In the earlier post this week we discussed looking at our project as a Flash or as a Slow Burn project, or some combination of the two, when looking at creating and sustaining a project that reaches audiences, engages with them and hopefully arrives at the desired outcome.

Today I’d like to discuss a couple of things that are quite closely related, namely Impact on the one hand, and Narrative Reversal on the other hand.

Impact is perhaps one of the most important aspects when analyzing your project, and an aspect that is becoming increasingly important and focused upon in the developmend, production and distribution phases. The term ‘Impact’ conveys quite clearly what it’s about, pretty much, but to be a bit clearer with regards to your own project, try to answer these questions:

  • What do we ultimately want to achieve with the project? I.e. if we paint a picture where our project has arrived at the best possible outcome, what does that look like? Have we changed legislation? Have we uncovered some secret or tragedy? Have we influenced politics? Whatever it is, know what it is you actually want to achieve.
  • Who do we want to reach? We might have – or rather, I hope we have – target audiences clearly defined at this point, so we know some of the people we want to reach. But who do we reach through them? What leading figures or influential people can we hope to reach and how?
  • When we’ve reached them, what do we actually want them to do? Take action? Something else? Get in touch? Whatever it is, make sure to create entry points and road to that action that are easy and enticing to follow.
  • What do we want the project to mean for us, professionally? This is also an important part of anything you’re deeply involved in, and nothing to beat around the bush about. Of course you want your project to mean something for you as well, as a content creator or filmmaker. An acquaintance told me their film would ideally raise their status as documentary filmmakers in the eyes of film funds and festivals – and if you know that that’s a desired outcome, you can better lay the right foundations.
  • What are our KPIs? How do we actually measure if we’ve succeeded or not? When should we be content, and when should we re-evaluate and push further? Take some time thinking through your KPIs so they’re not over-ambitious, but neither to non-challenging

Now, the Narrative Reversal is a bit different, but follows naturally on the notion of wanting your project to have an impact. The term is one I’ve gotten from Jeff Gomez on Starlightrunner Entertainment, and I really think it is quite spot on.

The Narrative Reversal simplified is when you face backlash regarding your project. When people don’t agree, don’t like, don’t support, don’t follow, but instead engage in what could be described as a toxic way, or at least with criticism of either your project or you.

This is never easy to face or handle, but answering some questions beforehand, thinking through scenarios and clearly defining some crucial key facets of your projects before the shit hits the fan could prove to be very useful.

  • What is the desired outcome when the project meets the audience? This ties into the points about Impact above. I.e. what would you ideally like to see happen when the audience gets hands-on with your project and your content?
  • What are the worst case scenarios when the audience meets your project? Is it antagonism or attacks, or just a general indifference and a great big ‘meh’? Is it personal attacks on the creators or participants or is it a campaign against the project as a whole?
  • How do we approach criticism, well founded or less well founded? Do we have a given spokesperson or can anyone in the project wade into the discussion? Should we have times set aside for the team to address criticism? How quickly should critical voices be engaged with?
  • What is our stand, what are our core principles and where can we be flexible? It is possible that criticism and antagonism are well founded at times. Your project and you are neither infallible, most likely, and there are times when people’s grievances with your project do carry merit. However, you should always be clear throughout your team and your project where your core principles lie and to what extent you can stretch your approach to them when addressing criticism.

In our final post we’ll talk about two things no one can do without in today’s world – Data and Collaboration.

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