Empower your video marketing with storytelling, with Cris Cunningham

Empower your Video Marketing using the power of storytelling

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Jake Anderson 0:00
On the video and then so I got a board here. So I'm gonna cue up the intro go into my opener, introduce and then we'll get started.

Announcer 0:07
Sounds good introspective, inward looking, self examining, characterized by or given to introspection. Welcome to the introspective podcast, your compass for internalizing the path towards optimal lifestyle design, business success and mindful entrepreneurship with your host, Jake Anderson.

Jake Anderson 0:36
Hey, Hey, welcome back to another daily deep dive here on the introspective podcast. And today it is storytime we are going to talk about storytelling in business and sales and marketing. The power of story can be real and how it can just completely transform your business I got started really learning about story when I was first exposed to it was through a book called story brand by Donald Miller, which was an amazing book, I encourage anybody to go read it. And then, you know, later on, I think it was last last year. Right before all the craziness happened with the pandemic. I was at funnel hacking live and I had met a few people. And then I got later connected with a gentleman by the name of Chris Cunningham, who has just completely mastered the art of storytelling that specifically as it applies to film, and screenwriting and directing and like how you can use this in your business. So I'm going to give an introduction to Chris. And then we're going to bring him onto the show and we're going to talk about video marketing and storytelling and kind of how all this really ties in together. So Chris completed his ma at Regent University in 2002, with a concentration on film, directing and screenwriting. He has nearly 20 years experience in the film and television industry as a producer, director, screenwriter, and actor. He's worked as primary producer and writer of more than 40 nationally televised documentaries that were viewed on a global scale. In 2007, Cunningham founded a production company that produced shot marketed and distributed over 100 100 Films selling nearly 800,000 downloadable versions that garnered an estimated viewership of 220 million plus, Cunningham completed several features screenplays, the vetting paper wings, vacant house and squad, vacant house produced and co written by Chris on a micro budget of $7,000, screened at festival de Cannes despite having a minimal budget and no star power in 2019, Chris producing finished two documentaries on human trafficking in America and the crisis of affordable housing. And in 2020 squat a sci fi comedy was produced and is currently in post production. And Miss all this Chris Cunningham founded video marketing unleashed where he helps businesses and entrepreneurs tell the story of their product or brand or service through the power of online video. Without further ado, a welcome to the show Chris Cunningham. Chris, how are you doing today?

Cris Cunningham 3:15
What is up, Jake? Good to see you,

Jake Anderson 3:17
man. Yeah, man, it's awesome. I'm glad we're able to get you know, it's it's like we I guess we feel like we've known each other for about a year. I know. You know what I met you at funnel hacking live in I don't know if you remember that or not. It was a very brief introduction. And Josh Brown had introduced us. And because Josh was like, Dude, this guy's like an award winning, winning like filmmaker, like if you ever need to talk video with somebody, Chris is your guy. And then we end up connecting online through Facebook. And then I got him to program video marketing unleashed. And it's just been, it's been incredible. Just seeing what you've been able to do to help people with this video.

Cris Cunningham 3:57
Yeah, man. Thanks. So you're one of those guys I like to keep in contact with because we're kindred spirits like a serial entrepreneurs on fire to help other entrepreneurs that kind of like, I think of this whole entrepreneurship entrepreneurship game as like, I look back in time, and there's people who put, you know, somebody put a man on the moon and then somebody bust a hole through a mountain and then, you know, shoves a steam engine through it. And then there's people curing diseases, and these are people who are dreamers knocking things out of the park. Well, I don't see how entrepreneurs are any different. They're solving the problems of the world dreaming and inventing. And it's just exciting to be part of something like marketing, helping other businesses showcase what it is that they do using the most. For me, it's the most dominant, influential marketing tool. In fact, the most dominant, influential, communicative force ever known to mankind this whole thing called video.

Jake Anderson 4:52
Yeah, I agree. I mean, the thing I love about video is especially online because I know online This was my first thought when I first got started online was really looking at the exchange of energy, right within somebody pieces of like, within a piece of content that somebody would put out. And, you know, you've got, you got text, you got the emojis, you've got the little, you know, the, the means or whatever. And, and that has its purpose, but like, video adds so many different dimensions to how you can communicate a message that's unlike anything else, you know. So but the thing about it is, and I think this is where people may get a little bit hung up, like, a lot of times, you'll hear me say this, I can only really speak to myself, because I know where I've been hung up with it. But that is in like figuring out exactly like how to craft, like the actual video in a way, like, you get stuck, it's like, Okay, I need to say some things for the video, or I need to speak to a message in the video. But I'm not really sure what to say or how to say or how to approach it, or how to structure out a script. But I know storytelling is something that you've just mastered. So I want to start with that like with storytelling and how you pull that into the methodology that you use for video creation.

