Meet Adam. He’s been finding, interviewing and sharing stories for over 10 years, and he’s still as passionate as his first day on the job. He’s here to tell you how to find the stories that are already in your church.
You can’t share a story if you don’t have a story. Adam will share simple steps that’ll lead to finding your next story.
“I wish we’d known you were going to share that story,” isn’t something you want to hear from your church’s leadership. If you don’t already have a vetting process, it’s time to get one going.
Cold calls never feel great, so let’s get your lead warmed right up. Here we’ll talk about getting the conversation with your lead started.
Getting the rest of your team on board is crucial. You want “buy-in!” Adam’s going to teach you how to get everyone involved excited.
You’ve got the lead, but you need the story. Let’s start walking out putting your story on paper.
Meet Your Instructors
Chris, Adam, and Gary have been sharing and crafting stories for the local church for over 10 years. From Dad Life to Pete and Penelope to Northern Creative, these guys have the experience to help you take your storytelling to the next level.
Watch from any desktop, tablet or mobile browser.
From finding your story to final export, learn how to tell better stories in six, multi-chapter lessons.
Learn at your own pace in your own time. It will never expire.
Every story has six basic elements. These six “buckets” will help you filter through and organize the raw information of your story and give you the foundation to build your story on.
This is where the audience is introduced to the main character.
It’s time to take away the thing most important to our main character, turning their world upside down and introducing tension into your story.
Here is where your character attempts to get things back to the way they used to be.
Your character is going to come to a fork in the road. A decision must be made. Stay the same or make a change?
Ultimately, your story is about the external evidence of an internal change. Let’s make that clear in our story. Here’s how.
What did your character learn through their journey? Let’s find out.
Why go to the trouble of finding your lead, scouting a location and setting up the shoot and NOT plan for the interview? Adam’s going to teach you HOW to interview and why, “Tell me your story,” won’t cut it.
Who, what, where, when and why. If God is in the details, it’s time to get close to God.
Communication with your lead is your only ally. Forgo communication, it all falls apart. So, what needs to be communicated? Let’s talk about it.
Too many people on set, halting the tears, and other mistakes you might be making in your interview.
You've watched Lee's story, now experience the entire interview in all its rawness. This behind-the-scenes look gives you a fly on the wall's view of how the conversation with Lee went down.
After the first interview, Adam and Gary sit down and compare notes. Watch that here.
Notes have been compared and it's time to take Lee for one more round of questions. Watch BTS part 3 here.
Shooting your story is more than just setting up a camera. It’s about capturing emotion. Let’s talk about how to capture the right emotion.
The right location for your story will not only set the perfect tone, but help put your interviewee at ease. Let’s talk about finding the right location.
Here, Gary talks about the gear he would not want to be without on a shoot.
So now we're at our location. How do you decide where exactly you're going to film?
You’ve got the gear and you’re ready to light your lead. So where do you start? Let’s talk about what to do BEFORE you unload any gear.
No one will watch a story that sounds terrible. So let’s understand how to capture the most important element of your story.
Just because you’re rolling doesn’t mean your job is over. Here’s what TO DO and what NOT TO DO during the interview.
You’ve captured the interview; now it’s time to capture the moments.
The creative process always takes time so we want be efficient everywhere else. Let’s get the edit ready the right way.
So now you've got all this footage just waiting to be edited. Where do you start? Here's your answer.
Knowing your story well will help you determine what does and doesn’t belong in your story. So let's revisit your story structure.
Tension, empathy and progress - all essential parts of your story. So which clips do you choose to empower these convictions?
Editing is a sculpting game, chipping away at each part of your story.
Maintaining tension is the name of the game, so how do you continue raising questions and pique your audience's interest?
B-Roll is about more than just covering your edits. So much more.
You’ve spent so much time getting the story right and dropping in the right B-Roll that you’ve only got a few hours before you’ve gotta move on. So how do you tackle that last 5%?
While audio might be the last on the list, it can’t be last on your mind. Take these simple steps to ensure your audio is not only distraction-free but sounding as good as your story looks.
Matching clips and navigating your color wheel. Let’s make your already great-looking story pop even more.
The right graphics can help push your story forward. Whether you have an eye for design or not, Gary will talk through some simple steps to make your art look pristine.
You’re on the homestretch, but pause. You’ve got a couple things left to do.
Meet Lee: a 26 year old lead pastor of a thriving church in middle-America, Nebraska. In one day, with one phone call, his ministry came apart at the seams and his world came crashing down. Watch his story of attempted restoration and pursuit of a life renewed.
Headed to set? Don't forget to check your "must-have" gear list.
Grab these title templates and look like the graphic design stud you've always hid deep inside.
