The methodology workshop is an unparalleled, transparent look at the guts of MediaStorm and its own origin story masterfully debunked. You get to hang out with a tribe of folks who unapologetically believe in the power and value of a great story, and spend the week validating it—a sort of strange and empowering group therapy for visual journalists in some sense, greatly enriched by the diversity of cherry-picked participants. Brian manages to live somewhere in the crack between right and left brains, balancing creative drive and passion with a levelheadedness and business savvy that is rare in this industry. I came looking for new ways to empower organizations and influencers working for the common good by providing innovative strategies and a practical sphere for implementing authentic, high-impact storytelling that goes beyond raising awareness to spur action. I left with a mandate to collaborate with the best of the best (who wants to play?..!), clarity around my own mission and a keener eye for the tiny, simple essence of things that instantly connects us all.
I highly recommend MediaStorm’s methodology course. I found it an enlightening and detailed week of study that revealed many new business and storytelling insights to me. The consistent focus on excellence from all of the presenters and staff at MediaStorm is infectious and inspiring. At the end of the week I had many new ideas about how to change and improve my business.
Susan Fogg / Interactive Producer, International Mission Board
The workshop inspired me to want to create change in how we produce videos and slideshows. It also was a great audio refresher. Just spending time looking at various projects, dissecting them and talking through the creative decisions, was very thought-provoking. I was reminded of what makes a great story and learned new storytelling techniques. The presentation about the business and project model was also beneficial.
The Methodology Workshop is a transparent look at the inner-workings of MediaStorm. The company’s openness is what makes this workshop special. Conversations range from specific issues on unreleased-films to broad concepts at the leading edge of our industry. Successful workshops are not just about information but also about inspiration. I left Methodology energized and excited about the future of visual storytelling.
Evan Papp / Program Manager, Outreach & Public Affairs, USAID
Brian Storm and his team are passionate about telling stories that give voice and meaning to the most important issues of our time. From the beginning of the training to the happy hour at the end, MediaStorm opened up its unique and successful business model that showcased the creative process of making evocative and compelling narratives. MediaStorm’s Methodology Workshop provides a blueprint to get the most out of technique, technology and your team in order to achieve your objectives. If your organization wants to strengthen its culture of storytelling while also further professionalizing your team of communicators, MediaStorm will move you closer to your goals.
After being ” brought up” in traditional television and never really feeling that working with short formats and deadlines was my calling, I’m just so much more determined to try something else with what I do, tell stories different and tell different stories, and hopefully make a greater impact with the people watching.
Usually I tend to have bit of a hard time staying awake during a ”sit down and listen” class, but I guess it all depends on who’s talking, because at no point was what was said uninteresting!! It’s been a long time since I’ve felt I got so much useful information in such a short period of time.
From hearing about Brian’s visions as a person and as head of the company, to complicated workflows, an innovative media player, your take on how to use social media, and listening to your wizard Joe telling about how he did his graphic magic was inspiring!!
I feel like you all helped steering me the right direction!
Karen Løth Sass / Journalism Lecturer and Supervisor, University of Southern Denmark
I really enjoyed hearing about all the details of MediaStorm's method of production. I got a lot of useful tips that I plan to pass on to my students. I'm redesigning the semester, and really want it to be a mix of both radio and visual storytelling, and in that sense the workshop was very giving. Brian Storm is a very clear and structured teacher, and I think that we all needed to hear his optimism on the future for broadcasting these kind of stories.
The week in DUMBO connected the dots for me in my quest to get my stories out there. Brian and his crew have boiled years of research and experience down to a handy tool kit for us to take back home. Just add courage. I always wanted to turn my stories into film, it just seemed like too big a mouthful. But not anymore. For me, meeting the crew at MediaStorm was a kick in the butt to finally put storytelling and great images first in my work.
When Brian took us through MediaStorm's productions, explaining the work process and their choices, many things fell into place for me. In my own work, I try to balance gravity and humor, and I prefer letting whatever turns up in the process define the heartbeat of the story. When Brian took us through the stories Amazing Amy and Take Care: the choice of characters, the tightness in Amazing Amy, the colors in Take Care … and the dog! … Wow. That was when I thought, "This platform is what I am looking for, this is where my disciplines can come together. I can do it."
I left DUMBO feeling inspired and optimistic. I'm already having meetings with clients and people in my network on how to use storytelling for multimedia. But most importantly, I am taking out time to work on my own projects. The ones without deadlines.
I'm keeping a close eye on my new friends in MediaStorm, they know what they're talking about.
I first met Brian Storm in 2012 at a conference in Denmark for journalist and photographers. I had never heard about MediaStorm before. I was sold. And now exactly one year later I have joined the Methodology Workshop in Brooklyn. Lucky me!
When you start your own company you can easily end up finding yourself doing something that you really don’t want to do. For the money, for the prestige, for a lot of reasons that really have nothing to do with great storytelling. A week with Brian Storm and his very skilled staff got me back on my old track – only get involved with your heart – only get involved in stories that matter. That makes the best stories. And don’t think you can do everything yourself – hook up with the very skilled people you know. Share knowledge. Share tips and tricks and you will be a happier – and a better storyteller.
In my company NosyKat, I have already used MediaStorm as an inspirational platform for my newest client work. It helped me a lot. It got the contract. And in 2014 I will produce 20 films for the web using stills, sound, video and great motion graphics just like MediaStorm.
I highly recommend this workshop – one of the top 3 I have ever joined in my 20 years as a professional storyteller.
When I was doing the Video Playground workshop this summer all the guest speakers were talking about MediaStorm as the rockstars of the media world. So when Søren Skarby and I shortly after saw there was a course at MediaStorm we had to go. I was not disappointed. Many of the technical and storytelling techniques are already part of my DNA since I have been working in broadcast news and television for many years. Always good to have a brush up though.
