you have no gear?

Every shoot comes with at least a handful of challenges, really big road blocks that, unless you solve them quickly, effectively, and keep everything else on track, they can make the difference between a success and a failure.

Here is the tricky part – these challenges often disguise themselves – they often seem too big, too scary, or simply unsolvable – so we pack up and we walk away. Far too often we came home from a shoot with that one ‘what if’ statement, how perfect it would have been ‘if only’.

Here is the secret answer – it’s all an illusion, and it’s all solvable.

Learning to identify these roadblocks and gaining a set of techniques on how to solve them is one of the greatest things we can share with you to make every shoot you go on more enjoyable.

We spent years developing ways to identify these roadblocks and to handle them creatively, so the shoot goes on without a hitch, things stay on budget, on time, and you deliver more than anybody had expected.

We want to share with you those biggest challenges we’ve faced and the very practical techniques we’ve learned on how to deal with the challenges you will face on every shoot.

Share a Meal With Some New Friends…

After three action-packed modules in the morning, we’ll take a full hour break for lunch.

Your lunch is not provided for you – however, we’ll have several options in each city that will be within walking distance.

One of the great things about the crowd at these events is that everyone who comes is like-minded and passionate about making a difference in the world with their stories. As such, there’s no shortage of good conversation, new friends, and valuable local connections to be found.

After picking up lunch with a new group of friends, you’ll settle back down as we head into another, even larger bulk of training.

Module 4: How to Raise Money, Run Your Studio, & Build a Team (And Hopefully Live Through It).

It’s romantic to think of making your own stories, we have the ultimate creative freedom, we connect with the story, and we can tell whatever stories matter most to us.

This is all true – and this is an amazing place to be – but the reality is that there are so many hurdles to overcome in getting there. For us, one of the biggest challenges has always been funding.

Who pays for the stories you want to tell?

If you are the one to pay, how do you make that money back and how do you dare try and be profitable?

As your business grows, you’ll bump into new challenges. When can you add team members and still manage the overhead? How do I raise my rates to free up my time without losing money?

It’s a big daunting world to build a studio and to create a path that leads to more creative freedom.

We want to share tangible ways you can find the right people to join your team, increase your prices, move into the work you want, work with the clients you want, and how you can approach raising funding in several different ways for your projects.

Module 5: Watch Our Exact Process For Conducting Emotional, Powerful, and Exciting Interviews.

Interviews are such a huge part of documentary, corporate, and even wedding work.

Starting out we always went into an interview with fingers crossed thinking, hoping, wishing for luck that it would go well. What we’ve learned is that what you get out of an interview is so much more of what you bring to the table, and so much less of the person you are interviewing.

How you prepare, what you say, your first words, how you react, how it feels, how it looks, and the overall experience all play such a big part in everything that comes across on camera.

We’ve interviewed quarterbacks in the NFL, dignitaries with hundreds of interviews under their belts, and now a 9 year old child – and what we can tell you without a doubt, is that there are some critical things you can do to prepare, and just as many things you can do while interviewing that will lead to an authentic, deep, and emotional interview.

What’s more than that – those people that have been interviewed hundreds of times by media far and wide, will finish the interview and say ‘It’s never felt like this before’.

And you, as a storyteller, will have captured something that nobody else has, that nobody else could. And that is truly special.

Module 6: Stop Overlooking Your Audio. Seriously.

We’ve all heard the phrase – audio is half of what you see.

Many of us probably would say, if asked, that good audio is an important part of storytelling. Yet we rarely, us included, devote nearly the time, effort, or care to our sound as we do to our picture.

We’ll bring a crew of three and just add on audio to somebody’s role, we’ll slap up a boom mic minutes before an interview, or roll with whatever we can do last minute and commit to fixing it in post.

Here’s the truth – not only can sound make your films stronger, make them more sharable, and ultimately have them making a larger impact, it is also a huge differentiator. So few studios put in 1/3 of the time into sound as it deserves, and then its glossed over in post and becomes much more like wallpaper – constant and fading into the background.

3 years ago we sat down as a studio and we set out goals for the year. At the top of that list was audio – record better field sound, mix our films better, have stronger soundtracks, and work on stronger sound design.

It’s been years since then and we still have tons to learn and miles to go, but we can say that we’ve come a long way and we think we can help you make your films stronger right away by making smart choices in sound.

How do you choose the right soundtrack? What elements of sound inspire certain emotions?

How and when do you use foley to create depth and texture in post? What are the best ways to get strong field sound while minimizing the time and few needed to make it happen?

We’ll answer all these questions and more.

Module 7: Shoot Like a Ninja: Hacks for Staying Light, Moving Quickly, & Getting Difficult Shots.