Looking for killer music for your next story? Visit our friends and tell 'em we sent ya!
Your audio deserves to sound better. Auphonic can help.
Post Haste is a free project management tool that allows you to setup file and folder templates for your projects. Create a new project and everything's organized, ready for you to start.
Don’t Be a “Friendly Fred”
A couple months ago, I was doing a shoot for a local business highlighting a new project they were launching. We had one cinematographer and myself as the crew. Our job was to scout locations within their building, set up and interview employees. One of the locations was a really nice auditorium. It was a […]
3 Tips on Shooting for Big Clients
Two weeks ago, my pal Tory Cooper (who’s been on our podcast) and I got a call from NASA. Before this post (or I) sound too snooty, know that recently a good friend of ours became the Video Production Advisor to the Director. So, that was our connection. Tory and I were asked if we […]
Job Opening | Filmmaker
Hey guys! The staff of WoodsEdge Community Church in The Woodlands, TX is looking for a full-time filmmaker / storyteller to join their staff. If you or someone you know is interested, the details and link are below! WoodsEdge is a large and dynamic church that places a high value on visual storytelling, looking for […]
Episode 2: The Story Guide Podcast
Hey, there folks! We promised another episode of The Story Guide Podcast and here it is! We’re pretty excited about this episode with our guest Tory Cooper. Tory is the film director at Church on the Move, in Tulsa, OK. In this episode, we talk about the way their film and storytelling departments are structured […]
Tape a call. Save an interview.
In The Story Guide class, I talk a lot about doing a pre-interviewing. Before we ever sit down to shoot, I’ve talked to our lead a number of times, just hearing his or her story and developing our Story Spine to make sure we’ve got a clear, compelling story to tell. Before the interview, when […]
Review: Lumu Power Light Meter for iPhone
Hey storytellers, Adam here! Today, we’ve got a Story Guide first: A Product Review. Today, Gary and I are shooting a video; and recently, we read about the Lumu Power Light & Color Meter, so we borrowed one and we’re giving it a go! It’s pretty awesome, so I thought I’d post about it. (I […]
Episode 01: The Story Guide Podcast
Happy Monday (or whatever day you’re reading this!) If you haven’t heard, this month we launched The Story Guide Podcast, a podcast full of conversations about how to tell stories better from the filmmakers, artists and engineers making it happen every single week. This month, we’re stoked to introduce our first guest, Pixar veteran Matthew Luhn! […]
I Hung Out with Ira Glass and Mike Birbiglia
So, here’s a crazy story. Mike Birbiglia is my favorite comedian of all time. I started listening to him about 10 years ago when I heard him tell a story of sleepwalking his way through a second story window at a LaQuinta Inn in Walla Walla, WA. Mike is a contributor to my favorite radio […]
The Story Guide Podcast
Happy New Year, friends! We’re so excited to have rounded the corner into 2019 and are excited about the blogs, NEW CLASSES, and resources we’ve got planned for the new year. Our goal is to serve you, the storytellers, do what you love to do: Tell Stories Better. So, to kick off the newness that […]
How To Say “No”
Allow me to paint a picture for you of one of the most FRUSTRATING situations storytellers/video people, really anyone who does creative work can be in: Your supervisor comes back from a big meeting you were not attending. He is so excited about a new project that YOU get to do. It’s a big project […]
What Questions Are You Going to Ask Me?
Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of journalistic style interviewing. It’s story driven stuff, because what isn’t, but the pre-production/pre-story work is happening the way it does when we’re working on a feature. These are the kinds of stories we do to follow up with giving initiatives or highlighting ministries within the organization. So, typically, […]
International Travel Tips for Storytellers
Last month, Gary and I went on an adventure to India to document the work Church on the Move is doing with non-profit organization Changing Destiny. To say that traveling across the world, lugging gear, keeping a low profile was important is an understatement. So, in this video blog, we talk about a few tricks […]
You Don’t Need Video To Tell Stories
Alright, so right out of the gate the title to this blog seems a bit out of sorts, right? The Story Guide helps train you to tell stories ON VIDEO in your local church. But it’s the truth, you don’t need video to tell stories in your church. What if you don’t have a video […]
Meet Your New Best Friend
About 5 years ago I started freelancing full time. At the beginning I’d do anything and everything video and writing related. I wrote blogs, edited videos for politicians, and even filmed a kid getting his black belt. Haha. For a while there I found a niche in being a production assistant on set. Larger agencies […]
3 Tips for an On-Stage Interview
Capturing stories come in so many forms, and often, working for an organization or non-profit can mean you as a storyteller are wearing many “hats.” A friend of mine who’s normally helping craft messages for his lead pastor asked me a question about interviewing someone live on stage, so I thought I’d post the question […]
No Phones on Set
This story happened two years ago and I’m just now in a place to write about it. Here goes. It was July 2016 and I was interviewing a lady in our church about her outreach. She was passionate about helping families stay together. She was helping families stay together. Too often parents lose custody of […]
The Best Interview Question
Ever get your interview footage back into the edit room and thought, “These answers are too short and lack emotion!” Chances are the problem isn’t with your story lead, it’s with the way you’re phrasing your questions. I’ll explain. Your number one job, as the interviewer, for the on-camera interview is gathering the story. So, […]
New Free Resources
Several weeks ago we unveiled a new way for The Story Guide support you and your weekend services: free series and video resources. Whether you’re looking for artwork inspiration for a series package or the actual files to play during your weekend experience, in collaboration with New Song Church, visit our RESOURCES PAGE to view […]
When we at The Story Guide have an opportunity to partner with organizations helping the local church point people to Jesus, we’re thrilled! SundayU.org is a collaborative learning environment for churches to help you get the training and resources you need to make this Sunday the best Sunday yet. If you’re working behind the scenes, making ministry […]
3 Tips For Editing With No B-Roll
One of the beautiful aspects of editing a story is just that: you get to edit the story. Capitalizing on the ability to cut out your interviewees’ pauses and stumbles and ultimately structure the story in the appropriate way can transform a long and sometimes boring interview into a piece of art. To edit your […]
Free Series Art & Videos
One of the key elements that makes The Story Guide unique is how it’s driven by church workers for church workers. Daily we’re in the trenches, making it happen within our own local churches. That’s why we (Adam, Chris and Gary) started The Story Guide, to help those of you who are leading people closer […]
Get Your Edit UNSTUCK
We’ve all hit that wall. You know what I’m talking about – you’ve been working on your edit and it’s not coming together. The anxiety is starting to move in as your deadline is eerily creeping closer and closer. You keep getting stuck. The story has some nice parts but you can’t get it to […]
Outside of the Box
We’ve all been there. Your pastor or supervisor asks for a new or specific story to be told on a such and such date for the weekend experience and you think, ‘That’s great. We can just tell that story the way we always do!’ Well, there’s good and bad in that response. First, kudos to […]
“Um, that’s not my story!”
I think what helps make The Story Guide unique is those of us who’ve created it ALL CURRENTLY WORK WITHIN THE LOCAL CHURCH. Myself and Chris at Church on the Move in Tulsa, OK. Gary serves at Generations in Denver, CO. So, that means the majority of our blogs come from a place of having […]
Color Matching with Adobe’s AI
As careful as we can be to match our camera settings the colors don’t always match up. Whether we’re using two different camera models, a set of lenses with subtle color differences or the daylight just keeps changing it’s downright frustrating color matching our shots in post. And pretty distracting for our audience if we […]
I Need to Edit, but Have So Much to Do!
As an editor, one of my greatest issues OVERALL has been GETTING STARTED ON THE DANG EDIT. I work at a church, and there are a hundred other things to do, so every time I sit down to spend half or the whole day to edit my story, it’s easy to feel as if I […]
Andy Chrisman: Storytelling Thru Worship
If you’ve been around the Christian music scene for any amount of time, there’s a good chance you know the name Andy Chrisman. Since 1990 he’s been a quarter part of the group 4Him (see what I did there) and in 2005 he stepped into the role of worship pastor at Church on the Move […]
One of our goals at The Story Guide is to showcase inspiration that inspires us all to become better storytellers. Additionally, when we find an article or conversation that helps propel our art, we want to point to that as well. We’ve shared inspiration from one of our favorite group of storytellers before: Great Big […]
Two Interviewing Mistakes We’ve All Made
Congratulations are in order, you’re about to interview your next (or first) story lead. This is a proud day. You’ve been handed the assignment of, “We’d like a story to play in service,” and you’re almost there. You feel like you’ve got the story structure pretty locked in, all your pre-production is set and communicated, […]
3 Ways to Crush An Idea You Didn’t Come Up With
If you do creative work in a church, it doesn’t take long to realize that you’re going to be asked to produce a lot of content that was someone else’s idea – stories, bumpers, promos, highlight reels. What started off as your boss’s vision or your colleague’s brainstorm is suddenly your job now. And it […]
Storytelling with Shallow Depth of Field
The introduction of the Canon 5D MII brought super shallow depth of field to the masses. Which in turn has led us all to associate super shallow focus with low- or no-budget student films, low-light wedding receptions, and church highlight videos. Not to mention the shot of the lone hand raise during worship. But if […]
Caring for Your Story Leads
Last week I worked on a story for our church: Brenda’s Story. (If you’d like to watch it, head over to Church on the Move’s Vimeo. It played in their weekend worship experience.) Brenda’s childhood and young adult life was tumultuous, to say the least. It was riddled with neglect and abuse and left her […]
3 BIGGEST Mistakes Interviewers Make
Ever got a raw interview back to the editing suite and realized you just don’t have what you needed? There are a plethora of reasons this could happen. The story might not be as compelling as you felt before, maybe the interviewee ultimately didn’t communicate super well, OR the interview got hijacked by one of […]
We’ve got a little story inspiration for you to keep your week a-moving. Today we’re looking at one of our favorite storytellers, Vox. These guys make INCREDIBLE stories about the most interesting topics. This one is specifically on the magic of the song, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. Here’s why I love it. […]
“It’s midnight and I’m still working at the church.”