Where I really got a lot of eyeopeners was in the business field where I think there are a lot of Brian’s ideas I can take back to Denmark, though the media landscape is very different from the one in the US. In times where it´s almost impossible to get the media to pay for quality journalism it´s always good to see new ways to finance what we really want. Further it´s always a feast watching top class journalism in any field.
Morten Runge / Radio Journalist, Danish Broadcasting Corporation
When I sat down Monday morning at the methodology workshop at MediaStorm, I felt that Brian and his team were operating against all odds: We had just arrived in sunny New York. November had deprived the city of its regular hordes of tourists and the swift glimpses of the charming streets of Dumbo, Brooklyn begged us for further investigation. Besides, the room devoted to the seance had no windows, almost no air and way too many people. How could this become a successful week?
As I am writing this, I still don't know exactly when I lost track of time and place and just plunged into MediaStorm's well orchestrated week, but I reckon it must have been within the first few minutes.
Brian Storm, Eric Maierson, Tim McLaughlin and the rest of the astonishingly devoted team just never looked back and kept me focused for five straight days. I had heard some of the stories before, but that just made them even more enchanting. And when Brian's teaching came to an end, his staff took over, one more sophisticated and sympathetic than the other.
I learned a lot, most of it plug-and-play ready to take back and put into my own multimedia projects. That is, of course, after I have convinced my boss that it's worth the money. Or maybe I'll stick to Brian's advice in this regard - don't ask for time, just do it. Give them the first projects for free and they will come back for more.
Jon Rytter / Instructor and Journalist, Jon Rytter Film & TV
In a way, the MediaStorm Methodology Workshop, for me, was a fantastic three button CTRL-ALT-DELETE reboot. In all the noise and urge for speed and more output it’s easy to forget what it´s all about and why I worked all my life in audio and video storytelling. It’s all about concentrating on doing universal and durable stories and the MediaStorm workshop showed me that it’s important (again) to focus on the core storytelling. The enthusiastic and inspiring staff got me back on track. Back to my radio and TV roots. Thank you to all at MediaStorm and to Brian Storm in particular for a revitalizing kick in the butt.
”The Methodology Workshop at MediaStorm was a eyeopener for me as a still photographer. I realized how important sound really is if you want to tell the stories that affect people. I came home with new important tips and tricks for my toolbox. It was helpful for me to find my roots of storytelling, and why I became a photographer in the first place. I highly recommend this workshop to anyone who is in the media industry, if they want to survive in the media-war, where quality is significant.
Kristian Strøbech / Associate Professor of New Media Studies, Danish School of Media and Journalism
It is the rarest thing to meet someone who understands our industry and it's place in the digital age on such a deep level as Brian Storm does. Even rarer to meet someone at his level who is also unreservedly willing to share every bit of knowledge, tradecraft and experience carved out of a remarkable and still evolving career.
The workshop is packed with important knowledge of the kind that translates into action and collaboration, bringing us all forward.
Almost needless to say that Brian and his whole team apply the same uncompromising approach to teaching and workshopping as to master storytelling. If there was an Emmy or a Pulitzer in the teaching category, I would nominate them all without hesitation. If you get the opportunity, apply for this workshop.
First and foremost, the Methodology Workshop has been an enormous inspiration for me. The way Brian Storm and his crew openly shared their experience, values, techniques and thoughts, left me with a lot of new knowledge and useful tools for my future work. Our group was small in size, but huge in experience and variety of background, and our discussions really opened up a lot of new perspectives and ideas. The week in DUMBO left me with a better understanding of the powerful impact of storytelling, new ideas about how to make my stories better and the inspiration and energy to carry it through. Thank you!
MediaStorm's workshop exceeded my every expectation. I learned everything I needed to know to take my storytelling in advocacy media to the next level. The team is stellar, their films incredibly moving and they opened the kimono and shared everything they do and how they do it. My cohort was an international set of peers doing important storytelling work in the business and NGO sectors. Sign up for this workshop now before Brian realizes he's giving away the secret sauce!
A week at MediaStorm is a plunge into whitewater. You're navigating the core and craft of authentic storytelling. It's exhilarating. And you can bust your ass. But between the expertise and experience of the MediaStorm staff and the workshop participants, you should be able to handle most anything thrown at you.
That's important because this workshop isn't for the timid. You're dealing with people's lives---not "reality TV". Ethical treatment of subject and audience connects every session. Our most passionate and informed debates this week were about how to be true to a story while being fair to the subject and not deceiving the audience. That's hard, which is why a lot of media organizations don't do it.
But through MediaStorm's example, you'll learn that authenticity isn't just good storytelling. It's good business. I'm grateful to witness MediaStorm's success and be able to participate in such a worthwhile challenge.
Dolphine Emali / Training Coordinator, Health Media Project, Internews, Kenya
I dreamt of sitting in that class for a long time and when the moment arrived it was better than I imagined it to be. A week at MediaStorm’s Methodology Workshop is like a pilgrimage to ‘great storytelling world’. You hang out with people who believe in the value of a great story. Also important is that Brian and his team share their hard earned skills. The team took us through their experiences with different issues, how and why they made decisions that they did. Decisions during pre-production, production and post production of stories. They held nothing back. The discussions around ethical issues that we all face when working on different stories were also very enlightening.
I learned that the secret to MediaStorm’s success isn’t only in telling gripping stories but also, stories that have impact. It’s their quest, it’s ours too and we spent the week analyzing this. They have a neat process that guarantees you a polished product. I left MediaStorm with many tools from the process to share with my trainees and my colleagues.
I am a strong believer of compelling storytelling but I left the workshop grounded in my belief. Thank you team MediaStorm, it was worth the while and miles.
Kenny Irby / Director of Community Relations & Diversity Programs, Poynter
My week in DUMBO, Brooklyn attending the MediaStorm methodology workshop was a refreshing exploration of authentic storytelling through a new lens. The course was greatly enriched by the diverse group of life-long-learners from six countries-- each adding as much to the workshop as they absorbed.
