Story Telling 101 - How to Edit to Create a Powerful Story

It's not hard to pick up a camera and film. What takes a little more skill is being able to craft a meaningful story in the editing process - especially when it comes to interviews and structuring the video. I'll share with you some effective tips that I have learned over the last ten years of filming documentaries and commercial projects.

Narrative Inquiry

Overall, if you understand the basics of Narrative Inquiry and ask the right questions in the interview, the editing process is very easy. The biggest mistake most videographers make is not asking the right questions. Narrative inquiry aims to learn from the essence of peoples shared experiences and stories. It describes a situation, or more so a changed situation, or sequence of events, views can warm or relate to. Some key components for a good narrative story are: 1. Abstract - Summary of the substance of the whole narrative 2. Orientation - 'Overview' - the time, place, situation and who are the participants. 3. Complication - The sequence of events of what happened, what worked, what didn't - here in particular what did not work.

4. Evaluation - The significance and meaning of the action, attitude of the storyteller. 5. Resolution - What finally happened, how were any complications resolved and what were the outcomes.

6. Tail - Summary of the story. This returns perspective back to the present moment, for example what is the status now.

Four simple questions that you can ask:How was situation in the beginning? What Happened to you? What happen then? What was the impact? What challenges did you face - how did you overcome them? What is your situation now? How are you feeling now?

Feeling - The Key for Human Connection

To create and capture a story with feeling and a story that moves the audience, it must be generally structured in a way that shows progression from a situation in the beginning, the challenges that were met, and where they are now - how they are feeling now.

This is basic storytelling in some sense, creating contrast to highlight a journey, but what I am interested in the most is the last part - how they are feeling now.

By asking whoever you interview this question at the end of the interview - "How are you feeling now?" something very interesting happens. Real human connection is created. This is because this question invites the interviewee to share from a deeper place - not just the brain - but from the heart which is the centre of feeling. This is actually not something strange - everyone has experienced their heart naturally, maybe at the birth of their child or even just watching a sunset - a moment when they are touch deeply. This is the heart. This is the key to authentic connection.

When someone speaks from their heart, it also invites the viewer to feel what they are sharing form their heart also, to connect at a deeper level. This invites a feeling of warmth, creating a video that is authentic - that is moving and leaves a deeper impression on whoever watches it.


When it comes to editing the video, by following this simple structure, for sure your videos will come across as more authentic and moving. Stay tuned for the next posts, which will be more around the technical side of structuring the edit in Premire Pro.

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