speak to the heart to move the mind
If you're a filmmaker and want to learn our process:
We believe that story is based on 4 P's: People, Places, Plot, and Purpose.
The 'P' you put first, or prioritize, determines the type of story you'll end up telling.
Lead with Plot and you have an action movie. Lead with Purpose and you have a commercial. But when you lead with People, we have the potential for an emotional, character-driven story.
We believe that you need to let the story move you, before you try and move the story. And so we start with listening. To the people, places, plot, and purpose that exist within any story.
This is why we feel that the best storytellers are the best listeners - they see and hear what others don't and allow the story to come to them.
As we start in discovery, we are listening for that perfect character to be the heart of the story. The person whom you'd run home and tell all of your friends about. Somebody who can carry the story through their great complexity, uniqueness, and desire.
The perfect heart will draw us in with their uniqueness, they'll make us fall in love with their desire, and they will hold us throughout the story with their complexity. This character gives the audience somebody to connect with, to cheer for, and to go on a journey with. And as we follow them on their journey, we can bring the viewer to the purpose, we can allow the viewer to come to the same conclusions - for themselves - that we have. This is what it means to speak to the heart in order to move the mind.
We love to get on the ground first-hand. Experiencing the product or service, walking the factory floor, and talking to people who all offer a different perspective.
For stories with a much wider possibility for that potential heart, we'll develop casting questionnaires to ensure we've scoured the earth for that perfect person to tell the story.
Through online research, in-person discovery, and additional reading, our first milestone is the development of 5 keywords.
These keywords represent what we want this to express, what we want the viewer to do, how we want them to feel, and what they should be left with. They act as a lens to filter all of our decisions.
An an example, for our film #standwithme, we came to these keywords;
Once we've agreed on the keywords, we then look to develop the other 3 'P's. We'll choose the heart of the story, as well as secondary characters. We'll plan out all of the places we'll need to go to illuminate the heart of the story. And we'll develop a strong plot - a structure - so that the story can hook the viewers, hold them deeply within its grasps until the very last frame.
Our next milestone is our recommendation for the heart of the story, complete with characters bios, as well as storyboards that make the storyline and places very tangible.
A remarkable story is written well before the cameras roll. For us, this comes from our passion for listening, for finding the heart of the story, and in our drive to make every story we tell, the best story we've ever told.
MUSE is a process we've developed over our 10+ years of telling stories, big and small. It's been taught around the world to thousands of filmmakers in the hopes of helping them tell stronger stories and be more intentional in their filmmaking. It was used extensively throughout the making of our first feature-length documentary #standwithme.
If you connect with our process and who we are, we'd love to hear from you.
There is a reason the record button is red. It is an opportunity to pause and make sure of your aim before you roll.