Not enough can be said about Brian and his colleagues for masterfully deconstructing their mission, vision and enterprise strategies with diligent simplicity, consistent passion and dedicated skill.
The teacher in me applauds MediaStorm’s commitment to documenting relevant untold stories that are wildly neglected by the mainstream. Giving voice to the voiceless and shining light in dark places continue to establish the time honored foundation of compelling storytelling.
And the visual journalist in me is all the more inspired after a week of witnessing such dedication to excellence, engagement and entrepreneurship. Thanks for allowing us to visualize some of the innovative possibilities present at the intersection of journalism and evolving technology.
During an intense week, Brian and his team opened up their world for us, and it was a riveting experience. The balance between cutting-edge technical know-how, 'this is why we do what we do' and 'this is what we are still trying to figure out' was well thought out and highly instructive. I also tremendously enjoyed getting to know my impressive fellow participants. All of them brought their own unique perspective to the table, and our group discussions were lively and thought-provoking.
As visual journalists we are all grappling with the same issues, and I walked away from the workshop with a better understanding of what it will take for us to succeed.
With a background of wide ranging experience of participants, the room was filled with palpable enthusiasm. People came from all over the world to witness the exciting ideas about storytelling that MediaStorm so masterly presents. As an educator, I found the workshop particularly helpful in facilitating a better curriculum and a methodology of identifying the tools and resources inherent and sometimes hidden in the layers of a multi-media story, allowing one to experience the power of interpretation as an act of reporting.
Dana Schiopu / Senior Media Officer, International Monetary Fund
One week of pure storytelling, pure multimedia, pure passion. The MediaStorm methodology workshop is definitely a life changing experience for any media professional. Brian and his amazing team revealed all the secrets of some of the most compelling storytelling multimedia communication I have seen so far. Even on the driest of subjects, MediaStorm builds a unique character driven emotional story. This workshop will definitely have a strong impact on all my future work and approach to multimedia.
After spending 5 immersive days in digital storytelling with MediaStorm I have many takeaways that will impact my storytelling going forward. Brian and his staff opened up their box and showed us how they work, tell stories and use today's media. They left nothing unturned. We learned from them and from one another. It was a superb workshop and one that I hope to benefit from for years to come!
Thanks again Brian and team for bearing your souls for the sake of better storytelling around the globe!
Patrick Wellever / Digital Media Training Coordinator, Knight Science Journalism at MIT
Over the course of an intensive week of instruction, screenings, and lively group discussion, Brian and his team dissected their business with extraordinary candor. The people at MediaStorm have built a reputation as world-class storytellers by embracing new methods and technologies while refusing to compromise on core values of ethics and narrative journalism.
This in-depth look at the MediaStorm approach will inspire my own efforts to advance a training program in digital media that encompasses fundamental principles of visual storytelling as well as technical instruction.
This workshop felt like an amazing gift, in every possible way much more than what I had hoped and expected.
It’s hard to tell in a few lines how energizing it is to have a first-hand experience of working with you guys, because the passion, the values, the enthusiasm that you convey in your “open lessons” are truly hard to find.
I loved the way the workshop has been specifically tailored to the needs of the participants, not just giving each of us the space and the time to ask in detail all our questions but also giving us practical suggestions and tips for our different roles and jobs.
Also, meeting all of you, each with a specific expertise and perspective, has been extremely precious; the amount of information, tools, and practical “hands on” expertise that this workshop offers is mindblowing, the equivalent of a University Master’s advanced learning with the extra bonus of a super relaxed, friendly and very familiar environment.
I had fun. I learned a lot. I felt moved, challenged, questioned, excited, overwhelmed by the amount of work I still have to do, hopeful, eager to learn more.
Most of all, I think I found what I was looking for; I looked back at the real meaning of my job, and found out that real quality, commitment and ethic are REALLY all we need to keep being inspired and to inspire others.
A warm and big thank you, with the hope to see you soon again.
Methodology Workshop doesn’t seem like the right title for this workshop. Maybe something more like, MediaStorm – the Big View. Brian lays out the arc of MediaStorm: the start up, growth, and their considerably large ambitions. If you are thinking of starting a media company, there’s plenty to learn from MediaStorm’s trajectory.
The greatest part of this workshop is that there is no central project driving the week. That means there is time for everything else. That includes looking at MediaStorm stories, listening to Brian break them down, decision by decision. Seeing rough cuts of stories in progress and listening to the MediaStorm team critiquing themselves. Both were very useful.
Brian hammered home some of the basics of the MediaStorm experience. For example:1. It’s not enough to take a picture. You need to give your subjects a voice. 2. The only path is quality. 3. You can’t do this alone. Collaboration is the heart of the game. 4. Every shooting decision in the field is intentional. Every edit decision is intentional. The list goes on.
I am taking home other lessons, that perhaps were not so explicitly laid out, lessons which are extremely valuable. One example would be shooting in sequences. Not just shooting the conventional four cinematic shots (wide, medium, close up and extreme close up) from each camera position. But shooting for continuity, shooting to guide the viewer’s eye from shot to shot and through the scene.
I think there is still a lot of room for this workshop to grow and customize itself to the particular concerns of the group of participants. One version for people wanting to start a relatively large and sophisticated company, a different version for people who are shooters and want to get better at storytelling and see themselves working in a more modest framework, and so forth.
As a hands on shooter and producer, I would have liked more time talking with Rick Gershon about shooting, more time with Eric Maierson in the edit suite talking about story structure and workflow (both were terrific).
All in all, the week at MediaStorm offers more than enough to think about and learn from in the months ahead. I feel very fortunate for this experience.
I went to the the MediaStorm Methodology Workshop trying to learn from the best. After spending five days with Brian and his staff, I received great knowledge that supported them making inspirational stories. Thank you and your staff for a fabulous experience. I really enjoyed every bit of it.