Our industry has been moving at an incredible pace.

When we started, the revolution was 35mm adapters – 12” long attachments for your cameras that would add a shallow depth of field while making our camera look incredibly menacing and longer than a shotgun.

Today we have small cameras with shallow depth of field, crazy dynamic range, and amazing options to control the picture. We have stabilizers that can do so much of the work with us. We have sub $300 monopods that can deliver not just good footage, but shots that have movement, are unique, and are quick to achieve while in the field.

On our first shoot for the NFL we had a trial contract – one shoot for them to see what we could do.

They had no intent to air anything we shot, it was simple a way to fly us all down, give us access to a game, and see if our approach to weddings would really translate into a football game.

When we sat there in front of a room of NFL Network shooters, producers, and editors to screen what we had shot, they sat mouths wide open not only struck by the story and look of the shots, but by how it was all possible.

At that time, several years ago, sliders were relatively new and so the movement we were getting was what they had come to expect out of a full size dolly – but having that in the stands of an arena would simply not have been possible. That reaction led to a 100+ day shoot contract, which eventually led to contracts with CBS, Emmy’s, and tons of commercial work.

Staying on top of the new tools, tricks, and trends not only lets you tell your stories more effectively, but it helps you get bigger jobs, attract more clients, and quickly get to telling the stories you want.

For #standwithme we found ourselves above the Kalahari desert with a C100 and MoVi shooting out the side of a helicopter, getting footage that rivals a Hollywood films with much larger budgets.

This new breed of tools can take your visuals to the next level, but whats more, they can compete with more traditional tools that cost many many times more. We want to share with you this new breed of tools that let you work quickly, let you work with a small crew, but also let you get incredible visuals and tell stories at a very high level.

What people had to say about last workshop!…

Mike Thole“Just wanted to thank you all again for the AWESOME info you shared with us all in Minneapolis. It’s obvious you all put A LOT of thought into the workshop, and we can all appreciate how much work that was! The team challenged us to think and analyze our films, which, as they say about hindsight, is now 20/20… much clearer!”

-Mike T.

Malia Campbell“Just got back from the KNOW Tour when in Seattle and it was the single most informative, interesting and fun filmmaking seminar that I’ve been to, hands down. Amina, Ray and Joyce were incredibly passionate about their craft and their excitement was absolutely contagious. All I wanted to do was leave and go shoot something!”

-Malia C.

Mike Magee“We attended KNOW in Cambridge (Boston) yesterday. The speakers and content were spot on. The amount of information they shared was exceeded only by the energy with which the flung it at the 80 or so of us in the room. They made me think – hard. I took away alot and will NOT HESITATE to join them again.”

-Mike M.

Shane Zerangue“All I can say is that this workshop is going to completely change the way I film weddings, events and commercial work. This is a life changing workshop.. I only hope that none of my competitors who were with me at the workshop were listening!! LOL”

-Shane Z.

Cimela Kidonakis 100“Hearing Amina and Justin share the SM philosophy and the way they approach each story was inspiring and opened my eyes to the power and tools we have as filmmakers. I recognized that I had been missing the most valuable storytelling tool — my voice as a filmmaker. This has changed everything about how I tell stories!”

-Cimela K.

Registration is still available for most cities…

Each city has a limited amount of seats (most between 50 and 100).

And there will definitely be cities that fill up quickly!

As a reminder, for each stop:

  • Doors will open between 9:00 and 9:30 a.m. (for meeting new friends before).
  • We’ll start our first education module at 10:00 a.m. sharp.
  • We’ll cover all 7 Modules we’ve detailed above.
  • We’ll have an hour set aside for a lunch break.
  • We’ll wrap up by 6 p.m. each day.

We have three different options for reserving a seat for various levels of expertise and budgets.

Over the last few years, we routinely have dozens of students that pay $3,500 to come to Portland for our intense 4-day training we call “EVO.” That’s over $850/day – not counting the airfare they pay.

We’re honored to have students fly in from all over the world for these intimate days of training.

In addition to EVO, our normal 1-on-1 story consultations start at $1,000 and usually last a little over an hour. Many advanced students gladly pay this – as they’ll instantly be able to get the value out of a single project (or expansion of their business).

But every week we have requests for more “affordable” training options. And, truth be told, we’re always glad when we can package things in a way to reach people in a more affordable way!

Luckily, these tour workshops are the perfect answer for us to provide an intensive 1-day education experience – for a group of several dozen people at once – at a price that’s much more reasonable (especially when we bring it close to your city!).

It won’t be $850/day plus flight like EVO. Or $1,000/hour like our private 1-on-1 consultations.

