Storytelling with Video

Lights. Audio. Camera. ACTION!

During a two-year-long internship, I worked with Jeremy Roberts, owner of Conservation Media in Missoula, Montana. Conservation Media is an award-winning storytelling outlet that produces short films for non-profit organizations, government agencies, and other clients.

While Jeremy excels in captivating audiences with incredible imagery of wildlife and landscapes, his hidden mastery lies in telling human tales. Jeremy taught me how to communicate science and conservation not simply through Planet Earth-esque documentary filming, but also by connecting audiences to the people deeply involved in changing the world.

The Nature Conservancy Montana

For a non-profit like the Nature Conservancy, for example, Jeremy walked me through “story boarding.” First, this process involved winnowing down an hour-long interview with a top forester. Then we combined it with B-roll, which was video from a prescribed burn. The end result was a concise 3-minute film allowing viewers to discover the necessity of prescribed burning to restore forests, an invaluable educational and fundraising tool for TNC Montana.

Defenders of Wildlife

During my internship, we also worked on a short video for Defenders of Wildlife. Defenders is a non-profit helping Montana landowners install electric fencing. This fencing deters hungry bears from entering gardens, orchards, or chicken coops, ultimately reducing human-wildlife conflict. Here you can watch the final product of my audio work combined with Jeremy’s editing in a short video to celebrate Defenders of Wildlife’s 500th electric fence project.

Blackfoot Challenge

To practice collecting high-quality audio-video while conducting engaging interviews, I also joined Jeremy and community leaders for a project with the Blackfoot Challenge. A local non-profit, the Blackfoot Challenge collaborates with ranchers, conservationists, and other community members to reduce wildlife conflict and conserve the Blackfoot River watershed. The final film was a 13-minute gem, showcasing the inspiring and meaningful work of those involved in the Blackfoot Challenge.

As a direct result of my internship, I have a better appreciation for the experience, time, and skill involved in communicating complex conservation topics through video. While I can’t yet match Jeremy’s decades of experience weaving together science and emotion, I am incredibly privileged to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from one of the masters.

Afterall, Conservation Media’s storytelling work is much needed to move more support for and understanding of conservation.


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