INTERVIEW QUOTES 
- Excerpts below are from the book Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change. This series of nuggets and links is designed to inspire those driven to connect art & activism.  

STORY Question - What advice do you have on how to best express story intentions in a proposal?

Michelle van Beusekom (National Film Board of Canada): 
It’s important to remember there’s a big difference between topic and story. Something I’ve seen often is people proposing a topic, like ‘this is a project about tar sands and environmental impact,’ or ‘it’s a story about a particular type of cancer’. It’s harder for people to describe what the story is that they want to tell. Who is the subject? What happens to them? What’s the arc and what’s the journey that you’re taking people on? 


STORY Spark ~ WATCH Angry Inuk clip (2:00)​


MONEY Question - How are mission-driven funders thinking about media and social change? 

Cara Mertes (Ford Foundation’s JustFilms):  All funders are ‘mission-driven’ in the sense that they have goals that they want to achieve with their resources… We are trying to create new networks and ultimately increase resources and impact for all concerned:  public, private, government and artists. These efforts undertake the long-term process of educating people from different sectors about the transformative potential of film in the search for more equity and justice.


MONEY Spark ~ REVIEW JustFilms Grants List (2015-2016) 


IMPACT Question - Are you optimistic about the future of independent journalism?

Steve Katz (Mother Jones Magazine): 
I think this is the best possible time to be doing journalism…The tools that journalists have, and the ability for relatively small but really smart and nimble organizations to get out in front of audiences that we never could have been able to reach before, it’s just so cool... It’s a complicated dance to do but I think that is the single biggest driver for a sustainability strategy: identify, work with, engage with, disagree with, the community of support that will carry the organization forward. 


IMPACT Spark ~ WATCH My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard (4:30)​



INTERVIEW QUOTES 
- Excerpts below are from the book Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change. This series of nuggets and links is designed to inspire those driven to connect art & activism.  

STORY Question: What to you are essential story ingredients for documentaries?

Mark Achbar (The Corporation): I ask questions. Is it new? Are you telling me something I don’t already know? I’m always grateful for that. Are you going to tell it in a way that’s novel? Are you going to advance the form? Is it well-written? ... Do they show me something in a way that I hadn’t thought of it before? And are they considerate of the audience? By that I mean, if they’re introducing a new set of ideas or a new analysis, are they presenting it in a way that somebody else hasn’t? 


                                                       STORY Spark ~ Watch The Corporation (10th Anniversary)

MONEY Question: What advice do you have for filmmakers about approaching possible funders?

Cara Mertes (Just Films): Research your potential donor. Can they be a partner in your project and if so, how? Try to understand their needs and interests to the best of your ability and identify where you and they might have common ground. Assume these people are knowledgeable about their area, professional and committed. They want to identify partners for their work as much as you want to identify support for yours. If they can’t help, see if they can open the door to others who can.


                                                            MONEY Spark ~ Explore Ford Foundation's Just Films

IMPACT Question: What is the connection between the David Suzuki Foundation and Dr. Suzuki himself (and impact)?

Andrea Seale (Deputy CEO): Achieving an environmental mission is very difficult. In the last few years we've realized there is a great need for us to engage the public more deeply, really finding ways for individuals to get involved.  We’ve been making a lot of effort to build up, care for and encourage a community of individuals. Whereas before our focus may have been on decision-makers or politicians - a smaller group - now we consider our “audience” to be much larger than ever before. 

                                        IMPACT Spark ~ Read  "Digital Storytelling for Social Impact" (Rockefeller Foundation) 








INTERVIEW QUOTES 
- Excerpts below are from the book Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change. This series of nuggets and links is designed to inspire those driven to connect art & activism.  

STORY Question: Is there one story element that for you is the most important?

Elise Pearlstein (Participant Media): When I’m evaluating material, I’m looking at who the characters are and what they’re engaged in. The most interesting characters tend to be in the moment of something happening to them, not past tense. Sometimes it can be really fascinating to explore recollections and memory, but there’s nothing better than being able to film somebody in the midst of action.

