The Modern Way To Tell A Story - Part II - Proposing a new format

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How Can You Tell A Story And Take Full Advantage Of The Current Environment - Series

In the first part of this series, I explained my idea about telling a story and producing a documentary in a progressive way but in the old environment, using the example of THE BLACK ROOTS OF SALSA.

In this part, I will go into the possibilities of the current environment of the digital age, where many things have changed fundamentally, discussing pros and cons of each approach.

I separate two completely different versions of modern productions!

a) Classic approach in format and production but modern solutions of funding and distributions

A documentary or any film gets shot and edited as one determined creation or a determined count of creations, like a series of episodes, telling a predefined story.
Funding for the project(s) in today's environment can be established in many more ways than just 5 years ago and the same is true for distribution channels, but in this approach, I still imply the idea of a classic setup of roles of a producer and distribution company, covering the production risk and the attraction of the audience. The distribution mostly uses a classical marketing approach to paid advertising by media agencies. 
This version of a production could be interpreted as a production of a piece of art and it might still work out for some years, but I am questioning the usefulness of its approach to attraction marketing.

b) Modern format, production, funding, and distribution

What I got in mind, is a totally different approach, where the production and the story get broken down into junks, published as short and long episodes, like it is possible on Youtube as of today.
The story told over time develops in conjunction with the value to be provided to the audience and changes over time.
Each published junk on its own needs to attract people to gain attraction and broaden the following audience to move people and trigger the algorithms in place like used on Youtube, Facebook and other platforms.
This form of storytelling can be used for both solo entrepreneurs and companies to build brand awareness through intelligent marketing.
In my case, when editing the documentary THE BLACK ROOTS OF SALSA I could not show all of the material I wanted to show, so I had to leave beautiful parts uncovered.
Using this approach I am now throwing short junks out to the audience to feed the Youtube algorithm to build a stable attraction.

Classic approach in format and production but modern solutions of funding and distributions

If your name is Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Woody Allen or Tim Burton this approach can still be a solution to make a good blockbuster, but there are many films produced these days, not generating enough revenues to justify the production costs.

TV stations and Cinemas are fighting with providers like Netflix, iTunes and other providers for survival besides the ever-growing black market, where films are available nearly immediately after the release date. Additionally, to these miserable circumstances, there is the incredible amount of films produced around the world constantly.

There are many possibilities for independent filmmakers and storytellers to finance their project through crowdfunding, but in an economic sense at the end, they don't work out eighter.

On the distribution side, there are new ways available but it is very hard to generate revenues.

I published THE BLACK ROOTS OF SALSA on my own website, with PayPal as a payment method, then on the library network Kanopy and finally on Amazon, besides screening at some festivals. I experienced few revenues in comparison to the costs of the film.

I am aware, the Cuban culture is a small niche, but if I compare to other indie documentaries, the attraction in the market was quite high and if the production would have been financed by some funding it would not look too bad.

The biggest issue in my point is the short time of attraction and the constant push in the market to sell a film.

You can place a trailer in all kinds of social media but there is a moment when the audience wants something new to get attracted.

Considering all of these arguments I came to the conclusion to use another approach to tell a story ...

Modern format of storytelling

I think, first of all, we have to ask ourselves, how people are consuming and interacting today and more importantly tomorrow.

We are entering a time, where the world of each and everyone is built around one thing, THE MOBILE FON!!

On the mobile fon then, at least 50% of the time is spent on social media in a larger context.

This changes our entire environment as well as the possibilities and challenges for anybody to get attraction from an audience. 

TV promotions, billboards, newspaper ads are still working somehow but at a very high price compared to the attraction and final interaction.

On the internet and especially in social media we are getting bombed with promotions, so the ad blindness has to be taken into consideration.

When the internet just started, people would hopp on any banner ad to the landing pages attached. Now, these times are over and even email marketing is getting less and less effective.
While online newspapers like the New York Times etc are being very aggressive currently concerning promotions, the big social media platforms seem to be aware of the fact, that consumers are getting upset by too many ads on their platforms and try to find a balance, as readers and consumers just leave places, they feel uncomfortable and go to the next competitor.

This development leads to higher prices for placing ads on the platforms and it becomes less attractive for those, placing ads and promotions. Together with ad blindness of the consumer, there is just one way to go!

Providing valuable content!

We, humans, follow those who attract us and provide something special to resonate with!
We don't like automatically generated stuff as it gets boring very fast, don't you agree? We also figure out tricks quite fast and if it doesn't touch our soul, we have the tendency to oversee it sooner than later.

4 forms of communication

First of all, we have 4 forms of communication at hand: Written Text, Audio, Graphics and Video

Everyone has preferences, how he wants to consume content and in the internet age, each and everyone has the possibility to choose, so as content creators we should think about how we use them in parallel to spread our messages to any group of people we want to attract.

Written Text

People still like to read even if books are dying. There is no rule for the length of articles and blog posts.

There is just one question: Is it interesting to read, is there a benefit for the reader and does he/she resonate.

Personally, I think, longer articles might be written in a more difficult way than short messages, as I suppose, people who read long articles are used to read. But also short articles with a clear message, poesie are attracting.

Not everyone likes to read, so any story should be developed through different channels.


Audio is a very interesting medium to tell a story but also for promotions for various reasons.

Radio is around for quite a long time and it does not die! 
I see the reason in the case, that many types of work can be accomplished while listening to audio, so it saves time in comparison to consuming video.

Besides classical radio, there is the modern way to use podcasts to spread the message.

Many people are listening to podcasts or radio when eating breakfast or even taking a shower in the morning.


Photos and pictures have their own language and their static nature stands for a moment in time.
Our eyes consume pictures and if they attract they tell a story without the need for a time component or audio.

Graphics in the social media and add space have their place reserved but they are much less effective than video as the video just provides more information for our eye due to the moving images we are used to seeing constantly.

When using any form of pictures I think its strength will be more and more in decoration or introduction to the three other forms of media.

We love foto stories of our friends and family and any personal stuff but when telling story and try to attract I would advise providing a story around it with text, audio or video


Most of us constantly consume video through our eyes, so our preference seems natural.

We get very intrigued by moving pictures. You never know what will be next so our eyes get tied to the action. 

When I started filming in 2005 quality of digital films just started to become interesting when the production of a film before was just too expensive.

The quality of film increased drastically while production costs went down to 0!
Everybody can shoot a film on his mobile these days and be a filmmaker or vlogger and use this medium to tell a story or educate through tutorials.

It is a reality, that TV is outdated and cinemas are just for blockbusters but there are so many platforms to spread your word, your passion, your interests or anything you want.

In social media, the video is the number one choice for everybody to get attraction but few people and brands use it strategically to engage on a personal level with their audience and their customers.

Using media on social media to tell a story

In a world of social media, every platform we use has their own rules and forms of use. The use of Google differs from Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Blogs, Amazon, iTunes, etc.

There is one thing, all have in common: Consistency matters!

I just started uploading new videos to Youtube every day and will present figures about the progress soon. I also started blogging almost daily with completely different content.

There are many different levels I recommend considering to tell a story in a modern way!
Telling stories means building a brand!

Most companies try to sell their stuff when they still have not created attention and an audience.

I know it requires a lot of work to produce and provide content every day but I think you better get used to it as the importance in a fast-moving world is quite obvious.

Most of those who do, get successful in quite a short period of time!

What will be next ...

How to generate attention

Marketing and the power of the brand in comparison to pure sales

Social Media Is where you interact online

Production efficiency


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