Your Video’s Most Important Storytelling Element

Glenwood VashawnThis week we’re celebrating our 12th Telly Award by looking back at past winning entries to pass along some valuable insights. Today, I’m blogging about an incredibly important element when it comes to storytelling.


The people you choose to include in your video might be the most critical decision you make for the video’s success. The mistake a lot of business owners make is thinking they need to hire actors or models to put a pretty face behind their company. That’s not the case.

The best videos tend to feature real people who are passionate about their jobs and their company or organization. We’ve done a bunch of videos featuring some pretty great people, but one of them definitely stands out in my mind.

Vashawn was a 13-year-old Glenwood Academy student when we met him (VIDEO BELOW). He’s a good kid from a bad neighborhood who’s getting a chance at a great education by attending Glenwood Academy in Chicago’s south suburbs.

On-Camera Stars

He was one of “those” people. The camera loves him. He is at total ease in front of it, and that comes through in the video. I can’t really explain it other that to say you’ll know these people when you see them, and when you do you better have the ability to switch gears to take advantage.

Vashawn was not meant to be the “star” of this particular video, but after we did the interview I told the school’s marketing director he had to be front and center. The whole video changed. His story and the way he told it was simply captivating.

I told my wife after that shoot we were going to win another Telly Award because of Vashawn. I hadn’t even looked at the raw material, but when you capture the right people on camera you just know it’s going to turn out great.

Every business has a Vashawn working for them. It might not be someone in the C-suite, but that doesn’t matter. Feature the people who shine, and so will your videos.

–Tony Gnau

Tony Gnau is a three-time Emmy-winning journalist. He is also the founder and chief storytelling officer at T60 Productions. T60 has won 11 Telly Awards for its work over the last eight years.

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