If you want somebody to pay attention to you, the four magic
words are “once upon a time.” –Donald Miller
I remember being stunned by power of the images and daring scripting of Apple’s 1997 Think Different commercial. Each time the commercial came on television, I felt as if I could do anything, become anyone I wanted to be, and even change an ounce of the world. I’d think, wow, maybe my big ideas aren’t so crazy after all”.
Apple used archival film footage of our world’s champion change makers — Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Martin Luther King, Jr.. By creatiing a mini-documentary style commercial, Apple stood apart from the typical product driven Madison Avenue commercials. ‘Think Different’ didn’t only entice millions to buy a Apple computers and products, myself included, it also told a story of the rebels, renegades, ‘crazy ones’, and world leaders—those iconoclasts and change makers challenging mediocrity and shining hope.
Media creators, and film and video producers stand in pivotal positions to transform communities through film and video. Popular documentaries such as Bowling for Columbine, The Thin Blue Line, and An Inconvenient Truth, all powerful and significant films, forged needed dialogue regarding important social issues. On-camera participants become truth-bearers, and our camera’s become vehicles for truth-telling.
What struck me most when pre-interviewing survivors of childhood sexual abuse during research for our films Boys and Men Healing and The Healing Years — films about the effects of childhood sexual abuse and importance of healing — were the survivor’s courageous voices challenging silence. Hope shined through the dark, painful truth of their stories. In fact, hope became the silver thread we followed during the film’s editing, shaping the film’s final message. It is in their truth telling and hope sharing that the film became an inspirational tool for survivors of abuse to feels safe to begin healing, to feel safe to share their own stories.
Documentaries today require grassroots engagement campaigns with community screenings and panel discussions to motivate social change. By collaborating with community leaders and organizations, filmmakers broaden the sphere of a film’s influence; audiences expand from the general public viewer, reaching policy makers, political leaders, and advocates.
Over the years, we’ve partnered with several key organizations who utilize Boys and Men Healing as an adjunct tool for their work. Steve Lepore, Founder and Executive Director of 1in6, Inc, and a main partner in our outreach work since the making of the film said:
We created a presentation and training around the film, showing it across the country throughout the year to packed audiences everywhere. Boys and Men Healing remains one of our most valuable tools in working with men who have had unwanted or abusive experiences in childhood.
Screening by screening, community by community, filmmakers and collaborators build powerful platforms, bringing to life vital issues. Some films offer hope and possibilities, while others unearth what may otherwise have been left untended and secret. Either way, media, film, video and documentaries open wide the doors of truth and healing.
We now live in an age where a vast sea of new technologies broadcast our messages far and wide, thanks in part to Steve Jobs, Apple, Facebook, Twitter and social networking sites. Through these technologies, filmmakers and video creators can mobilize communities, build relationships, and distribute media to all corners of the globe, turbo charging broadcasting our messages at light speed. Through these technologies we’ve been able to raise awareness about male child sexual abuse, educate and train leaders beyond the borders of television and movie screens in North America– to countries such as England, Israel, Canada, Cambodia, Spain, Australia and New Zealand.
A blog on forbes.com, The Power of Video — The Premier Communications Tool of Today, states: ‘video has become a critical component in business, politics, communication, social media and even in music… We need video to market and sell products, promote new ideas and share beliefs. As the blog goes on to say, “Ultimately, therein lies the power of video—the ability to effectively share beliefs and impact audiences worldwide from the comfort of their homes to the screens of their smart phones 24 hours per day, 7 days per week!”
Modern technology is a powerful megaphone not only for product launches like Apple, but for advocates and those who dare to make right the wrongs in our world.
So, go on, dare to get your messages out there.
As Waldo Emerson said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
And take to heart Mahatma Gandhi’s words:
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world”— Mahatma Gandhi
And surely HOPE will grow big.
When you create your video and engagement campaign, be sure to:
1. THINK HOPE
2. THINK GRASSROOTS
3. THINK BIG
4. THINK DIFFERENT.
What message of hope and truth do you most need to get out into the world?
How will you begin? What’s your first step?