How to tell interesting stories using short video format
CASE STUDY: THE BLIND FOOTBALLERS OF INDIA
Unless you have been following me on Social Media, most likely you didn’t know that India has its own blind football team. Until now. 🙂 Below is a five minute video (that I didn’t shoot). It documents the first international tournament for blind footballers held in India. Watch it. It’s okay if you don’t feel like watching it till the end. That’s the whole point actually.
Below is a video (without any story)
Above is a video that clearly shows something incredible. And yet, if you see it you will realize that it doesn’t have the kind of impact a story like this can potentially have. It’s just a video of a bunch of blind footballers playing a game. There is no context. And it’s definitely not personal.
The other kind of videos that do offer some context (and audio bytes) are the news-format videos like the one below (on another blind football tournament in India).
Below is a news-video!
The problem with a news-format video is that it is still focused on sharing information and not so much on telling a story. Now watch the below video that I created from another blind football tournament that I attended. And observe, how I tell a story.
Below is a story first, a video later.
Why does a story matter?
All of us love stories and remember stories more than we love / remember just information. That’s just human nature. And that’s why stories matter!
While typical movies (that we watch in theatres) are purely about stories (so that they could entertain us), short-videos can be of any of the following three kind:
- ‘something cool or interesting or hilarious’ (that only entertains); OR
- ‘information / knowledge’ (that only educates); OR
- ‘stories’ (that might entertain as well educate / disseminate information and typically make viewers interested in a particular subject / topic /product / initiative etc.)
Now if there is a video-clip of something very cool or interesting or hilarious – people will watch it and remember it even when no story is told. But if the objective is to share information, most viewers will not watch (at least till the end) and definitely not remember much from a video that is not told in the form of a story!
How does one tell stories via video?
Every story begins when someone wants something and it is not clear how that someone will get that thing. In my Blind Football story, Pankaj wants to defeat Kerala (story #1) and Sunil wants to help the Indian Blind Football team excel internationally (story #2). Also, when the video is about to end, both the stories converge.
The part between the beginning and end of any story is typically the journey that the primary characters undertake (Pankaj and Sunil in this case). A journey is usually interesting for viewers only when a) there are challenges and b) there is something at stake for the characters. Pankaj has already lost one tournament to Kerala and so his team’s reputation is at stake (especially because he is known to be a great player). The challenge is that it’s the home ground for Kerala and they have already been champions once, so they carry more confidence. Sunil has no financial support from government – and that’s his challenge. If he is not able to continue doing what he is doing, India might never shine internationally (or qualify for Paralympics) – thus the stakes for him are clearly high.
Once a story begins, viewers want to see how it will end. And then a storyteller can use this framework to disseminate information. How cool is that? That’s exactly what I did with my football story. As you watch it, you end up learning how the blind play football and why it’s a tough road ahead for Sunil to help build a team that can win in international tournaments. That was my ultimate objective. And yet, because I shared the information via a story (that was personal at the same time) you also enjoyed the journey (than just consuming information).
So there you go. Now you know the difference between just a video and a story. And why it matters!