How to make a strong personal story

There is no right or wrong way to record a personal story. We focus on making videos, but you could use text, images, audio. You can act as interviewer, or allow the subject of the film to prepare their own story and speak for themselves.

The following advice should help you to create a strong story:

  • The power of a personal story is in genuine personal feelings being shown. The viewer must be able to identify with the person who is giving a statement. The person is not necessarily an expert on climate issues. He or she is likely to be an ordinary community member.
  • The person should be able to describe what has happened or will happen coherently, and as briefly as possible.
  • An account by a person or people directly affected will be stronger than a story told about other people. The person telling their story should talk in the first person (I) form. The story can also include some personal history.
  • It is likely that the issues affecting the person do not affect them alone. How is climate change or climate injustice affecting their community, their friends, or colleagues? What are the common challenges being faced by this group, and other communities struggling against climate change or climate injustice? Making links with issues in other parts of the world, or other communities, will help to create a feeling of common purpose between the person telling the story and the audience.
  • A personal story can also include political demands. What is being done by this individual or community to challenge climate change or climate injustice? What can be done by people viewing the story? Asking the person to make a clear request to take a particular action or join an event will help you reach new audiences with this demand, or help you reach existing audiences in a new way. The call for action should be concrete, hopeful, and urgent. And somehow based on their own personal story.

We’ve collected a list of furhter advices. Also have a look at the guide on how to develop a strong public narrative.

Linking these stories (the experiences of the person, the role of the community, and the demand for action) into a single narrative is not a simple task, but will create a very strong statement.

We would like to know if you found this information useful. Please post comments below or send them to us.


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