For beginners – or people on the tightest budgets – we have a BASIC option that just includes the workshop and attendance.

Most of you will get the biggest bang for your buck with the “Bundle” (Option 2) – and this one allows you to continue your education online even after the workshop.

And finally, for those of you with established studios – or large projects that are essential to your business – you’ll have the opportunity to get 1-on-1 attention for nearly half the price we would normally charge. This option is only for the most advanced students!

Wherever you fall – read about each of the packages – and click through to the next page to select your city.

Once again, pick your Option below – click the link – and then on the following page you’ll be able to pick your individual city from the drop-down menu!

Option 1 ($197): “Basic” Workshop + Guidebook…


Our most affordable option is setup for people who just want to attend the workshop and nothing more.

You’ll get a seat to any city’s workshop – along with our 48-page Guidebook that’ll walk you through all seven modules (and serve as a guide to future shoots and projects).

Click here to reserve your seat with the BASIC option…

(You’ll choose your city after you click the link above).

Workshop starts at 10:00 a.m. and doors will open 30-60 minutes before hand. The training will wrap up around 6:00 p.m. in the evening.

**This is currently still eligible for our “Early Bird” bonus  (over $250 in credits)!

Option 2 ($297): Storyteller’s “Bundle”…


Our Storytelling Bundle is always our most popular level (probably because it’s the best bang for your buck).

You’ll get everything in the “Basic” level up front – including a workshop ticket for any city and the 48-page Guidebook.

In addition, though you’ll get two (2) premiere tickets for the showing of our movie the night before in a local theater. Even if you can’t make it, this makes a fantastic gift for the holiday season.

Finally, you’ll get complete access to our new upcoming online digital training course – How to Make A Documentary. This will retail for ($197) itself and be available in early February.

Click here to reserve your seat with the BUNDLE option…

(You’ll choose your city after you click the link above).

**This is currently still eligible for our “Early Bird” bonus  (over $250 in credits)!

Option 3 ($997): “1-on-1” Private Consultation…

1 on 1

For advanced filmmakers, we wanted to offer a way to spend time with you 1-on-1 and really impact your business or a large story you’re putting together.

At this premium level, you’ll get everything in the BUNDLE and BASIC levels above – meaning Workshop attendance, the Guidebook, (2) premiere tickets, and complete access to the online course How To Make A Documentary that we’re releasing in February 2014.

In addition, we’ll schedule a 90-minute Skype call with you (1-on-1 with a senior Stillmotion filmmaker). Our goal on this session will be to dig deep into your business or into a major story and make a radical impact in your personal filmmaking.

We’ll also set aside 15-minutes before or after the workshop in your city to sit and chat, find out your goals, and establish what it’ll be best to cover in our time together on Skype.

This is definitely for advanced students only – who’ll be able to leverage this into massive results in a short amount of time.

If that’s you, you can click here to book this level in any of the workshop cities.

(You’ll choose your city after you click the link above).

**This is currently still eligible for our “Early Bird” bonus  (over $250 in credits)!

$250 in “Early Bird” Bonuses – Still Available…


We want to reward those of you that want to take action now and register early.

In addition to guaranteeing your seat, we’ve negotiated over $250 in direct credits with three of our amazing sponsors. There are no-strings-attached to any of the credits. You can spend them just like you would cash!

Marmoset is our off the beaten path music licensing company, who also did all of the soundtracking and scoring for #standwithme!

LensProToGo has an amazing inventory on nearly every type of filmmaking tool you could possibly need. They also happen to be just a bunch of really nice people too.

And finally, Story & Heart. Authentic footage, by storytellers for storytellers. We’ve been working on Story & Heart for over a year and are excited to be able to share more net week 🙂

This bonus is even crazier when you realize it almost pays for the “Bundle” option itself.

(It doesn’t matter what option you choose – if you are one of the first 250 – you get the bonus!)

After the first 250 attendees register – this goes away – but you’ll still be able to get seats to many cities without the bonuses.

We Look Forward to Seeing You!

We really are excited to hit the road again.

We’ll get to spend 30 nights showing tens of thousands of you the film we’ve poured our heart into for the last year.

And then we’ll get to follow-up the next day with dozens of passionate (and slight crazy – but in a good way) filmmakers in each city. We’re going to leave it all on the field as they say in sports.

We’re going to share everything – answer any questions – and give you a *real* world glimpse at what it takes to bring something like this to life.

If you believe (like we do) that great stories CAN change the world?

We’d love you to come spend the day with us:

We’ll see ya soon!

-Patrick, Grant, and the entire Stillmotion team.

Patrick Moreau

About Patrick Moreau

I love stories that challenge the way we see things.