How often do you hear a student say, “This class is amazing! I learned so much today, and there’s still X number of days left.” Yes, I was mumbling these words as I left the MediaStorm office after the first day of the Methodology Workshop. This 5-day class would cover a wealth of information that would supply me with an arsenal of new skills, ideas for new stories, and procedures to inspire my students while helping to grow strong, entrepreneurial-minded storytellers. Brian Storm’s plan was to dissect his business and explain all of the different moving parts, with surprising transparency that help make this one-of-a-kind production company work, and thrive. And he did. After the first day I was so inspired and charged my brain was spinning with new ideas and thoughts of how I would translate this new information to the AAU documentary photography track.
I originally attended this workshop with the goal of learning how to better organize and manage a multimedia storytelling program, and further develop AAU’s curriculum in the documentary track. I left with so much more:
1. A deeper knowledge of storytelling that would change the very fabric of how, and what I teach my students.
2. Understanding the value of building a strong team who share the same goals and passions as it relates to teaching and the visual storytelling ecosystem.
3. The importance of collaboration across multiple platforms and departments, and finally,
4. Reassurance knowing that a number of my current practices in the classroom are in-line with MediaStorm’s.
Across 5-days I was given a new view on building and optimizing a perfect work flow, the different skill sets involved in telling a strong, effective story. I was introduced to the world of interactive graphics, distribution models (how to get your work seen,) and how to utilize social media to tell stories. Finally, Brian broke down the MediaStorm business model. We discussed different funding methods, how much time and money is really involved in the production of a story, and finally the art of collaboration from bringing teams of people together to multiple departments to tell your subject’s story in a way that is effective on many levels.
Brian Storm exclusively taught the workshop. Each topic that was covered daily, Brian had a member from his team come in and lecture about what they do, and how they do it at MediaStorm, followed by Q&A sessions. We heard from the operations & social media manager, the programmer, developer, editors & producers, and business development. This was very refreshing and inspiring to hear from this tight knit group of people who feel so passionately about what they do each day to help produce amazing pieces of reportage covering such important topics.
I was very pleased and fortunate to attend the December 2012 workshop with MediaStorm. It had been a dream for a long time - but unfortunately the dates (there’s only three of these workshops annually) had been inconvenient until now.
My daily work consists of photography, video, editing, multimedia, teaching and consulting... and I felt I needed somehow a broad overview of what is essential and what is not. Not to learn the verticals - but to focus on the bigger picture. And I think MediaStorm has made a right choice in NOT teaching multimedia 101 but focus on the higher end and on the methodology/production side of multimedia.
I had two things in my mind prior to coming to New York: First, I wanted to learn from the best of the best in multimedia business which are the core elements needed in multimedia, how to learn and teach them. How to apply that knowledge to curriculum design for a university (under- and post grad.)
Secondly, I wanted to learn as much as possible I could in this brief time to take back home to my own team - to take our competence and efforts to the next level. Especially how to create organizational structure which would be stimulating and focus on qualtity. Be financially viable. So that we could finally start talking about professional multimedia production also in Finland (or “North Pole”, as I usually refer to it).
And I got just that - and then some more. A lot more. For five days I don’t think there was a moment when I was not concentrating. Eight hours a day, brief breaks to eat and get a quick coffee in between. 100% focused all the time. Really, really intensive. Lectures, seeing/evaluating/breaking part multimedia pieces, talking with the team, etc.
What really impressed me was the ethos/dedication/commitment of the whole team to this high quality storytelling and the work MediaStorm does. Not one detail was too small that it would not be discussed at length if needed. I understand perfectly what Brian means when he says that the story should be made so good that you just cannot make it any better. The whole team seems to live by that principle. Which at least partly explains the outstanding quality coming out of MediaStorm.
Our group was small (four) and thus our conversations got really interesting and intense. I don’t think there has been period in my professional life I can say I have learned as much in such a short time as I did during our week together. My sincerest thanks to everybody for making it happen.
Neil Osborne / Conservation Photographer + Multimedia Storyteller + EVC Director
Brian Storm: “You’re either in the tribe, or not in the tribe.”
Neil Ever Osborne: “In just a week with Brian Storm and the creative talent surrounding him, you feel like you have become part of their team, and gained a decade’s worth of knowledge in doing so.”
Brian Storm: “Our mission is to share those relatable elements that bind us all together – the human condition.”
NEO: “I’ve always known about MediaStorm’s projects, now I know what makes them tick.”
From Danny Wilcox Frazier’s Driftless documentary work: “Starving to death on an empty stomach”
NEO: “You leave the MediaStorm Methodology Workshop knowing characters are part of every story, but you learn it is their voices that really matter.” – NEO
Brian Storm: “You don’t really understand something until you teach it.”
NEO: “I think this statement should replace the misconception that those that can’t do, teach. In sharing their wisdom, I think the MediaStorm crew really hone their craft.”
Eric Maierson: “Omission is the act of creation.”
NEO: “After this week, I will approach editing from a completely different perspective.”
Rick Gershon: “You switch into athlete mode, playing the game.”
NEO: “As a past athlete myself, I can relate to Rick’s professional approach. He’s so practiced with the gear, he can focus more on the moments in front of him, and you see evidence of this in his documentary filmmaking.”
Brian Storm: “Build the ecosystem and make non-perishable stories.”
NEO: “Every character, every storyline, every issue matters. As storytellers, it is our collective efforts that scale our impact over time.”
Eric Maierson: “Finding the good stuff, i.e. information curation.”
NEO: “Just when you think you have all the neat and snazzy applications on your desktop, you spend an hour with Eric Maierson and your virtual world explodes; e.g. Alfred.”
Joe Fuller describing one of his animation ideas: “Swoosh, bang, zip, squeal.....”