Allow me to paint a picture. It’s Friday night. Everyone’s left the office and your spouse calls asking what time you think you’ll be home. “Shouldn’t be much longer. As soon as this render finishes, I have to throw this After Effects file into Premiere, render it out and upload it to production. 30 minutes […]
Four Steps To Better B-Roll
Happy New Year, folks! If you’re like me, you’re planning, strategizing and gearing up for a year full of stories, shoots, and edits. We could start the year off talking about scheduling or pre-production or time-lining, but there’s a good chance in the middle of your strat op, someone’s going to rush into your office […]
Three Principles on the Perfect Story Length
We’ve all sat through movies or sermons that were too long, and we’ve read blogs that had too many words or not nearly enough (I hope this isn’t one of them). How do you know when the story length is just right? Is there a magic number for testimony videos? Three minutes? Five minutes? Fifteen […]
3 Keys to Interviewing for A Promo
I love interviewing! It’s a real passion of mine to dive into someone’s story, dig out the most interesting parts and create a linear storyline. That STORY SPINE is what I use in my on-camera interviews, but what do you do when you’re interviewing for a promo video? In this blog, I talk about how […]
A Conversation with Pro Church Tools
Storytelling is hard work, and sometimes it helps to just sit back and listen to how other people are working through this process. This week, our own Adam Bush, talked to Pro Church Media’s Brady Shearer about our SIX STEP STORYTELLING STRUCTURE. They also talk HOW TO PRESENT A BUDGET TO YOUR PASTOR and WHERE […]
The Most Overlooked On-Set Step
So much of the stories we produce ride on location. After all, without a place to shoot, there would be no…well, shoot! In today’s blog, Gary shares one of the most common missed steps when shooting on location, and it’s extremely easy to pull off. Click and take UNDER ONE MINUTE to watch Gary’s TIP […]
Choosing Your Interview Shot
Ever arrive on set and thought, “I know this will be a great place for our interview, but how do I pick the best shot?” In this blog, Adam and Gary take you behind the scenes of a recent story as they arrive to their shoot location and pick the shot on the spot, having […]
Three Steps to Building a Volunteer Storytelling Team
So, this is the big question, right? Where do I find not just information to help me to tell stories better, but actual PEOPLE to help you tell stories better? For years I worked at my local church with just me and two other video guys. I thought, “Man, our church has so many people […]
This is one of my favorite stories I’ve ever found on the internet. Here’s what I love about this story. It’s Extremely Interesting I almost feel like I’d like this even if it wasn’t shot and edited well. It’s just an interesting concept, the idea that a couple would live off the grid and off […]
The Best Gear For Storytelling
We all want the latest gear, and a larger team so we can tell better stories, right? Unfortunately, for a lot of us, that isn’t even on the map. So how do we get there? I can tell you that reaching your goal has little to do with the gear you have. It have everything […]
How To Edit Past Rabbit Trails
I was chatting with a fellow church storyteller last night. He’s a church video guy like all of us, with an interview he’s shot, ready to edit. His main problem: his interview has too many stories. This is common. People don’t have one story, they have MANY stories, often all intertwined. So, inevitably in an […]
“My Interviewee is Crying. What do I do?!”
It’s inevitable. You’re sitting there interviewing a member of your church and you round the corner to the most tense part of the interview(i.e. a divorce, the death of a loved one, etc) and it happens: your lead starts crying. You start thinking back to documentaries you’ve seen where people being interviewed were crying on […]
Creating Creative Momentum In Your Timeline
Ever gotten bogged down in the details of an edit? Or maybe you oversee an editor and really want to know if the story is going to work, but you don’t have time till they’re done to figure out. As an editor and now as a supervisor of editors I’ve been on both sides of […]
No Lights, No Problem
What do you do when you’re the camera guy, the audio guy, the only producer on set AND this is your interviewer’s VERY FIRST interview? Did I mention you don’t have no lights nor enough room to get a great shot? I’ll tell you what you do, YOU FIGURE IT OUT : ) Here’s how we […]