Social Entrepreneurship in Focus Through Documentary

Storytelling and Impact Workshop

Storytelling and Impact Workshop

September 19, 2011 at the Paley Center For Media

Throughout the ‘Stories of Change’ partnership Sundance Documentary Film Program has created high-level conversations around storytelling strategies designed to enhance the impact of social entrepreneurs innovations. Working closely with the Skoll Foundation, they developed an intensive one-day workshop, the first stand-alone event of the partnership, it took place just prior to the Clinton Global Initiative in New York in order to take advantage of so many social entrepreneurs presence in the city that week.

The workshop included 25 participants from 11 different Skoll Foundation Awarded Social Entrepreneur organizations, and 7 media professionals, award-winning filmmakers, advisors on the leading edge of digital storytelling strategies, social issue documentary impact assessment and purpose-driven marketing, communications and brand building.

In advance of the Workshop, Sundance Producer Patricia Finneran, working from a customized questionnaire, conducted in-depth interviews with a representative from each entrepreneur’s organization, tracking how they use storytelling to advance their work, and identifying areas of interest and opportunity.

On the day of the workshop, each media advisor gave a 20-minute presentation, in the following order:

  • It Starts With Story –– Anne Makepeace, Director, We Still Live Here
  • Extending the Story –– Paco de Onis, Producer, Granito
  • The Evolving Story: Data and Impact––– Wendy Levy, Senior Strategist, Tomorrow Partners
  • Flexible Storytelling: Social | Digital | Media ––– Ingrid Kopp, Editor-in-Chief, Shootingpeople.org and Consultant, Tribeca Institute New Media Fund
  • The Big Story: Social Branding ––– Carol Cone, Managing Director & EVP, Brand & Corporate Citizenship, Edelman

Following a networking lunch, the organizations broke in to three groups and each participated in break out sessions moderated by the media advisors and the Sundance team.

Session A: Identifying, then Extending the Story Filmmakers who create social change documentaries start with a good story well-told. They can also create extensions –– across various channels but especially on-line –– that engage and involve both audiences and partner organizations in the story over time.

Session B: The Evolving & Flexible: Digital, Data & Real-time Impact The organization’s impact data can be part of a design framework that tells an evolving story; social media allows organizations to update their story, both in real time. New digital platforms provide brand new and flexible approaches to telling your story.

Session C: The Big Story: Your Brand and the Larger Story of Change Each organization must refine mission and story in order to clarify its brand. Simultaneously, social entrepreneurs are each part of a larger story of change in their issue area.