NEO: “Look up the word onomatopoeia and you’ll understand the amazing Joe Fuller even more. Only he can describe in words how his animations come to be”.
Rick Gershon: “Our greatest luxury is time”
NEO: “I learned I need to take more time with my stories.”
It’s not news that journalism is at a crossroads. And if you’re a journalist, a manager of journalists or a teacher of aspiring journalists, odds are that you’re at a crossroads too, wondering what you need to do to equip yourself, your team or your students with the skills needed to travel the uncertain road ahead of us all. You may also be wondering how you can manage to take a week out of your packed schedule for a training program.
I asked myself the same questions. But after having spent a week with Brian Storm and the MediaStorm team, I have no doubt of the value of the five days I spent in Brooklyn.
• My passion for storytelling was renewed. Being immersed in MediaStorm’s work is inspiring—but deconstructing how they do what they do with Brian and his team reinforced what I do well in my own work, challenged me to improve in areas that aren’t my strengths, and gave me insights into a collaborative approach to storytelling that I am certain will transform my own work, as a journalist, an editor and a journalism professor.
• I came away with practical advice and plans, right down to workflow, step-by-step processes and practical strategies for creating stories efficiently and effectively. I’m a word person first—but understanding how the MediaStorm team works with multimedia elements is already changing the way I organize myself to tackle a print story, and will certainly make tackling multimedia projects more feasible.
• I got to sit in a room for a week with a whole bunch of incredibly smart and talented people. Never underestimate the value of letting your brain rub and spark against the grey matter of smart people. I’m pretty sure my IQ improved.
Like the other participants, I filled a notebook with quotes, insights and strategies. But most exciting of all were the plans those notes sparked. By Day 2, I was making margin notes on projects, changes to course plans, potential collaborators—and I know I will be mining those insights and developing those plans in the days and weeks ahead.
My week with Brian and the MediaStorm team didn’t give me a roadmap to the future of journalism. But it did recalibrate my compass, equip me with a backpack full of intellectual supplies, and introduce me to some incredible traveling companions—all of which makes this crossroads we’re facing seem exciting rather than daunting.
Yes, the Kool-Aid here is mighty refreshing. You should definitely enroll.
Phyllis Jensen / Director of Photography and Video, Bates College Communications Office
A week with Brian Storm and his media priests transformed a mere fan into an acolyte. So here I am back at work, mere days out of the methodology experience, talking MediaStorm essentials to anyone who will listen. And I’m beginning to link five days of immersion to the coming year’s storytelling challenges. Brian’s personal vision, coupled with the diversity of his talented staff and focused workshop participants, yielded an unforgettable experience. Thank you for the tribal welcome.
Nico Lypitkas / Independent FilmmakerLecturer at Zurich University of the ArtsOnline Entrepreneur
I came to the the MediaStorm Methodology Workshop looking to refine my skills as a storyteller and as a lecturer. What I received from Brian and his staff was great inspiration and highly compressed knowledge in audiovisual storytelling - combined with a unique commitment to quality and entrepreneurship. Together with the extraordinary spirit of collaboration, this workshop remains an indispensably and precious experience for me.
The knowledge I received when attending the MediaStorm Methodology workshop crept up on me. At first, it seemed simple. It stretched the range of ability from students who knew very little about multimedia to some with years of experience-- yet all were equally shook by the sheer mass of information given. I took it all in and when I got home, the knowledge slowly wrapped itself around the base of my workflow, and style, and squeezed it. From that point on, every time I go to make that shot, cut that footage, talk to that client, etc, there is a voice in the back of my head telling me how to do things better, more efficiently and with more meaning.
That is the best type of knowledge. Knowledge that sticks with you, grows with and becomes a part of how you do everything. It is larger and more encompassing than the sum of its parts and I am sure I will be hearing that voice for years to come.
The MediaStorm methodology workshop is all about high-quality storytelling. I already had a certain level of proficiency with audio, video, still images and putting it together into a multimedia story. This workshop showed me how to take those skills to a higher level. I teach at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the students will benefit from what I have learned. It will help them produce multimedia stories that will get them jobs; it also will help them become entrepreneurial photojournalists, who will know how to self-publish.
Brian Storm is brilliant and so is his staff. Together, they provided all the workshop participants with terrific information from leading with sound to developing a character, from connecting with an audience to developing a company, from story project specifics to workshops and training, from post production to editing by subtraction to client models and much more. But most importantly, as Storm says, it’s ultimately about how to be great every day. Anyone wanting to take his or her multimedia storytelling production to a higher level needs to attend this workshop.
Carol Barnwell / Editor and Communication Director, Episcopal Diocese of Texas
We are all a people of story. Effectively recognizing and telling stories is critical to any profession, communicating history, dreams for the future. A week of methodology with Brian and his remarkable team has given me additional focus and renewed energy to improve how we share story across all platforms. MediaStorm's comprehensive, week-long Methodology workshop generated new ideas for future work and has inspired me to go deeper with our work in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Thank you all so much!
Again thanks so much for a wonderful workshop! I've been producing multimedia for NGOs for the past six years and your Methodology Workshop has given me fresh ideas that will certainly improve my storytelling and workflow. You and MediaStorm are truly an inspiration and gift for those of us involved in social documentary work. We are all watching with anticipation your pioneering move with pay-for-story and the ingenious Media Player.
Gina Gayle / Professor of Practice, University of Southern Mississippi
Being back in the classroom a full week and having had time to go over my notes and my week at MediaStorm allowed me to fully digest what I actually experienced.
When I was preparing for the workshop I am not sure I knew exactly what it was going to be like. I felt we would learn valuable information and get a look into how MedaStorm does the work that you do. There was no way that I could have imagined that you would literally open up and give us everything you did, so freely and graciously. I literally wrote in my notes the second day, that "he is giving us the keys to the kingdom…….this is his way of saving journalism." I am going to take those keys and pass them along to anyone who will use them wisely.