Cris Cunningham 6:17
So I mean, it's, it's all encompassing, it is the umbrella over the entire thing for me. And I won't get into all the details of that, because it would be too thick and dense to do right here now. But I like to talk about this whole storytelling thing. And this whole video thing, I merged them together by simply asking, like, why, like, what why does this topic even matter? Because and I think you started to hint at it that one of the biggest struggles is like, What do I say? And how do I say it. But at the end of the day, who freakin cares about all this? Because we're talking about business, right? And that's where it goes right into the direct topic that I care about its traffic and conversions, period. And, yes, I love telling stories. But yes, as a business owner, I have to have traffic and I have to have conversions, period. So as a business owner, or as a personal brand, like you and me, we have personal brands, you already know that the biggest thing that's going to cause people to buy from you is connection. And if they don't feel a connection with you, and not just a little measly connection, they have to feel a deep connection. If they don't feel that they're not, they just won't want to work with you. They don't even in fact, statistically, people won't even enter into a conversation with someone until they're 57% into the buyer cycle. So with video and storytelling, you get to in insert yourself into that early sacred space that people are longing to be in as a business owner, right. But there's a lot of stats and a lot of details I just wouldn't want to really dive into right now that proves exactly what I'm talking about. But I'll just say it this way that human to human connections, they are the heart and they are the soul of all businesses. And what's the key to unlock that connection. You got a storytelling period like that. Here's what's even more magical than to me about all this stuff. Yes, there's statistics that talk about this. And yes, we can get into video marketing stats, but when you start putting yourself out there using story, especially when you put it into video now i'm not i'm not disregarding things like email, and social posts and things like that. Because stories really awesome in those as well. But when you do it, right, sure, you can get more traffic. Sure, you can get more shares and likes and people you know, especially with story, people start liking it. And yeah, you can grow your business faster. But there's a there's this way deeper layer. That story does it this thing perks me more than anything, and I get more excited about this and any other, all that other stuff combined. And it's this when you when someone hears your story, and you are authentic, and when you tell that story, right? With the right framework. There's all this strange kinesthetic stuff and connections that synapse and we don't even you know, I'm too stupid to know what all that stuff is. But I like to call this the Obi Wan Kenobi effect. Some, some people actually call it the celebrity effect. But when someone puts all of their attention on you, especially in video, because there's more to it with video, because like you just mentioned, it has the you know, it's more like a relationship than anything else. But let's say it is video or a podcast or even an email, right? Even if it's only like a short thing, like a two or three minute video or two or three minute podcast thing that you did. There's this effect that you become the authority, and the viewer begins to look up to you. Again, there is a specific framework. And I think that you know, you have to understand how these stories connect to your calls to action, things like that. But this rapport and relationship that's forged through the power of sharing your story. You can't put a price tag on it because it sticks. And in business, we're all about branding, we're looking for things that stick they say seven impressions to make a brand I say bullcrap one impression and make a brand you tell the right story and you make your impression, right? And that amount of trust that they put in you so that when you make an offer to them audience, that old cliche. It's literally like the know, like and trust factor. Yeah, it's a cliche, but yeah, it's darn true. They buy based on the relationship. I don't care if your story's messy, I don't care if you have us and and you're talking, like if your story is powerful, and you do it the right way with the right call to action, you insert the right story for that right call to action and power. It's just it sticks. There's no seven impressions to make a brand. It's one story to make a brand. Hmm.

Jake Anderson 10:27
That's a quotable line right there. Because I

Cris Cunningham 10:31
never said it before. Yeah,

Jake Anderson 10:33
I mean, I think my head I think the hair on my arm just stood up in the air on that, when that was that was that was powerful. And it's, yeah, and I've heard the whole, it takes seven touches to be able to create a customer, you know, marketing. And, and I've had the same thought process in terms of, you know, thinking about like, I don't, I don't necessarily want, like, if I want to touch somebody with my message, right? There's a touch point, and I touched somebody with that message, I want to, you know, make that touch point as impactful as I possibly can. Because the more you can reduce those touch points down to that one, it's one story as you would say, that is how you like you think about the benefits. And I mean, think about how much your marketing costs are going to go down, think about how much traction you're going to get just in your marketing and sales, everything is going to become far more is going to grow at a much rapid rate. So it almost seems like story when it comes to and I think I think it goes beyond marketing. I think even in the sales process, as well, as you're selling things, even if it's something where you're on a call with somebody, and you've wrapped story into that sales process, I think just it just creates a stronger connection, and makes people feel more connected. So now you talk about a framework, right? You say that there's there's a framework to storytelling. What is this framework? Like? What what's the thing? Like, what is the framework? For me to be thinking about here?

Cris Cunningham 12:03
I think it's I think it's important to know, like, my belief system is that like, when you ask that question, I want to be very careful not to pretend that there's not other ways to do things, right. So in other words, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, and said Chris's story framework is the is the way everyone should do this. Right? So I don't I don't believe that. But I do. You know, we'd like to, before I expose kind of that framework, I wouldn't mind sharing with you how I, how I invented this thing. This is 100% homegrown, and I felt I stumbled into this darn thing. But I will say like, and this will show you kind of what happened with this framework, if you don't mind. And it's it's literally a story. Do you mind if I share that? Yeah. Okay, so just fornia it's kind of it's really a strange story kind of sad at certain points, but it's what life gave me. And if I had to title it, I'd say something like, this is all about how a newbie marketer with zero experience built an eight figure video marketing strategy, using the power of story and help save the lives of 1000s of kids be something like that. Pretty powerful.

