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  • Writer's pictureStory Gorge

Insight of the Month - The Three Stories

When was the last time you had an idea, a vision, and executed it flawlessly?

What did that feel like to see your vision realized?

Please, tell us! We’d love to know!

In film-making there is a saying: “There is the story you write, the story you film, and the story you edit.”

As we dive deeper into our practice at Story Gorge, we heartily agree with this statement.

When we approach a story, somewhere between our research and our time filming in the field, we craft the story arc for the production.

We line out who the main character is, what their desire is, what stands in the way, and their call and answer to adventure. We layout the various plot points we have discovered during research and pre-interviews and choose the ones that will help us best illustrate their story in the final film. Unearthing the insight or takeaway we can leave the audience with helps us define the Jab or final point which helps the audience remember what they just watched.

Then we craft our interview questions and head out into the field to capture this story we have lined out. This is the story we wrote.

Flying high after a well planned and successful shoot, we return to the studio, our hard drives laden with glorious b-roll and interviews ripe with insight, and our minds buzzing with the story possibilities that arose in the field.

We head back to the drawing board and draft up another story arc incorporating the nuggets of story, emotion, and insight, that we could never have gleaned before our time in the field and line out a new story based on what we have. This is the story we filmed.

We dive into the edit-bays, timelines flying, clipping, moving, nudging, lifting, organizing, shaping, shifting.

Through the process things change, new connections arise, and pretty soon we put our second “story map” to rest, and let the editing process take us where it will. Client feedback comes in, new insights, new connections, and the story shifts again.

In the end, we export the final, and sit back and watch the wizardry. We soak in the wonder and power of story, and it’s hard to imagine this story could have turned out any other way. And that’s the story we edit.

So, why go through the effort of writing a story arc out in the first place?

When we are prepared we open ourselves up to the possibility and time to follow stories that arise in the field. If we weren’t prepared, we would find ourselves chasing our own tails. Reminiscent of our early days of calling ourselves visual storytellers. Scrambling to capture everything we can.

Bottom line, even if you don’t have a ton of information, take the time to create and revise your story arc throughout your production. Be open to the process, you will always walk away better prepared to capture the story that wants to be told.

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Elizabeth Stillwell
Elizabeth Stillwell
Feb 11, 2020

Laurie, thank you for your question. This link will help answer that.

Please let us know if you have any additional questions.


Laurie Stanton
Laurie Stanton
Jan 07, 2020

Love these insights! Do you have any guidance on relaying scientific data, discoveries, etc. via the story arc?

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