When I started teaching multimedia storytelling, I told my students that this is their chance to change journalism, re-create and mold it because there is so much possibility out there and people in the industry need and want direction. I am still on my MediaStorm Methodology Workshop High and it showed as I returned to my classes this week. As I told you, we use the MediaStorm projects as our homework, research and tutorials in my classes so the students were excited to see what I had brought back. My getting to go to this workshop was similar to a star studded event for them as well as for me. I will tell you this, when I came back to the classes I felt and saw an immediate shift in how I teach. My students also noticed it and are ready for the new journey. I know you wanted a quote from me but here are a few things from them: "It's nice to have a professor who is re-energized." "Teach me everything they taught you." and "Do they have a workshop for students, I want to go." They understand the importance of great storytelling and I am hoping some of them will go on to be just that.
Understanding the Methodology of how you work helps me to understand why you choose the projects you do, which in turn is allowing me to think about using multimedia storytelling across a multitude of businesses. I also teach Digital Storytelling for graduate Intergrated Marketing Communication students, who have said that thinking creatively or in a storytelling manner, makes them better at their advertising and PR campaigns. I have shared the MediaStorm site with them for reference and now it gives them a foundation to see what a project can be used for.
Another marvelous attribute of this workshop was being able to work, talk and brainstorm with my classmates for the week. I think we had such a diverse group that added to the ability to see how storytelling works across so many businesses and genres. As we all could feel our own minds ticking away we also got to see everyone's else's ideas manifest right there in the room. Each person in the workshop seemed to have the same awakenings and was excited to talk about the possibilities in their own line of work or even in their own country! That was amazing in itself. I have been wanting to come to a MediaStorm workshop for years however I feel this was the exact one I was meant to be in with the people I met during the week.
I think the most powerful and personal thing I will take away is how to use it for my personal projects. We talk "multimedia" and we think about it but now I have a firmer grasp on how to use it for projects and the wide reach that a great multimedia story can have. As still photographers, we were always relegated to a few images at most and now we can use multimedia to get exposure on platforms, websites or through business ventures that we were not privy to before. When I wrote you were giving us the keys to the kingdom I really meant it.
Thank you for all you do and showing us the way to do it.
I first became aware of this up-and-coming firm about 4 years ago, and was immediately impressed with the care and quality of their story telling and production values. Then I was able to finally attend a workshop this year...
The time spent at the Methodology Workshop introduced me to many interesting views, experiences, and practicalities of molding content into something not only fluid and fair, but emotiionally compelling.
Think beyond the normal A-Z steps of running a program, or company, or process - Add the firm conviction of sharing and collaborative work, and you get a more intimate and restrospective approach to any type of content you have the opportunity to work with.
After attending a variety of conferences and courses over the years... the buzz, or high wears off rather quickly. What's the difference here? It feels like a steady fire that is fueling my conviction to bring back a "voice" to the content that I am working with.
Thanks to everyone I met at the workshop, and thanks to everyone at MediaStorm - I enjoyed my time with you. You've got freaky mad skills and talent.
Joshua Smith / Vice President, International Guild of Visual Peacemakers
The Methodology Workshop will give you an intimate look into how Brian and his team have run this successful multimedia production company. They will walk you through every aspect of their business from pre-production, field reporting, licensing, through interactive application creation and multi-platform distribution. Brian discusses what it means to be a purpose-driven company rather than profit-driven, along with the challenge of striking a balance between feeding the soul and the pocketbook. The value of this workshop is not just in the information presented, but also in the relationships formed with the other amazing participants and staff. If you want to learn how to run a financially viable business, tell stories you feel need to be told, and connect with others that are passionate about storytelling, then you should attend this workshop.
Brian and his team took the needed time and had patience with a variety of backgrounds, expertise and personalities and yet we were able to feel as one connected class participating in an intensive learning workshop on his methodology for running MediaStorm. I can say that we were all stretched in the way we think about topics such as advocacy journalism and how multimedia can use the medium to promote change - global change - change that this world needs. And MediaStorm is cranking this change out - one story at a time.
Martin Zimper / Head of Cast/Audiovisual Media, Zurich University of the Arts
The Methodology Workshop shows all secrets behind MediaStorm's amazing multimedia projects. The whole team shares their experience and talks openly about right and wrong decisions they made. When I came back to my Zurich office I changed some steps in our multimedia training curriculum with a new emphasis on photojournalism. And I sent a member of my staff to the next MediaStorm Methodology Workshop - the money is a good investment. The most interesting part was to see the passion of the MediaStorm team and to become acquainted to Brian Storm—a sensitive American boy practicing humanity with multimedia tools and a master storyteller. He handles Aristotles story rules ("Poetics") perfectly in a multimedia world—even if he told me he should have listened to it better in school.
The Methodology workshop is a unique and rare opportunity to deep dive into the inner workings of a successful multimedia production company. In a simple and extremely generous way, Brian shares the most intimate details of how to run the business. To add even more value to this mix, a significant amount of time is dedicated to reviewing and dissecting the most powerful stories created by Brian and his team, from pre-production preparation, to in the field production practices, to the post-production learnings that make their pieces some of the best out there. I was blown away by the sophistication and excellence MediaStorm puts in their products and into the workshop. Worth every minute and every dollar invested!
This was a really inspiring meeting with skilled storytellers at the MediaStorm Methodology. As a long time television storyteller, this was frefreshing, and inspired me to challenge my own skills and goals I have for storytelling. MediaStorm makes high end multimedia productions with strong and engaging stories. I am very glad I had this opertunity. You meet and have a personal chat with the staff, and get to pick some of the best brains in the business. Thank you.
I applied to the MediaStorm Methodology Workshop because I had attended a one day workshop with Brian Storm where I was so riveted by the content I didn’t want to leave my seat: not for lunch, not for the end of the day, not for a single minute as long as he was willing to keep teaching.