STORY Spark ~ Read Storytelling Matters (Participant Media)

MONEY Question: What first drew your attention to the value of documentary film?

Steve Cohen (Chicago Media Project/ Impact Partners): Impact Partners was my entree. I was always involved in grass-roots and advocacy organizations, and I certainly had the love for film, but I didn’t necessarily have an avenue that brought them both together. IP is a group of like-minded people who are spread out all over the country and have the desire to be involved in supporting impact strategies towards social change and have an orientation towards film and media as a tool for that.


MONEY Spark ~ Explore Chicago Media Project

IMPACT Question:What advice do you have for filmmakers in sourcing and approaching other partners?

Sheila Leddy (Fledgling Fund): If you are looking at nonprofit partners it’s really important to focus on the mutual benefit—not just how they can help you but how the film/campaign can help them, how it might reinforce their message, how it might help them broaden their own base, reach new audiences. It’s best not to lead with Can you send my film out to your list?, but to really think about creating authentic partnerships where you’re figuring out what the alignment is between the goals of these non-profit organizations and your own film and goals.

IMPACT Spark ~ Watch What is Film Impact? (Fledgling Fund)



INTERVIEW QUOTES 
- Excerpts below are from the book Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change. This series of nuggets and links is designed to inspire those driven to connect art & activism.  

STORY Question - What to you are essential story elements?

Steve Katz (Mother Jones) -
I personally think - and I believe our editors would agree with this, too—the successful story for ‘Mother Jones’ is when you finish it, and you may not agree with what you’ve read, but you also say, Wow, I didn’t know that. That is the experience that we want people to have. To go outside of their normal bounds of comfort, even if it challenges their assumptions about the way the world works. I believe those are the most successful stories that we can produce - ones that really draw you in and carry you along to the end.

STORY Spark ~ Read Mother Jones 


MONEY Question - How does crowdfunding fit in to the larger funding process? 

 Ayah Norris (Indiegogo) - When people talk about crowdfunding fitting into the alternative financing puzzle, it does for sure but there’s actually the broader benefit of it as an audience builder. The value of the campaign is like a public validator that says yes, there’s the body of people behind this. And once you have that public support, you’re no longer just pitching the idea with a sense of ‘trust me’. Now you’re pitching hard numbers, facts, demographics, what people have been saying, what messaging works. With that you can go to sponsors and private investors, who are often looking for more of the concrete data behind things. 


MONEY Spark ~ Read Indiegogo Field Guide 

IMPACT Question - What gives you hope looking ahead in terms of using media for social change?

Kat Dodds (Hello Cool World) -
When I watched Manufacturing Consent decades ago I realized that I needed to be in media as an activist.  I have now seen things cycle around enough, and it can get depressing to watch the same battles being fought again and again.  But at the same time, it’s so gratifying when we still get emails from people for The Corporation, The Take, 65_RedRoses… They are discovering these films for the first time through nothing I am doing anymore, just because we put them out there. You can see then very clearly what kind of impact it has. 


IMPACT Spark ~ Explore 65_RedRoses campaign



SPARKS ~ Vol 8 ~  MID JUNE 2016

A Mini-Blog on the Power of Media to Ignite Change 

INTERVIEW QUOTES 
- Excerpts below are from the book Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change. This series of nuggets and links is designed to inspire those driven to connect art & activism.  

STORY Question - What is the immediate power of watching a character facing a moral dilemma?   

Elise Pearlstein (Participant Media)  -  
If it’s a first-person story it should transcend the specificity of the individual and speak to a larger idea.  Some really compelling stories don’t offer a window into something greater. They just exist on their own merits and there’s nothing wrong with that.  But when we’re trying to help shine a light on pressing issues in the world, we’re looking for a personal, emotional, specific story - dramatic and compelling in its own right. This is not something that you can force; it should be organic to the story.


