30 Jan 2023

Telling a story with film


One of the great arts of film is telling a story. Whether you’re after a more fact based documentary or an emotional rollercoaster, one thing all good film production companies should be able to do is take your requirements and turn them into a compelling story that connects. 

So in National Storytelling Week we ask ‘how do you tell a story with film?’


Keep it simple

Your film doesn’t have to be an epic saga with plot twists and complex characterisation. The stories that stick in our hearts and minds for life are those that are simple, whether it’s the classic boy meets girl, hero’s journey, or even a day in the life. Most corporate films or charity films are only a few minutes long, so you don’t have time to get lots of ideas involved. Pick one key message, and make sure everything you do is about delivering that. 


Make us care

People buy people. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have expert live actors in your film. But portraying the impact that your organisation has on people, either through effective narration, great characterisation, client testimonials, means that people can engage with it on a human level.


Use props

A great way to create a story is to use props that act as subtle contextual cues. So your main character is a big reader? Have a few books in their living room. You’re showing the impact of the cost of living and heating crisis on beneficiaries – cold breath when they breathe visualises that. You’re talking about climate change – maybe the television weather can show flash floods. It’s the little things.


Include motion

It’s really important that people feel like they are moving. With the Control Risks film we shot people walking around the cities they live and work in. It made the idea that this is a dynamic and exciting company doing great things seem more real and compelling. No one wants a static person sat on a chair, so think about how you can incorporate small movements into your movie. 


Know your why

The best films are those that have a purpose. You can have all the great technical skills, equipment and cinematography you like, but unless you have a reason for making it, it will fall flat. Ask yourself why you’re making this film, and communicate that with your film production company. If they know your vision, they can get it across.