The Methodology Workshop is a chance to learn what goes into the secret sauce that makes a MediaStorm multimedia project taste so damn good.
This workshop is a chance to not just peek behind the curtain and catch a glimpse at what makes the organization tick, but a chance to have the curtain torn down and observe the work under a microscope. You will learn both the operational and creative processes that support the creation of some of the best cinematic narrative projects produced today. And the material will be presented with warmth, humor and a genuine interest in turning the tables to learn what you think about how they do what they do.
Brian and his team don’t hold anything back. They teach. They share. They listen. And they invite, or rather they insist that you take their process, apply it in your own business or educational environment and improve upon it. They want you to succeed because they believe by doing so, it will make them better as an organization and it will improve the industry overall.
MediaStorm is not just a company at the forefront of multimedia production; they are a company that is investing in the future of an industry through their own work and through workshops such as this.
If my experience is any indication, you will learn more than you expect. Your opinions and perspectives will be valued at every stage of the workshop. And you will end the week wishing you could stay a lot longer.
It is difficult to emphasize how important the MediaStorm Methodology Workshop (MMW) in January 2011 has been to my development as a creator, scholar, educator who is interested in using narrative to teach and inform others about the importance of copyright and other legal topics.
MMW is at once exhausting and invigorating: for five consecutive days, all the participants shared, thought, and deliberated extensively about how best to sustainably produce and distribute important, compelling, and timeless multimedia packages. We did this eight hours each day, and often for another hour or two after each session. We critiqued video; we considered business models; we shared insights on techniques; we reviewed technology and gear.
If it seems like there are few public specifics about what a typical MMW will be like, you're probably correct. I don't think there can be a "typical" MMW, for two basic reasons. First, participants' experiences, goals, and talents will vary in each iteration. My session's participant group included mostly visual professional (i.e. photographers, videographers); in contrast, I deal mostly with audio. Yet, I never felt out of place or diminished. In fact, we spent a lot of the Workshop talking the importance of great sound and how to get it. Different Workshops may have a different vibe.
Second, almost all the participants and staff members talked about a variety of projects or business initiatives that were in development, and therefore not publicly available. Confidential and controversial issues were discussed. As a result, there is a sort of "What happens at MMW stays at MMW" aspect to these sessions. Still, I sensed an incredible amount of trust between MediaStorm personnel and my fellow participants; this trust allowed everyone to benefit.
MMW demands a lot of time and energy, both from participants and MediaStorm personnel. You must commit to being invested. But I believe these investments were well worth it. At the end, I thought everyone suspected this session could be one of the most important sessions of our respective careers.
If you have any interest in producing and distributing timeless multimedia works that will impact others, you owe it to yourself to attend MMW. I give the MediaStorm Methodology Workshop my strongest unqualified recommendation. The entire MediaStorm family and all my fellow participants were overwhelmingly candid, giving, genuine, talented and professional. For that, I thank them again and express my deepest gratitude.
I learned so much during the MediaStorm Methodology Workshop, January 2011, that it has taken me a good week to digest it all. Well worth the tuition fees and traveling over from Paris. Everything said was so relevant to my work as a freelance photographer. My only wish was that I knew it all earlier! Not only was it an excellent overview of the development of multimedia storytelling, past, present, and future, but also an inside view to how a top end multimedia company works. I enjoyed the break down of their stories, listening to the group's questions and answers, hearing from all the staff one by one as they explained their craft. Everybody had something to offer and it was offered freely. Clear thinking, clear presentation. A very personal atmosphere where creativity and exchange were encouraged...and obviously flourished. It's sure that I will stay in contact with MediaStorm and the seven other participants of the workshop. I feel lucky to have had this experience, to have met everybody that I did, simple as that.
Alan Hill / Associate Lecturer/Queensland College of Art
That MediaStorm offer a methodology workshop speaks volumes about their thoughtful, intelligent approach to storytelling, and having completed it, it's now easy to see why they are the undisputed leaders in this field. Their passion for the stories they tell comes from the heart, but their relentless pursuit of the best way to bring each story to life is driven by an intellectual process of reflection and refinement that is all to rare in the media today.
To know and understand your methodology so well that you are able to successfully teach it to others means you have broken down every aspect of the process you are engaged with and have interrogated it to the fullest extent. Nothing is left to chance and it's got nothing to do with cameras, equipment or software packages. Which is not to say the workshop is not practical, it is. Precisely because MediaStorm are themselves so methodical (and incredibly generous) the workshop is full of practical advice, distilled down from their years of experience, that allows you to quickly and easily understand and see ways you can apply and/or modify it to your own context.
That is why I will be able to directly apply so much of what I learned at the Methodology Workshop in my own work, but also in my university teaching. Brian and the whole MediaStorm team are passionate, methodical and generous, so the opportunity to spend a week learning from them was a unique and inspiring experience I would highly recommend.
Elaine Hill / Online Art Director, Greenpeace International
I came away from the MediaStorm methodology workshop totally inspired and excited about the future of multimedia storytelling. The opportunity to spend a week with this team of extraordinary individuals at the top of their game and to see the nuts and bolts of production was beyond priceless. The effort that went into preparing the workshop - down to the group dynamics - was greatly appreciated.
It's so rare and special to walk into a work space where you could tell everyone loved being there, the enthusiasm person brought to us when talking about their work was totally infectious. Brian's own story and personal commitment to spreading the potential of multimedia is in itself is a testament to pushing boundaries, embracing innovation and proves that quality is still worth pursuing. I only hope I can take what I learned and use it in a way that brings value to the effort you put into the individuals in this workshop.
The MediaStorm Methodology Workshop proved to be an invaluable source of information and inspiration. It was a nicely balanced mix of creative and technical skills and business strategy and was the perfect primer to help get my new media production venture off the ground.
