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Shifting the focus on social lending

Jan Stürmann, a videographer based out of San Francisco, produced four awesome new videos highlighting MAF’s programs and how social lending really transforms people’s lives. He was gracious enough to share his thoughts with me on capturing our story and what he learned from the experience.

What is your process like when you begin a new video/storytelling project?

The first part is trying to get some sense of the story the client is trying to tell (which the real story is often only emerges in the editing process.) Then it’s identifying the key people who can tell this story. Before an interview I try to let my curiosity be my guide in generating a list of questions to ask. I find writing a script is generally not very helpful. It’s by engaging in a conversation, whilst trying to ignore the camera, that the surprising details emerge. Once I have the interview, I get it transcribed and from there build a first draft script. Then, ideally, I go back and shoot b-roll footage, which is what I lay over the interview.

Community and relationships are two important values for Mission Asset Fund. How did you try to capture those concepts in the videos?

I try to work as unobtrusively as I can, normally alone, so what ever interaction can happen as naturally as possible. My direction is never going to be as good as some surprise happening spontaneously. My job is to be attentive to those moments.

Was there a particular video you had the most enjoyable or interesting experience putting together?

It’s always a privilege to be invited into a world I’m unfamiliar with and to be trusted with people’s stories. On the surface a topic like money and credit seems boring. But talking honestly about money is one of the last taboos in our culture. Personally I’m very interested about how we interact with money. So being able to indulge that interest professionally was very gratifying for me.

Did you find it difficult to visualize financial concepts like credit and loans in an engaging way?

What I did not want to do going into this project was create a boring video filled with a lot of graphs and charts. The trick was to figure out how to find the stories behind the graphs and charts. We all grapple with money daily with varying degrees of awareness.

You can view the videos to explore the communities and projects that MAF is involved with at following links: The Power of OpportunityEveryone Deserves a Shot at Success, Creating a Fair Financial Marketplace, and  Building Credit, Building Communities