STORY Spark ~ Watch trailer 3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets


MONEY Question - How do you talk to other potential funders about the power of media to affect social change?    

Steve Cohen (Chicago Media Project) - What we talk about is how film can be a source for both inspiring and igniting people to act. Visual storytelling can be so much more powerful than even the oral or written word. We see film as that version of storytelling, of being the kindling for conversation, and then you add to that an approach for how that film can be used within an impact strategy, and you have the makings of a social reform campaign. 


MONEY Spark ~ Watch Good Pitch Chicago (6 mins)

IMPACT Question - What is the difference between a ‘theory of change’ and a ‘call to action’? 

Sheila Leddy (Fledgling Fund) -  
A theory of change is how you see change happening and it helps you to build a strategy and vision for how your film can contribute, and who it needs to reach to have that impact. A call to action flows from that strategy but is more tactical.  At Fledgling Fund we are drawn towards character-driven films—where you can connect with a character and then you use that character to illuminate a larger issue. 


IMPACT Spark ~ Explore Fledging's Engagement Lab



SPARKS ~ Vol 9 ~  MID JUly 2016

A Mini-Blog on the Power of Media to Ignite Change 

SPARKS ~ Vol 4 ~  Mid March 2016

A Mini-Blog on the Power of Media to Ignite Change 

​​​SPARKS ~ Vol 12 ~  LATE NOV 2016

A ONE-YEAR 12-part Mini-Blog Series on the Power of Media to Ignite Change 

INTERVIEW QUOTES 
- Excerpts below are from the book Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change. This series of nuggets and links is designed to inspire those driven to connect art & activism.  

STORY Question - What is that secret sauce that makes your films so suspenseful even though we might know how they’re going to end?  ​
John Battsek (Passion Pictures): 
This is probably a frustrating answer, but I do think it’s just storytelling. It takes a lot of commitment, passion, time, a lot of time...  Films are made in the editing room!  You discover things you didn’t know, you go down avenues you didn’t realize existed.  It’s where you create the story, shape the story, develop the story. Yes, there is a core narrative going on the surface, but there’s all sorts of other stuff at play that is touching the audience in different ways.  


STORY Spark ~ WATCH Hadwin's Judgement trailer


MONEY Question - What is the business model of New Media Ventures?


Christie George (New Media Ventures):  We have a network of funders that we work with, both angel investors and philanthropists… One of the things that I love about my job is that we get to work with absolutely fascinating people, like entrepreneurs that are creating totally game-changing things that have ripple effects.  And on the investor side, people who have had deep expertise growing their own companies and are now wanting to use that to help the next generation of entrepreneurs build companies…that are actually going to make a difference on issues that are important. 


MONEY Spark ~ READ NMV's Innovation Fund results


IMPACT Question - How do you see the intersection of Story, Money and Impact working at its best?

Johanna Blakley (Media Impact Project): 
It works best when all of the missions are aligned. If the people holding the purse strings are in line with the filmmaker’s mission, this is absolutely crucial… From the studies that we have done over the last 15 years, we know that media can be very, very effective. If you can get people to watch it and it’s well made then, at the very least, people will know more about the topic, and quite often if they agree with it, they will act upon that knowledge.


IMPACT Spark ~ READ MIP's Impact Reports
​​

INTERVIEW QUOTES 
- Excerpts below are from the book Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change. This series of nuggets and links is designed to inspire those driven to connect art & activism.  

STORY Question: What story ingredients do you think directors should try to hold sacred? 


Michelle van Beusekom (National Film Board of Canada): What resonates most strongly with me is emotion. That’s what draws people in, and then ideally they’ll become really interested, passionate, outraged, or whatever the desired range of emotions is about what they’ve just seen, and that sparks their interest. But if it’s just information, the risk is that it’s not going to touch people in their hearts, and it’s just not going to hold their attention and have an impact. 


