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“Will we have to tell our own story?” asked a client during our first creative meeting for a new video.

“No,” I responded, “and yes.”

Hearing myself, I understood the puzzled look.

it was a great question. Because it got me thinking about the nuances of what we do when we create interview-based video. We’re so close to the process, that sometimes we lose sight of all the steps involved.

The project: create a video for a non profit organization in Portland, Oregon telling the powerful story of a family helped by the organization’s outreach and social services.

Authenticity was critical. So, rather than scripting the story and using a narrator, we proposed working within an interview format that allows the story to be told by the people closest to it. In that sense, those involved would be telling the story. 

I explained that -- even in this interview-based approach -- structure and story arc were still critical and our choices would have a significant influence on the video.

In pre production, we would begin to “find” the story by interviewing those involved and reviewing background material.  We would further shape the story by crafting questions to bring out the major points we wanted to make based on our agreed objective.

Finally, during the shoot, we would work with those on camera to build trust and help them feel comfortable enough to speak from their heart.

In post production, shaping the story would accelerate, finding and piecing together the key moments delivered by our “storytellers.”  We would create a strong narrative flow within a three-part structure, letting our interviewees drive the video forward in their own words.

behind the scenes we would leverage impactful photos and “B” roll, add music (if appropriate), color correct, and check and sweeten audio. 

The process involves a lot more than meets the eye, and reminds us that video is a clear collaboration with clients to help bring their stories to life.

Interested in examples of our video storytelling? Please visit