How do you get your story noticed by a mainstream audience?

Writes Rebecca Spencer, DocuFilms

It’s fairly straightforward to make a video to show to donors and key audience – but how do you get the notice of a mainstream audience? How do you truly get your message out there?

TV is bigger and broader than ever, and of course, reaches a huge potential audience. Feature documentaries are big, and there are whole festivals and channels devoted to telling true stories.

And for us, that’s the keyword.

It may be very hard to get someone to watch a film about your message or organisation. Films like this are after all often considered quite ‘dry’, and few broadcasters or places like Netflix are interested in films about the work of a charity.

But… find a story, a hook, something to engage people, and we believe half the battle is won. Everything on Film and TV is a story – whether it’s an epic, sweeping travelogue across continents, or someone trying to bake a cake against the clock, everything is narrative. Everyone gets hooked by a good story.

How do you get your story noticed by a mainstream audience?

For example, we were commissioned to make a documentary about the Little Hearts project in Sudan, which helps children born with heart defects. Now, it’s easy to show facts and figures, but what really matters is making it personal. As the Producer, I worked hard to find Margaret, a woman whose husband had been killed in the civil war, and alone she had travelled with her five children from volatile South Sudan to Khartoum to get treatment for her desperately ill daughter Doreen. We followed an exhausted Margaret and a terrified Doreen through the treatment. The look on Margaret’s face when her daughter emerged strong and healthy from emergency surgery will stay with everyone that views the film. It is also broad stories like this, that almost anyone can connect to, that help films get a wider audience.

To watch the film trailer please click here.

Richard our Director has worked in TV for over 20 years as a documentary Producer/Director and sat in countless meetings with commissioners. They’re rarely interested in say, showing the mechanics of how water is brought to dry areas of Saharan Africa. But tell them this about a small but determined team from all over the world, determined to fight the odds and succeed with their plan to bring water to a place desperate for it, then we have a hook. Show them a local resident, and what will happen to them if the plan doesn’t succeed, and we have a powerful narrative.

Our journalistic experience means we’re always digging for the angle – the right story, the new way of looking at things that make films truly memorable and award-winning.

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