STORY Spark ~ Watch Hadwin’s Judgement (NFB trailer) 


MONEY Question: How can we all better understand impact funders?


Geralyn Dreyfous (Impact Partners): The ability to align missions and amplify the current investment of a philanthropist or a foundation is one of the most exciting new areas being explored: “strategic alignment.” There are just so many ways when we all approach foundations to try to think about what are their goals, what is in their long-term strategic planning, what are some of the outcomes they want in the field and spheres of influence that they’ve invested in? They’re starting to see media as a more strategic investment. 


MONEY Spark ~ Explore Impact Partners

IMPACT Question:Please explain the value of impact measurement. 


Beadie Finzi (BRITDOC): We are actively encouraging evaluation. Why? Because we believe filmmakers need to better communicate the extraordinary impact their films are having in the world. Secondly, they need to be able to evaluate that to secure new funders and maintain existing funders. If I’m going to ask a grassroots or leading campaign organization to partner with me, then I need to demonstrate what the project might deliver that their own army of experts, campaigners, lobbyists or researchers can’t deliver? 


IMPACT Spark ~ Read Impact of Art (BRITDOC) 



SPARKS ~ Vol 7 ~  Late may 2016

A Mini-Blog on the Power of Media to Ignite Change 

INTERVIEW QUOTES 
- Excerpts below are from the book Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change. This series of nuggets and links is designed to inspire those driven to connect art & activism.  

STORY Question - Do you have one main definition for ‘story’?   

Louis Fox (for Free Range Studios)  - 
Well, usually there’s a main character. We fixate on this human scale, point of focus. That character goes through some process of discovery, and comes out changed at the other end.  We seem to be hardwired to follow information when it’s packaged in this way, for safety perhaps, to understand how the world works.  So we’re just playing to our minds, which have evolved in this world of autonomous creatures with supposed free will, and they go through these adventures and they change.  


STORY Spark ~ Watch The Story of Stuff


MONEY Question - Are you optimistic about the future of media for social change?    

Asi Burak (Games for Change)​ - Yes, I am very optimistic.  I have been in this for more than a decade and have definitely seen progress. Acceptance and the funding levels grow.  People 10 years ago looked at what we were doing with the game PeaceMaker, and they thought it was completely insane. And today, I tell people that I made a game about the Middle East and it seems like, OK, why not. So the perceptions change, the funding changes, the understanding changes and the research is much more robust.


MONEY Spark ~ Read Growth in Foundation Support

IMPACT Question - Can you please describe StoryPilot? 

Debika Shome (formerly of Harmony Institute)  -
We had been doing these deep dives into individual media projects and spending considerable time and resources to understand impact. I think that is still valuable, but it made us realize that there was this untapped opportunity to go beyond a single media project and understand how each of these projects fits into the larger conversation. StoryPilot is a free, interactive web application that helps filmmakers and change-makers explore the social impact of documentary film. It provides a holistic view of these films through innovative data analysis and visualizations.


IMPACT Spark ~ Explore StoryPilot



ORDER BOOK FROM ROUTLEDGE/ FOCAL PRESS 




INTERVIEW QUOTES 
- Excerpts below are from the book Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change. This series of nuggets and links is designed to inspire those driven to connect art & activism.  

STORY Question - In what ways are you optimistic about the future of media for social change?

Linda Solomon (Vancouver Observer) -
I come from a kind of a philosophy that says that even if I make the tiniest drop of change in my whole lifetime, that’s enough. I do not get attached to the outcome on these things. I don’t see my role as even aiming to make a change when we’re telling stories. My aim every day is to tell a powerful story that people are really going to want to read, and then to put it in their hands. That’s the role of the journalist. Some people get burnt out because I think they’re attached to the outcome, but for me the goal every day is to tell a better story.

STORY Spark ~ Read the Vancouver Observer & National Observer


MONEY Question - How important is recoupment in your decision making process?

