Storytelling with Video — WistiaFest 2014

May 29, 2014

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Heidi McKye


As Creative Director of Education at Stillmotion, Heidi is a navigator of narrative. She seeks out the heart of a story and will not rest until she knows its home address. With years teaching creative writing and cross-media storytelling, Heidi points the team of filmmakers and photographers at Stillmotion ever starward.

During her talk, Heidi discusses what it takes to both find and tell the story inside your brand or product. You can tell a remarkable story by finding the unexpected, and you can find the unexpected through listening and immersion.

There are four important aspects to dig into when it comes to finding your stories. Let’s dig in!


People use stories to related to one another. Your whole self is built up of stories — you are made up of it, and so is your brand. Great stories come from people, so when you start to think about how you’re going to tell your story, think about people.


Place means more than you think. You can this of this as your environment, like an office building, for example, but there are also other environments like the beach, the ocean, a street, a cafe. Depending on the story you want to tell, you will have to change your place to accommodate where you want your story to take place.

There are also situations where folks are interacting with one another. Situations allow us to see how life is lived in detail. Time also makes a huge difference — things that happened in the past, or even time of day. There’s a noticeable difference between shooting a video at 10 am and 10 pm at night at an office. The timing will also impact the emotion your video stirs up.

And last but not least, how much different is your story when shot during different seasons? Consider seasonality in your videos when shooting outdoors. These things provide an emotional relationship with the viewer.


Stories aren’t interesting unless something happens or changes, or if obstacles get in your way. People have desire, and that desire will always lead to conflict. There are a number of things that can get in people’s ways — another person, yourself, the spiritual, society, etc. As you’re trying to figure out what story you want to tell, also think about what conflicts will arise in that story.

Your story should start with a beginning, middle, and an end. Start with a conflict, build the story, and end with the final answer, or the resolution.


Purpose is where you, as the storyteller, have to insert yourself. You’re part of the story at this point. Choose keywords that you can reference throughout the entire production process. If you’re being thoughtful and strategic about your storytelling, you should be able to sum up your purpose in one sentence.

Remember, where you place your camera is where you place your viewer. Find a person whose perspective you can look through. Always keep Make “stories for the mailman” — your stories should feel accessible and genuine. And last but not least, remember that every great story starts with listening.

May 29, 2014

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Heidi McKye


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