Breeding Grounds film premieres

Breeding Grounds premiered last night at Northwest Film Forum. This post-apocalyptic movie explores the relationships among a small group of people thrown together in a “breeding camp” designed to repopulate the United States. The Seattle Filmmakers’ Collective produced the film with an all-volunteer cast and crew.

A few months ago I visited the production site to do behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew. You can see them all on the SFC website. I conducted the interviews and edited them into short videos.

Here’s a direct link to my favorite interview. Telisa Steen plays Ellen in Breeding Grounds.

Videos on how to water for healthy plants

I’ve been working with In Harmony Sustainable Landscapes to produce a series of videos teaching people proper watering methods. The idea is that if you water slowly and deeply, your plants will be healthier and less prone to drought stress. The videos, featuring In Harmony co-owner Ladd Smith, explore watering systems, timers, gauges and sensors, and specific tips for new plants and trees.

Here is the first video that explains watering principles.

You can find all of the videos on In Harmony’s blog. I created and am writing posts for the blog as part of our effort to improve In Harmony’s content marketing and online presence.

How to focus a story, and other tips from pro storytellers

“How do you focus a story?” asked Joe Fryer of NBC News at the Northwest Storytelling Workshop. You could center it around a character, around a place, or around an idea or concept. Once you’ve determined it, get rid of everything that doesn’t help your focus, Fryer said.

Fryer was one of several speakers at the recent storytelling workshop sponsored by NPPA, the National Press Photographers Association, at KING-TV in Seattle. [Read more…]

Rainbow Bend video wins Hermes Gold Award

Another of my videos has won an award. “Restoring Rainbow Bend: Good for People and Fish” won the Hermes Creative Gold Award.

Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals. The Gold Award is presented to entries “judged to exceed the high standards of the industry norm.” There were about 6,000 entries from the US and 22 other countries in the 2015 competition.

My role was director and scriptwriter. Tim O’Leary, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, was videographer and editor.

The video tells the story of a restoration project on the Cedar River that moved 55 families out of harm’s way and allowed the river to expand into the flood plain. Hundreds of fish now use the site throughout the year, and nearby Highway 169 no longer floods.

More insights into filmmaking in behind-the-scenes videos

What goes into making a movie? What are actors’ insights into their characters? I had fun interviewing cast and crew of a sci-fi movie and editing the interviews into short videos.

The film “Breeding Grounds” takes place in a post-war world. It explores the relationships among people in a strange and harsh environment.

Here are some links to videos with “Breeding Grounds” cast and crew. More videos to come soon.

Tabitha Bastien’s character Georgie struggles with having been beaten and raped.

George Borchers constructed sets for the film on a tiny budget.
[Read more…]

My latest video: connecting people to CarbonWA

Here is my latest video, which I produced for the activist group Carbon Washington. CarbonWA is gathering signatures for an initiative. They would like the state to have a revenue-neutral carbon tax. The video is a key part of their crowdfunding campaign.

CarbonWA’s goals for the video included:

  • Connect people to the organization and its people: positive, energetic
  • Get them excited about what CarbonWA is doing: concrete, cutting edge policy
  • Have them feel optimistic about climate change
  • Encourage them to donate money and time to the cause

I hope you watch the video and visit their website to see what this young, enthusiastic group is doing. CarbonWA was started by the “stand-up economist” Yoram Bauman and others who were excited about the positive impacts of British Columbia’s revenue-neutral carbon tax.

“Breeding Grounds:” Behind the scenes at a post-war survival film

A few weeks ago I spent the day at a film shoot, interviewing cast and crew. I turned the interviews into a series of behind-the-scenes videos.

“Breeding Grounds” takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. It explores the relationships among people in a strange and harsh environment.

Here’s the first video, featuring one of the film’s stars, Telisa Steen. Telisa plays Ellen, an injured ex-marine who finds her way to the post-war survival community Eastern Reach with her ward, Georgie.

The film was produced by the Seattle Filmmakers’ Collective.

The simple story test: a dad, a daughter and a basketball hoop

Here’s a quick test from “Winning the Story Wars” to see if you are using the power of stories in your marketing and communications. And here’s an example of one of the top ads of 2014 that does a great job of storytelling.

As Jonah Sachs said, the more you can answer “yes” to these questions, the better your stories and communication will be. [Read more…]

How telling better stories can change the world

I just finished reading an intriguing book about storytelling, “Winning the Story Wars: Why those who tell—and live—the best stories will rule the future,” by Jonah Sachs.

Sachs takes a different route than most of what I’ve read about storytelling. His book is about myth making. The real story wars in today’s world, according to Sachs, are about how we interpret the world and ourselves. They’re about values and morals, archetypes and heroes.

To give you an example, let’s talk about Annie Leonard and Glenn Beck.

I bet you have seen Annie Leonard’s “The Story of Stuff,” a 20-minute video about, well, STUFF: the things that we buy, use and turn into garbage. Leonard turned abstract economic theory into a simple story, populated by stick figures, that’s easily understood. (Sachs’ studio produced “The Story of Stuff” for Leonard.) Here’s the video. [Read more…]

Rainbow Bend video premieres

“Restoring Rainbow Bend: Good for People and Fish” premiered last week at the annual Cedar River celebration. The video, produced by King County, features the story of the Millers, long-term residents who faced persistent flooding. The Rainbow Bend project moved people like the Millers out of harm’s way, returned the river to its flood plain and restored critical salmon habitat. The restoration site area is now used by hundreds of fish year-round. It is the largest project done to date on the Cedar River.

The video was produced by King County. My role was scriptwriting, interviews and direction.