 Christie George (New Media Ventures) - We tend to have a policy of not working with any investors who aren’t impact oriented first on the spectrum of impact to financial returns.  But as we have grown, we realize that people need way more than money.  Many are also motivated by being part of a community. That’s a more valuable, deeper, longer term benefit to the organizations and the investors in the portfolio. This is such a wild west territory.  Seeing that there are other people doing it and hearing their stories… All of the reasons why community is valuable are no less true in the context of angel investors.  


MONEY Spark ~ Explore New Media Ventures

IMPACT Question - How would you define an ‘impact producer’?

Darcy Heusel (Picture Motion) -
People have been doing this kind of work for a while, at places like Participant Media, for instance, but the term ‘impact producer’ is something relatively new.  Part of it is recognizing the importance of social impact and marketing of a film.  Giving the title of ‘producer’ assigns a very specific role and task to it.  Previously people might have said ‘social impact strategist’ or just that ‘I’m working on a social impact campaign’.  But really, you’re producing an impact campaign.


IMPACT Spark ~ Watch American Promise campaign video



INTERVIEW QUOTES 
- Excerpts below are from the book Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change. This series of nuggets and links is designed to inspire those driven to connect art & activism.  

STORY Question - I’m interested in the motivations of funders of social change media.  Why do people get involved in this kind of storytelling?   ​

Linda Solomon (National Observer):  
What I’ve learned is both simple and complex. It’s just that you have to be offering something of value. It has to intersect with somebody else’s really deep values and aspirations. It’s the belief that journalism can not only shed light on something that is happening today; it can tell a story that provides a basis for really profound change to take place.  And so there has to be that aspiration for change in the potential funder. They have to honestly believe in that thing we call democracy, and that information is a vital part of that thing, for the system to function properly.


STORY Spark ~ WATCH National Observer Video (1 min)​


MONEY Question - What advice do you have for filmmakers when communicating with potential partners? 


Geralyn Dreyfous (Impact Partners):  You have to be able to use language they understand. That this is only going to amplify the cause. To say:  We’re coming to you because we know you’ve already made this investment, you care deeply about this.  We want this film to carry that investment out to the mainstream world, out to the choir that’s already singing your song, and out to new people that have never even discovered how to sing… It’s about collaboration, it’s about how none of us can do this alone. We’re making it as easy as possible for philanthropists and for consumers to do the right thing!


MONEY Spark ~ EXPLORE Impact Partner’s slate of films


IMPACT Question - Would you describe yourself as optimistic in terms of the future of media for social change?

Darcy Heusel (Picture Motion): 
Absolutely. Stories work. I think we all know that it’s a scientific fact that stories do change minds, change opinions. And now there’s this opportunity to create community around online distribution. Once you have that audience and you’re able to engage them, the possibilities are endless in terms of actually building those groups and giving them the opportunity to create real lasting changes.  After you see a moving film you want to do something - it’s just being empowered with the right tools. 


IMPACT Spark ~ READ Picture Motion’s 2015 Impact Report​



​​SPARKS ~ Vol 11 ~  Mid Oct 2016

A Mini-Blog on the Power of Media to Ignite Change 

SPARKS ~ Vol 3 ~  late Feb 2016

A Mini-Blog on the Power of Media to Ignite Change 

SPARKS ~ Vol 1 ~  Mid Jan 2016

A Mini-Blog on the Power of Media to Ignite Change 

SPARKS ~ Vol 5 ~  EARLY APRIL 2016

A Mini-Blog on the Power of Media to Ignite Change 

SPARKS ~ Vol 6 ~  Late APRIL 2016

A Mini-Blog on the Power of Media to Ignite Change 

INTERVIEW QUOTES 
- Excerpts below are from the book Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change. This series of nuggets and links is designed to inspire those driven to connect art & activism.  

STORY Question - Virunga is a film that seems to deliver on the promise of Story Money Impact.  How did it come about?  

