“Come then, and let us pass a leisure hour in storytelling, and our story shall be the education of our heroes.”
Promotional video for an eLearning platform aimed to teach knowledge through storytelling
Role: Video Producer|Motion Graphic Designer
Timeline: Two months
Covestream is an eLearning company that is focused on changing the way online learning is currently being produced by infusing storytelling into learning to make for more engaging and interesting ways to educate. The company asked me to produce a video that would show the power of learning through storytelling.
Write a script and storyboard that promotes how Covestream is incorporating storytelling into learning.
Scout scene locations, acquire actors, drone operator, and shoot and edit a video on a conservative budget.
Create a motion graphic animation for the Covestream logo.
Show how learning through stories can have a profound impact on the learning experience.
Video should be under two minutes.
Weave in a story that explores how knowledge and information has been passed from one generation to the next through many forms.
Ideation & Pre-production
LEARNING THROUGH STORYTELLING
Since the dawn of time, information has transferred from generation to generation through stories. Before the written language, stories were used to preserve legacies, build a sense of community, and educate the masses. Stories are the tools our parents used to first introduce the world to us. Much of todays traditional ways of learning new information can be dry and does little to captivate one’s imagination or help to retain information in an engaging way.
After researching a variety of ways to introduce storytelling, I developed a script that would involve a challenge for someone trying to learn new material. The script went through a variety of modifications in order to combine all of the production elements, locations and people involved within the alloted budget and time-frame.
The story is of a man trying to find a better way to learn and retain information. It aims to take the viewer on a journey of how stories have been passed from one generation to the next.
For each scene I implemented a shot list and storyboard so we stayed organized and captured what we needed for the edit. It really helped to have these completed prior to shooting so I could convey the scene correctly to the actors and keep the production process on track.
Many of the scenes needed to convey the idea of passing on a culture's history through storytelling. One way I achieved this was to create a scene with a Native American telling a story around a fire. This scene would transition onto a book about storytelling to show the passage of time and how knowledge was passed on to others.
To introduce storytelling in more modern times, I created a scene where a father is reading his daughter a story before she goes to sleep. This also created foreshadowing as the little girl becomes inspired by the idea of sending a message in a bottle, a scene she sees in the book her father is reading to her. This bottle becomes the vessel and connection to our final piece.
MESSAGE IN BOTTLE
While researching storytelling, I discovered the story of a message in a bottle that had been tossed in the sea in Germany 101 years ago. Researchers were able to identify the person who wrote on a postcard and managed to track down the 62-year-old granddaughter of the man who wrote the message. It was the oldest message in the bottle to be found and I thought this would be an interesting and nostalgic way to connect storytelling in the video.
MAKING A CONNECTION
I wanted the viewer to be able to associate the little girl reading the book and the woman holding the bottle to be the same person creating movement from childhood to adulthood, and creating linearity as the child viewing the bottle becomes the women desiring to pass on storytelling through this same media. I used a blue bracelet to make this connection.
Five locations were used in the video and each one was unique to the story and each had its own set of challenges. The location chosen in the cove located in Washington Park near Anacortes, turned out to be an excellent location for shooting one of the main scenes. We had to work through a few challenges such as getting the right shot before the sun set, using a blow up raft to retrieve the bottles we threw in the ocean and composing the aerial shot with a drone and a GoPro.
CAPTURING THE SHOT
Using a drone and a GoPro, we were able to capture many of the aerial scenes that really added to the production value. The biggest challenge to flying the drone was landing when the wind picked up. One thing I learned during this production is that there is a big difference between being able to fly a drone, and achieving the right shots using one. Fortunately I directed the drone operator with multiple takes so I would have footage to pull from during the edit.
A color palette was created with blues contrasting with warmer orange colors for many of the scenes. This was achieved through lighting, clothing selection, filming during sunset and color correction on the final edit. I also wanted the video to have a cinematic so I choose to shoot the video using the Black Magic 4k Cinema camera.
The CEO of Covestream was very satisfied with the final video and thought it captured the essence of the mission that Covestream was trying to convey.
With a small team and a limited budget and timeline, we accomplished our goal of creating a video that infused storytelling into learning to make for more engaging and interesting ways to retain knowledge.
With the limited time and budget it was a huge challenge to complete my original vision so I had to make several modifications to both the script and scene locations to finish on time and on budget.
Flying a drone without getting the operator in the shot proved to be a challenge in a few scenes. We had to do several takes and try various ways of hiding the drone operator.
KEY TAKE AWAYS
This was one of the most enjoyable projects I have ever had the pleasure of working on. It was great to collaborate with others and see my vision come to life.
"Shane is a blend of the best. He not only brings unparalleled vision and marketable creativity to the table, but also a rare brand of integrity and passion. Employers look specifically for people like Shane because he absolutely refuses to underperform: he won’t ever shortchange a client or project, and is constantly delivering his best."