Documentaries are how we explore subjects we find endlessly fascinating.
"Why does this one family have generations of successful BBQ restaurants?"
"His employees wouldn't take a vacation for years because they loved coming to work every day? And with over 700 employees at each of the nine plants, he knew every one of them by name? Who is this guy?"
"What? That can't be right! The United States is the #1 importer and exporter of children in human trafficking in the world?"
"Why does watching someone dance a choreographed piece to music move me so deeply?"
"With all our advanced knowledge and technology, and winning nearly every Nobel Prize in Medicine, how is it possible our country is ranked dead last in the industrialized nations in health care?"
These are real questions that shocked us or piqued our interest... then jump-started stories we've told or are in the process of telling.
There is nothing more powerful than a well told story in a documentary. It makes history come alive. It may show us a frightening future. It may expose injustice or beauty or do both simultaneously. It may inspire us, spur us to action, or break our hearts.
Storytelling isn't stringing facts together to convey information, it's personal. Personal stories let others see who a person is and how it feels to be in a particular situation, setting or place in time. In fact, personal stories are the best way to engage people at a personal level. As human beings we are all hardwired to respond to stories. This is what makes documentaries so powerful and why we love this form of storytelling.
Knowing the power that a personal story wields, we are very careful in how we tell it. A great story is always more of a pull than a push; therefore, we prefer to practice the art of awakening the wisdom in others, rather than trying to convince them we are right or sway them in a particular direction. We stay true to the story by focusing on thoroughly researched facts, as well as the experience of someone who lives or lived within the story.
By presenting a story this way, we allow the audience to connect the dots and to draw their own conclusions. If our story becomes their story, then we've done what we've set out to do - make the story real for them personally. And, to paraphrase Martha Stewart, that's a real good thing. It might even change the world for the better.
For a complete list of documentaries, see Awards and Notable Productions