Beadie Finzi (BRITDOC):  
To make a feature length documentary you really need a solid and nourishing and complex story. That’s story development. And often filmmakers can get into something, can get fascinated or intrigued by a given topic and you just have to give it a bit of time to be able to tease out the complexity, and wait for change to happen… And so keeping the filmmaker safe is important and assisting them with the best kind of creative support.  We were in the edit most weeks for a very, very, very long time! 


STORY Spark ~ WATCH Virunga (trailer)​


MONEY Question - How should filmmakers approach funders who are interested in social impact? 


Brian Newman (Sub-Genre):   When filmmakers are looking for funding they often look in the classic sense. They are looking at a database of potential funders, people who are funding film, and that is not where you start. It is actually looking at who is funding the issue your film is about. Most of those funding documentary today aren’t funding for the heart’s sake, nor just for sake of story, they are funding to make some difference for their portfolio, that they can measure. 


MONEY Spark ~ EXPLORE Sub-Genre


IMPACT Question - Do you consider yourself an ‘impact producer’?  It’s not necessarily a term in wide use yet in Canada... 

Kat Dodds (Hello Cool World): 
The term ‘impact producer’ isn’t one we’ve been using, but I think it is actually what we’ve been doing for a long time now… Having to prove impact isn’t a bad thing, but it is a different thing than just trying to get your film out into the world.  That was always my goal with The Corporation.  But the honest truth is that we were not funded to campaign as an impact film, let alone measure it.  Anecdotally, we have stories of the impact, but not what we could have if we’d had more resources over time. 


IMPACT Spark ~ EXPLORE Hello Cool World



Story Money Impact

​​SPARKS ~ Vol 2 ~  Early Feb 2016

A Mini-Blog on the Power of Media to Ignite Change 

​​SPARKS ~ Vol 10 ~  Late Aug 2016

A Mini-Blog on the Power of Media to Ignite Change 

INTERVIEW QUOTES 
- Excerpts below are from the book Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change. This series of nuggets and links is designed to inspire those driven to connect art & activism.  

STORY Question - How do you talk to filmmakers about the importance of emotion in story development?

John Battsek (Passion Pictures)  -
If one is not able to engage an audience’s emotions then your film is failing and your audience will be leaving. I am sentimental. I veer probably to the wrong side of wanting films to be as emotional as possible. It happens less with cinema that one sits in the theater and wants to cry or feels properly moved. I think more and more documentaries, telling real true stories, have a better shot at doing that for an audience. So I am always very straight with filmmakers, directors, editors, about trying to maximize that impact in any film that is being made. 


STORY Spark ~ Explore Passion Pictures


MONEY Question - Where should filmmakers start if they want to work with a corporate brand?  

Brian Newman (Sub-Genre for Patagonia)​ - Filmmakers need to realize that it’s not for everyone. But also that the world is changing. It used to be that you could count on government support of the arts. And broadcasters are paying less now for content. At the same time, almost any type of brand is trying to find ways to reach consumers that are more genuine, because people are not paying attention to advertising the same way. And brands have a lot of money. And filmmakers need money.  Occasionally the interests of a filmmaker overlap with a brand. That can be a great opportunity, as long as you are maintaining your artistic integrity and control, to get a film funded by someone who has the exact same goal as you, which is to get it seen by as many people as possible. 


MONEY Spark ~ Watch DAMNATION trailer

IMPACT Question - What have you learned around story that can help a filmmaker design for impact

Johanna Blakley (Media Impact Project)  -
People have this sense that story is something incredibly magical and amorphous and there is no way that you can nail it down and that ‘capturing hearts and minds’ is something that you can never really plan for. And I don’t think that is true at all. I think you can do some very sophisticated survey research in order to figure out what kinds of story elements capture people’s attention and really stick with them.  You can do some very interesting analysis, which we’ve done in the past, in order to chart to what degree an empathetic response to a story is correlated with taking action later.


IMPACT Spark ~ Read Measuring Media Impact