Film production custom-designed for social innovators

You have the best stories to tell. But capturing them on film and inspiring action with them can be complicated and exhausting. The question becomes how can you become a regular publisher of this content in order to gracefully capture your audience’s attention, stay engaged with them and increase your influence over their decisions.

Common challenges with video production services

When speaking with dozens of business and nonprofit leaders about their experiences with video production, three main issues come up again and again.
1
Quality:
How can I produce a video of great quality?
This is the first thing that always comes up: films have to look good. They need to be professional and authentic and represent our clients appropriately. But where to find the team that can deliver?
2
Expense:
Where do I find someone who can work within my budget?
Commercial production is very expensive, running in the tens of thousands of dollars per minute produced and often taking months. Our clients are looking for alternatives to deliver greater impact within their budget and their timeline.
3
Results:
How do I inspire action with my short films?
With all the effort that goes into production, what’s the best way to get videos out into the world and ensure that the largest possible audience sees them? How can we avoid our film disappearing with just a handful of views on YouTube?

How could you become a regular publisher of short films?

In order to create micro-documentaries on an ongoing basis, you need to produce them in a way that is authentic, affordable and actionable.

Authentic
By applying a documentary methodology (rather than the usual commercial methodology), we are able to produce work that is of high aesthetic quality and authenticity. Uncontrived humanity comes through the voices of real people captured in a journalistic way, telling their stories of transformational journeys that are core to your mission.
Affordable
As documentary filmmakers we rarely work with actors or use scripts or storyboards. We like solo productions and love to use the sun as a natural light source. The result? Higher quality production with lower cost and less time demanded of our busy clients. Our Travelpool Program allows clients to save even more by sharing travel costs with other clients.
Actionable
As much as we love beautiful films, what draws us most to this medium is helping clients effect change through their social and environmental missions. This is why we focus on purposeful businesses and nonprofits. The films we produce include calls-to-action and lessons from the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab so that inspiration is triggered into action every time.

A proven process for creating short films that make a difference

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Having produced thousands of films around the world, we have had the opportunity to go through many iterations of our process to make your films more authentic, affordable and actionable. For us this is an ongoing practice of innovating in order to help you advance your missions more successfully.
Unlike traditional video production services, we specialize in serving social innovators with regular filmmaking needs but often limited resources. For this reason, being streamlined and efficient is of high importance. Our process is designed to ensure clear alignment on project objectives with you and clear direction for our filmmaking team, while leaving just enough space for spontaneity and the unexpected gem we might uncover.

Strategic session:

As much as we love our craft of filmmaking, our highest commitment is to help you move your mission forward. Before starting production, the team walks you through a strategic planning session to gain clarity on your audience and the film’s objectives. From there we collaborate to uncover the most effective storyline to support those goals and the best distribution strategies to get the film seen.

Pre-production:

Instead of painstakingly wordsmithing a script that can take weeks to review, our team takes a more journalistic approach. We develop a narrative arc for the story along with a series of interview guidelines the filmmaker will use to guide the featured person through filming. You then review and provide feedback on the narrative arc and interview questions. With a concise pre-production document in hand, we have clear alignment between the client, the filmmaker, the editor and the post-production and distribution teams, and we are ready to film.

Filming:

Generally a single one of our documentary filmmakers arrives on site with the equipment in his or her backpack and films for a few hours, capturing the featured person and the work to be highlighted. When appropriate and possible, we prefer to film during the golden light of early morning or evening to add lovely (and affordable!) natural light to the scene. Unlike the typical set of video production companies, we will have no lighting, makeup, storyboards, sound or catering personnel.

Editing:

The filmmaker sends footage to our editing and music team, which brings the story to life out of the best footage in order to accomplish the film’s goal and narrative arc. The team adds appropriate music to support the mood of the story, mixes sound and adds graphic elements. A couple of rounds of reviews enable the client to provide feedback and collaborate in the final cut of the short film.

Delivery and distribution:

Post and pray is not the way. If your films are going to have an impact they need to be seen. For this reason, at Micro-Documentaries we have put together a distribution program to help you extend the reach, viewership and recognition of your films.
It’s no surprise that social innovators who experience the best results with their films are as committed to distribution as they are about production. Instead of our job ending with the production of a compelling film, like would be the case with typical video production services we are committed to supporting you with distribution.
If your team can handle distribution internally, we will deliver your film to you along with our detailed distribution and search engine optimization (SEO) guides that share the most effective ways to post, title, describe, and distribute your films.
If you prefer our more active involvement, we can help develop the strategy and then execute on the distribution plan from targeting blogger and media channels, to preparing and making film festival submissions to sharing the film through paid channels.


Be selective when choosing to work with us

If you are pursuing an inspiring mission, we’re confident we would love to work with you. But like any approach, ours is not for everyone. We are likely not set up for success if:
You don’t want to be involved.
Our streamlined process makes it sustainable for you to work with us month after month. However, you have the stories, the access and the insight, so a collaboration with you, especially at key strategic points, makes for a more efficient and successful outcome.
You’re looking for a commercial
We could give it our best shot, but we are not the best team for this sort of work. We don’t have much experience working with actors. Our background is in documentary filmmaking—telling real stories of real people in a fashion more editorial than promotional.
Money is no obstacle
We are happy to work with large budgets and often do by producing dozens of films at a time. However, our process is designed for clients, even large ones, who are cost-sensitive. If you want big film crews and lots of expensive production sizzle, it’s best to look elsewhere.

Right for you?

See what others had to say. If our approach sounds like the right fit for you, let’s talk.

Thank you Micro-Documentaries for a job well done! We especially liked the clear communication from your team which helped us stay on track throughout the entire process.

Vice President, Wells Fargo 

A smart production team, a great interview process during filming, seamless editing, and great follow-up getting to the finished product, made working with Micro-Documentaries a really faulous experience. If you want a professional, very well executed, and brief story told, you should talk to Micro-Documentaries.

Vice President, Organizational Learning and Innovation, KnowledgeWorks