Over the last few weeks we have been chatting to clients and members of the Story Network (the quarterly meet-up we run for charity story managers) about their concerns and priorities for story gathering during lockdown. The most common questions were around how to keep digital content fresh and how capture stories remotely and/or by using staff who are still delivering frontline work and essential services. These anecdotal conversations were echoed last week by the CharityComms and Media Trust survey which reported that 53% of respondents said one of their top comms challenges was producing digital content.
We are launching a new virtual training programme to help charities keep up their story gathering during lockdown and as a way to continue developing and supporting staff during home working and furlough. The practical training sessions will include opportunities for discussion and exercises within the group environments and some courses will run on a split schedule enabling people to complete some of the practical exercises offline. All the courses have been adapted from our popular storytelling masterclasses and smartphone filmmaking course which more than 300 people have completed.
There are two free courses and the paid for modules start at £35+VAT for small charities. The free introductory sessions begin on 21st April and the paid for sessions begin on 28th April. The weekly schedule will run throughout May with the option to repeat the programme during June if it is needed. You can view the schedule and book your places on Eventbrite but you can also drop us a line if you would like to make multiple bookings as discounts will be available or if you would like to book an in-house course.
Courses on offer are:
Techniques for Lockdown Storytelling – FREE, one hour
This session will introduce you to some of the ways you can keep your storytelling alive during lockdown. We will look at how you can repurpose existing stories, use tech to capture new material and increase your pipeline of user generated content. We will introduce you to some of the Apps and technology we use and look at some examples from charities who are already working in new ways.
Suitable for: Anyone responsible for gathering and managing stories and content
Introduction to Storytelling – FREE, one hour
This session is an introduction to what storytelling is and why we need to tell stories to engage our audiences. It will include a basic overview of the science of storytelling which will set the scene on why human interest stories are more powerful than theory and jargon and then we will look at what the ingredients of a good charity story are.
Suitable for: This is a basic introduction to storytelling and is suited to those with no prior experience or training in storytelling. This will over a good basis of understanding for frontline teams who you want to skill up and who may be attending part one of our Smartphone Filmmaking course.
Smartphone Filmmaking Part One, Shooting Skills – from £45 + VAT, two hours
This session will help you develop your practical smartphone filmmaking skills. It will teach essential skills around framing, lighting and sound, with a particular focus on techniques for capturing good quality pieces to camera. There will also be advice on capturing B Roll and recommendations on kit to buy.
Suitable for: Frontline teams who are delivering services, service users, communications teams who want to be able to more effectively brief their frontline teams and service users.
Smartphone Filmmaking Part Two, Editing – from £45 + VAT, two hours
This session will introduce you to the basics of editing footage using an App. We will cover how to make selects, trim footage, create a timeline and use B Roll to create your film, we will also cover music, subtitling and caption. This is a practical session where you will be editing footage so if you haven’t completed part one of the course you will need to shoot some footage on your phone before this session.
Suitable for: Those who have completed part one of the smartphone filmmaking course or those who will be editing footage shot by frontline teams.
Interview Skills – from £35 + VAT, 90 minutes
This session will teach you how to plan and deliver an excellent interview. We will cover what makes a good and bad interview, how to avoid common pitfalls, planning questions that get great answers, building rapport and conducting an interviews when you’re working remotely. We will also cover how to record your interviews so you can use your recordings for podcasts, vlogs and short films. There will be a practical interview exercise.
Suitable for: Anyone responsible for interviewing, either for films or for written stories. Can be partnered with the creative writing skills course.
Creative Writing Skills – from £100 + VAT, one week
This week-long course will explore different styles of written storytelling, including ways to write about need and impact, making the how you work jargon-free and interesting, using the first person, and writing for newsletters and blogs. We will consider what works for different audiences and ways to adjust your tone and style while still keeping your writing on brand. We will look at some of the common mistakes people make in their writing and how to avoid them. This will be a week-long course with daily writing exercises. Participants will receive feedback on each written exercise.
Suitable for: Anyone who has to write content. This a good sister course to the interviews skills one but also works as a standalone.
Strategic Story Gathering – from £75 + VAT, two hours
This session is aimed at story managers and those responsible for gathering and managing content for their organisations. We will explore what systems are processes are needed to run an effective story gathering function, how to develop and maintain relationships with your frontline teams to secure a healthy pipeline and how to make story gathering an essential part of the campaign planning process, not an afterthought.
Suitable for: Anyone who has responsibility for managing story gathering in their organisation.