I really loved the open agenda. Our workshop was comprised of a diverse group of attendees from business, journalism, photography, academic, and non-profit worlds. Each of us came in with a different set of expectations for what we hoped to achieve. From the start Brian took care to listen to our stories and tailored the sessions to cover everyone’s needs. I believe we all walked away with what we needed to move forward with our professional goals. I know I did.
The most valuable aspect of the workshop for me was learning how the MediaStorm team works. Getting an inside look at their approach to project organization and workflow was hugely helpful. We were able to integrate much of what I learned immediately into our own productions, which really helped us tighten up and standardize our process and workflow. As an added benefit, it was great to be around the MediaStorm team for a week. It was insightful just to watch how they worked and interacted on projects.
The other aspect of the Methodology Workshop that I appreciated was the exchange of ideas and expertise between the MediaStorm team and my fellow attendees. At times it felt more like a roundtable discussion than a classic teacher/student workshop. It was great to be around these smart people with various perspectives discussing strategies for the changing media landscape we’re all facing today. We had many enlightening conversations about the challenges we face but also the great opportunities that lie ahead.
And it was just plain fun. Good people, innovative thinking, and very practical advise. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
It's hard to overstate the value of my experience learning from the talented, skilled and thoughtful team at MediaStorm. Over the course of five days, along with seven dynamic professionals from all walks of life, I was immersed in the method behind MediaStorm's seemingly magic madness.
They covered multimedia production and editing techniques; shared recommendations for the best tools and technology to use when producing multimedia; and mapped out their business model and social media strategy. The most incredible part of the workshop was hearing their personal stories drawn from years of field experience and advice applied to our own endeavors.
I found being part of this workshop not only instructive, but also empowering. If you're a creative, thoughtful person and are considering whether to sign up - DO IT! It's five days that will change your perspective on what's possible.
Usually when asked to develop a creative department from the ground up, you'd start with the basics...strategy, process and workflow, etc.
You'd then layer on all of the "cool" components...creative concepting and development, shooting, editing, production.
At least this is how it would work 'in theory'.
Those of us tasked with incorporating video and multimedia elements into an existing department are quickly learning that we're working with an inverted model: the great stories, ideas, assets and distribution channels may already be there...now, we need to build that foundation so we can effectively build and manage great multimedia content.
In 5 intensive days, Brian and his team at MediaStorm provide invaluable insight into the business of producing stellar multimedia stories. From the initial project request, through the development and production phase and ultimately distribution, you're immersed in their thought process. You gain a better understanding of the overall creative development process, as well as the nuts and bolts of production, workflow and distribution.
The close interaction with other participants enhances the learning. You walk away from the workshop with a lot of great ideas that can be implemented to build or strengthen a multimedia department. Equally important, you'll get validation on what you're already doing right.
You can't put a price on something like the MediaStorm Methodology Workshop. Brian Storm and his team are open, insightful and provocative. They have been there and done what most of the rest of us have only thought about, and they are willing, even anxious, to share the knowledge they've gained.
The methodology workshop has already proven to be a very wise investment of my time and resources. After 5 intensive days in a room with 5 leading figures in methodology and curriculum development, I could see clearly the tremendous potential that exists in this disruptive moment of communication. Less than two weeks since the conclusion of the workshop, I have already implemented effective changes in the way I approach my work as a creative artist and the leader of a small company.
I was inspired by the MediaStorm team's ability to harness rapidly changing technology and concepts, which has enabled them to narrow the gap between impulse and execution and focus their energies on producing extraordinary stories. MediaStorm's work is a testament to what happens when one combines craft and technology to remove obstacles between audience and exceptional experiences of the body, mind, and heart. MediaStorm's commitment to quality and purpose-driven work is powerful and inspirational.
The Mediastorm Methodology Workshop exposed me to the inner workings of one of the most celebrated multimedia houses in the history of the medium. I watched as MediaStorm multimedia producers and interactive designers created cutting-edge multi-platform multimedia in real-world environment where creativity, technology and economic survival meet.
My hypothesis about teaching all the skills necessary to do original, compelling multimedia were validated--the student needs to found their career on a core competency. There are processes that students need to understand and there are prosesses that students need to know, to know as well as a jazz musician knows their instrument.
The temptation is to try make multimedia students "jacks of all trades", but the MediaStorm experience shows that graduates who are "masters of one" seem to be getting the good jobs. Students with a rich portfolio and an original point of view will have an advantage over those who have "shown competency" in all of the multimedia disciplines.
In short, there are things to know and there are things to truly understand. The multimedia project should be thought of as a production, so we should be educating "producers" who are proficient to the point of originality and insight about their multimedia core storytelling competency (video, audio, stills, etc.), and knowledgeable enough about the other skills needed to be able to assemble the best team of interactive designers, video editors and coders, to get the job done.
For the multimedia teacher, the first day of class might best be compared to the first day of football camp or the first day of band camp. Who is a natural-born quarterback? Who aspires to play the trumpet? Once this is decided, the process of teaching music and football can begin.
As much as multimedia teachers don't want to believe it, there are natural-born coders and back-end people in other departments who need story content for their projects.
And that's what it's all about, really-- telling a story. The only people calling this "new media" are the teachers. Most of our students have grown up with digital photography. Some might have already shot and edited a short video. To add too much weight to the teaching of the technical aspects of multimedia, to the detriment of the fieldwork and storytelling, is the equivalent of spending a semester teaching a group of aspiring writers to be better typists.
The Mediastorm Methodology Workshop gave me the confidence to set these priorities:
--Find a student's core competency and light a fire.
--If you are practicing true multimedia storytelling, the story will tell you, as producer, how it should be told and what the proportions of video, audio, stills, and interactive design will be.
--Encourage entrepreneurship. There will never be a time in your students' lives when it will be easier to crash on a friend's couch and eat Taco Bell while inventing the next breakthrough in multimedia storytelling.