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  • Writer's pictureJake Kitterman

The Power of Storytelling: How we do Storytelling at Jake Kitterman Productions


Has anyone ever wondered why stories are told every day? Have you considered the use of storytelling even in your everyday life? Or even stories that are told and survive through generations and generations. This month I'll be chatting about storytelling, what it is, the use of storytelling, and why we use it every day in a personal and professional sense. Also, you'll learn how we tell stories here at Jake Kitterman Productions.


Lets dive into it.


Understanding the Essence of Storytelling - What is Storytelling?


According to "storynet.org" storytelling is defined as "an ancient art form and a valuable form of human expression". However, they later go on to explain on that same page that when most of us say "storytelling" we actually mean "Storytelling is the interactive art of using words (audio) and actions (visuals) to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener’s imagination".


We tell stories in many different formats and mediums such as oral tradition/spoken word, book/written literature, photo & film, social media, theatre, dance, music, video games, and most of the time a combination of a few of these mediums. Some stories have endured the test of time and survived for thousands of years such as the account of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:4-3:24) and of Noah's Ark (5:32-10:1), which are stories almost all of us have heard.


Everyday we tell each other stories without even thinking about it. Have you had your partner or friend ask you how your day was at the end of the day? Have you told a friend about what you did over the weekend or the fun trip you went on last month? What about when you had a job interview and they asked you to tell them a bit about yourself? These are all stories we chat about everyday with each other without even realizing we are doing it! Every time you tell someone about an experience you had or your plans for something you're telling them a story that either you lived or you hope to do. Stories are essential for learning, communicating, and understanding each other and we use them everyday in our personal lives.


Storytelling through the lens.


My favorite way to tell a story is through the use of a camera. After all that's what is done here at Jake Kitterman Productions. Telling a story through a camera is widely used and very popular, according to eksposure.com there are 6.92 billion smartphone users in the world and the average smartphone user has ~ 630 photos and 24 videos on their phone (for every video recorded people take 26 photos). Although anyone can snap a photo or film a video on their phone there's many techniques that can be applied to storytelling through photo and video that a photographer/videographer/cinematographer can utilize. Framing and composition techniques are used to guide and grab the viewers attention to convey the story they're telling in a fashion the photographer desires.


For example in "The Batman" a film by Matt Reeves in 2022, paints the picture for Gotham city in the opening of the movie. We are shown multiple clips of rain in Gotham in primarily grungy night scenes with criminals running rampant that shows us Gotham is a dreary, dangerous, and dreadful city. We can also interpret this from how the film is colored with mostly colors that are dark blacks, oranges, browns, reds, and some yellows. These colors in combination with each other can evoke certain emotions and help create the outline and setting of the story.


Why does this matter?


Storytelling through photo and video can have profound impact on individuals and on society as a whole influencing us in major ways such as, emotional connection, perspective and empathy, educational influence, cultural influence, and most notably in recent times in the world of marketing & branding. Storytelling matters especially in this day and age with the amount of sharing our stories on social media which has a wide and broad reach to a massive online audience. Brands can take advantage of this through their marketing efforts. We've seen storytelling used today to develop brand identity and help shape marketing strategies.


For example when you think of Nike you think of athletes and story's of those athletes such as Michael Jordan of which Nike made a 1 min film commemorating his career in 1999. In fact Nike has a page on their website full of stories of their athletes. Or how about the countless ads Old Spice has put out surrounding a storyline of a mans wife stealing his Old Spice products. Do I dare mention the Jake from State Farm commercials? Those became so popular that when they changed the actor that played "Jake" some folks rebelled against the brand because they had been accustomed to that character in that story.


Brands should take note of the power storytelling has today. Here are a few reasons why I make this claim:

  • Research from psychological studies suggests that people remember stories up to 22 times more than facts alone, emphasizing the power of narrative in making information memorable.

  • A study by HubSpot found that 55% of consumers pay close attention when consuming stories, demonstrating the engagement potential of storytelling.

  • In a survey by Clutch, 63% of consumers said that a brand's unique story was the main factor that attracted them to a particular product or service.

  • Content Marketing Institute reports that 68% of consumers feel more positive about a brand after consuming content from it, and 73% said they are more likely to purchase from that brand.

The power of storytelling is evident in the world of business. As storytellers and listeners we should take note of the power storytelling has on our own human nature and how we can use it to create businesses that connect folks from all parts of the world and all backgrounds.


The Storytelling process at Jake Kitterman Productions


There are 3 main points in which we tells stories here within a Jake Kitterman Production.


1) First Authenticity & Grace: Within a Jake Kitterman Production authenticity through grace is a top focus. What do I mean by this? When I tell a story I want to be honest, thoughtful, and give people the opportunity to be authentic and share their story with the world. Doing this requires a level of grace in the production. We have a tendency to do things the way we want to do them or to tell stories the way we want to tell them especially when telling others folks stories. In a Jake Kitterman Production I work to tell the stories of folks the way they'd like their stories to be shared in a cinematic and beautiful sense. My goal is to encourage people to tell their stories and a Jake Kitterman Production is an outlet for people to do that.


2) Second Building Connection & Community: One of the main goals of a Jake Kitterman Production is to build connection and community. While creating or capturing a story one of the aspects of storytelling I think about is how will this bring people together? Is this beneficial or interesting to the viewer? Is there a way the viewer can interact with the story, such as getting involved in a program, buying a product, chatting with someone, or visiting somewhere? It all comes down to whether this is something people can engage in and if they can, would it make sense for them to engage with this story in some way. For example, when you hear a story about someone who needs help you may be moved to help them. If you see an appetizing commercial for a sandwich are you moved to go and get that sandwich for lunch? If you see a photo of an outfit and you like it, are you moved to go and purchase that outfit? If you see a video about someone close to you asking for help moving do you feel an urge to help them? These are the aspects of a story that I think about when creating and constructing it. Is there a call to action? Is there a point to the story your telling? Will this connect people? I believe connecting people and building community is not only essential to our lives but it's something that has started to get away from us in this digital age. Creating and building connection & community while telling a story is an aspect of storytelling I don't want to lose or to get away from us. Doing just this is a key feature to a Jake Kitterman Production.


3) Third Beautiful Visuals: One of the byproducts of a Jake Kitterman Production, includes the stunning visuals that are produced when telling a story with me. Professional gear is going to be used while capturing and telling you story, although the person behind the gear knows how to use it and when to use it. Because of this the visual stories that are created from a Jake Kitterman Production are inherently beautiful in nature. There are other aspects to consider when evaluating whether a story is beautiful or not which is taken into consideration. First is visual excellence, the way in which the visuals are created to develop a clear and crisp image, well-executed cinematography, and attention to detail. Second and third are the storytelling impact and emotional resonance in the content. These both go hand in hand with each because of the nature of storytelling. From the choice of visuals and audio you see and hear in your story can shape the story that being told and evoke certain emotional responses. These are the aspects I take into account while creating.



Tell more stories!


In short storytelling is a wonderful gift and a way we artfully communicate with each other in many different mediums. We all have different ways of telling stories, especially those of ourselves or those we're passionate about. I encourage everyone to continue to tells stories, focus on what your communicating with others and don't be afraid to put stories out into the world. What are some of the stories in your life you'd like to share? Is there a story I can help you share with the world? Feel free to email me with your stories!

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