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  1. Spotlight on: user generated content

    a butterfly feeding on a pink flower

    Last week we shared with you some of the ways in which you can keep your story gathering and storytelling alive, even if you can’t get out and about to meet your storytellers. We thought we’d follow up by showing you some of the things we have been working on in the last week to help make that happen.

    Earthwatch Europe’s Wild Days

    Wild Days is a subscription service providing daily curated activities, including films, games and activities, to help bring families closer to nature during the Covid-19 pandemic. Earthwatch Europe has done a fantastic job of quickly getting some excellent presenters on board to front the films.

    The presenters have been shooting their content on their smartphones and uploading it to Dropbox for us to edit. They have shot some of their own B Roll and I have fleshed it out a little by popping into my garden to film some extra bits and finding some online. You can watch Nick Baker introducing the series here for free. The rest of the series is paid for (£3 a day or £8 a week) but having already edited the first week’s films we can tell you that they’re definitely good value for money (especially if like me you have kids to entertain!).

    Taking our smartphone filmmaking course online

    I have been making some adjustments to our smartphone filmmaking course so that it can be delivered online. In our usual course we focus a section of the day on interview skills but that’s obviously not too relevant right now so we are adjusting that to look at how to capture good quality pieces to camera. I practiced the new course on my friend (and best man!) Luke Vandore-Mackay as he’s about to start a new cooking series. I think he’s done pretty well!

    Many charities still have staff out on the frontline delivering their essential services, some related to Covid-19, some not. Whether it’s response work or business as usual, as long as comms teams are on lockdown your service teams are your story gatherers so why not train them up in basic filming skills? We have a couple more run throughs to do this week but from next week we will be taking bookings so look out next week for the schedule going live.

    Take your interviews to Skype

    This morning Catherine and I should be waking up in Fez, ready to embark on the second day of a shoot for Multiple Sclerosis International Federation. Not wanting to waste the effort in securing internal support and budget for the story gathering, this activity has now moved to Skype! Catherine spent the end of last week sourcing translators and setting up interviews in Asia and Latin America. We may not be in Morocco this week but she’ll be in homes in Indonesia and Mexico from her home in South London and when lockdown is over we’ll be using our global networks to help the client source local photographers to capture the images.

    One other thing…

    Should I tell stories that aren’t about Covid-19?

    We have had a couple of people ask us in the last week or two whether they should still tell stories that aren’t about Covid-19. YES! Don’t stop telling all your stories. We can’t (and shouldn’t!) ignore what is happening with the pandemic but the news can be overwhelming and stories that offer us a break from all of that are just as important. They maybe a little drowned out on the timelines at the moment but they are still there and they are still providing insight into your work. Last week was World Autism Awareness Week and even though it feels like a lifetime (when in fact it was little over a month ago!) since I shot the content for Dogs for Good’s Imagine If… campaign, I was really uplifted seeing it appear in my feed last week.

    To keep up to date with all our top tips and guest posts on our weekly blog you can subscribe here. We’ll be taking a break next week, back on 20th April. Happy Easter and stay safe.

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