Memes to Meaningful Media - How to Inspire, Engage and Galvanize Your Viewers
Right now, as you read this blog post, you probably have a few dozen other windows open on your desktop, are writing an email, making your own facebook or blog post, retweeting your friends’ retweets, streaming music etc…
It’s cool – I’m with you. Welcome to the present – we are in a world of media over drive and we are loving it.
But, as a mediamaker, that feeling of “how can we possibly compete in the seemingly endless waterfall of content out in the world?” – is an ever-daunting question. Moreover, with LAND OF OPPORTUNITY, our messages are about urban social justice issues – not as flashy as a Super Bowl commercial, or instantly shocking as a blockbuster thriller, but the power behind our content is striking, honest, truthful, and has the potential to inspire change, motivate individuals, and engage and strengthen communities in ways we never thought imaginable … But, how do we convince people of that?
We certainly aren’t a huge media conglomerate with an endless marketing budget, so our challenge to build an audience and engage them is from outset much harder to accomplish. But, when opportunity arises it’s hard not to take it right? So, I was very excited for the opportunity to attendReel Change, an Outreach & Engagement Social Documentary Workshop, hosted by Working Films and The Fledgling Fund, to tackle the complexities of creating impact with social justice media.
Sixteen diverse media-makers from across the nation gathered for three days in Washington DC and earnestly opened ourselves to the idea that our content has the amazing ability to inspire, challenge and motivate people to move beyond watching social justice media and step up to act on those issues. Even though sometimes we mediamakers feel like the little guy in the huge stadium of content, the purpose of the Workshop became clear that it is our time to step up to the plate and prepare for the big swing – which can be as simple as presenting one good idea that sparks an effective social issue campaign – and it could be a homerun of lasting change.
Below are a few key concepts on Documentary Outreach & Engagement passed on at the Workshop by Working Films and The Fledgling Fund that are worth sharing widely for all filmmakers, advocates, and idea makers who need a little resurfacing from the ocean of media to keep on the rising path (for a longer version, you can see the presentation contenthere)
*SWITCH THE LIGHTS ON – Film/Media, and documentary in particular, has the power to move us in significant ways. Audiences crave emotional connection and when we watch/listen/interact with any type of media we are bound to connect. Whether we are moved to tears, angry, or inspired, we want to wake up and walk away with something that can make us step up and get involved.
*ASK YOURSELF WHAT CAN I DO?: As the mediamaker, how do you arrive at some thing audiences should do? After working tirelessly on your story, do you have a creative solution or new perspective that can connect people? One that is simple, motivating, accessible, and will actually make a difference? Why is your content important? And why should people care?
*IDENTIFY THE PURPOSE AND VISION: This is the first step in developing a successful audience engagement campaign that moves your viewers to think and act beyond the screen.
*MAKE THE ASK: So how do you get people to hit the road with you? You need to COMMUNICATE your purpose and vision. You need TO ASK them in a way that is relevant to their interests, specific to their experiences and compelling above all else.
Thanks to Working Films and the Fledgling Fund, and all the inspiring mediamakers I attended the workshop with, I truly feel inspired with new knowledge and takeaways for LAND OF OPPORTUNITY. As I transition from working in more traditional forms of documentary filmmaking to the wide-open world of emerging media, the journey can seem amorphous and overwhelming at times, so it’s definitely inspiring to know we have a great buoyant platform here at LAND OF OPPORTUNITY. And, it’s our time to ask you – what kind of change would you like to see in your cities and how can we do this together?
Helping People Make Media That Matters
We investigate, showcase and set standards for socially engaged media-making. We organize conferences and convenings, publish research, create codes of best practices, and incubate media strategies. More...