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Insight of the Month - Where do Facts Fit?

This is a monthly blog where we highlight insights, tips, and tricks we are implementing in our daily operations!

Working with the conservation and medical fields, we are often asked to include statistics and scientific data in the stories we produce. These facts and figures are important for our clients to relay to audiences, especially when sharing the impact of a conservation effort or a healthy lifestyle on health outcomes.


Recently we had a question from our friend, Laurie, about how to relay “scientific data, discoveries, etc. via the story arc.”


We like to think of story as a container. It is a vessel to move our audiences to action, and/or impart knowledge. Often there is something we want them to do or remember when they finish the video. Using the framework of story allows us to connect with viewers, and prime their minds for the information we want them to remember.


We recommend including data and stats in Act II

When thinking about where to share facts and figures in the story arc we put them into Act II, “The Journey.” This allows us to set-up the heart-centered story in Act I, and bring it to it’s Resolution and Jab in Act III. Data and figures can serve as general plot points on the journey. General plot points cover broad amounts of time, information or experiences and usually work in generalizations, whereas specific plot points are specific examples of general plot points.


Often in our stories, we keep facts and figures to a minimum. While they can be impactful to illustrate a point we are trying to share in the film, they can often pull the viewer out of the flow of the heart-centered story, and in the end, limit the impact of the story.


For a recent environmental story we filmed an entire interview where we made sure the subject went over all the facts and figures. We did not use this interview in the final film because it felt like a snag in the flow of our story. In the end, we used one fact that we displayed graphically in the latter half of Act II. This was a great time to share this information because it had already been set up to be impactful by the story preceding it.


There are some amazing infographic animations that share facts and stats in very visually engaging ways. You may notice they still begin with a story. They set-up the conflict of the character (often “you”), then tell you how they can help with their service, then share the stats that back up how effective they are. At the end of the film, they bring it back to you and leave you will a call to action.


Our use of stats in a recent film for USDA

With all films, it is important to think of your outcome. Why do you feel it is imperative to share this scientific data or information in this film. Who is your audience? What action do you want to them to take at the end of the film? If you are making a film to share your findings with a group of other scientists familiar with the work, then it may make more sense to load your film up with stats and data. If you are sharing with a lay audience, perhaps the action you will want them to take is to download a fact sheet or talking points, in which case you can move them to action with a story, and drop a few stats in there for impact if it feels right.

Have some gaps you would love to bridge, or questions on storytelling, video production, or running a small business? Drop us a line and the answer may be featured here!

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13 Railroad St. Hood River Oregon / 503.839.6100 / info@storygorge.com 

Photography, videography, film and photo education.

© 2019 by Story Gorge LLC.

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