So, okay, so give you some context. First of all, I was a I was an actor, and I went to grad school hated this program. And I wound up swapping majors, I was either that or take my kids and my family and leave grad school and I couldn't do that to them because we just hauled across the country. But I entered the film program under the directing category, but I geeked out suddenly, like I started losing my mind over story and story structure from movies motion pictures, just totally geeked out over it. It's important to know like I didn't even pick up a camera in film school because I was so in tune with this, like screenwriting and story structure. So I just focused on that became this guy, this total geek who would sit down and watch movies with spreadsheets open and I would chart out the like character arcs and the journeys and the plot points and literally have this just spreadsheet after spreadsheet and I would focus on the top grossing films of all time I wanted to know what made them work and what what was going on with them. And when I graduated the spreadsheets were 1,000% worthless to me because I wound up jobless You know, I'm armed with everything I need some spreadsheets and a love of story. And I got these two kids we end up on government housing and food stamps, all this stuff. super critical. I just want to show you the journey like where I started and then where I end up I six months no job. And finally it gets it's this weird a professor calls me up I'm bugging everybody asking for help, you know, get this weird job opportunity that comes up as producer slash it was like for a television show slash cinematographer slash marketing gig. It would fundraise for building orphanages and feeding malnourished children, things like this. The fact of the matter wouldn't any of those things I wouldn't a producer cinema Cyber and I wasn't a marketer, I had no clue like I wasn't any of that stuff. The jobless actor, that love story, nonetheless, sold the crap out of myself because I had to bury my two kids, right? Got to do what I got to do. And I landed the gig, I shouldn't have landed. I was totally unqualified, you know, so I thought, I guess, here's the deal. Here's the skinny of that story, a lot of travel. My first day I was transported to on this beat to crap dump truck into the mountainous regions of Haiti. So this was I leave the country kind of a job. And I remember sitting there with the cameras, big honkin camera trying to figure out the buttons because I didn't know anything about that. And we we end up at this makeshift medical clinic goes about four to six hours into the mountains and there is nothing in this. I mean, it's just mountains and naked kids running around everywhere. And we weren't there long before this little boy was brought to us and this kid was like four or five years old. And my kid Mike about my kid's age actually. And it was just frightening. He was you've seen the images but in person if you haven't seen in person that TV does never never does it just justice but he was so malnourished that his head was just too big for his little body. And he the best description I've ever said what I remember is he looked like an alive baby skeleton. Just so skinny, I couldn't fathom what I was seeing. I was staring death. Just looking death in the eyes. There's no way that kid lived beyond a day. There's just no way like I was looking at a kid that was dying. And there I am with this big honkin camera on my shoulder. I barely know how to use the damn thing. And I just remember thinking like what, like what am I done? You know what I mean? Like, I'm not qualified I'm I'm Holy smokes like, I'm responsible literally to film like film these television programs that fundraise for dying kids like what am I doing? An actor? Like? That's it. I love story. So there's a moment though, where the rubber meets the damn road when you're looking at a dying kid. And you got to make a choice. And my choice was when I saw what I saw. There's not a chance on failing. I will give my own life to make this work. Right. But how like, like, seriously, how on the on this actor? That's it? I have no clue. When I do take out my spreadsheets. Save some kids.

Yeah, you're not Jake, I see you nodding there. I don't know if your podcasters can but yeah, that is actually that is exactly what I did. I broke out my my stupid spreadsheets. Remember, I studied story structure on Hollywood films, films that make billions and billions of dollars that are rooted in an ancient story structure technique that's withstood the test of time. So I'm starting to ask weird thing I knew if I could crack that code and turn it into a marketing thing for these this these stories, right? These stories that I'm seeing. So I start asking weird questions like who's the Darth Vader in the story? Who's the Obi Wan Kenobi? But for me the most important question, there's one question that was that topped all the questions because I couldn't figure it out. Who's the hero in these marketing documentaries, if we can call them that, right. And that might seem like a really silly question for most people. But for, for me, I knew that was the key to something. If I could crack that code. Like I said, I could take this incredibly powerful ancient story structure technique, and I could use it to save lives, like literally, I can make a difference on this planet. And literally, I was there for two weeks. That question I could not figure out who the hero was, was I the hero was the organization was the the people that we were helping who's the hero of that story. And I remember flying home from Haiti and going Wait a minute, just this light bulb just snapped. I was journaling. And I remember going wait. I've been missing like I missed one. One key character you already know the answer to this, because Donald Miller has come up with is kind of a similar concept to this whole thing. But the hero I decided wasn't me, wasn't it when that organization when those people that third world country, the hero, I decided and I figured would be be the viewer? What if the viewer was the hero of this story? And suddenly, when I reckon with that thing, everything started to fall in place. Like literally I could take my spreadsheet. I knew who Darth Vader was, I knew the plot points that had to happen I not only that, it would help me How do I say this without giving away too much helped me position the organization in a place that not they had been positioning themselves in the hero role. But what if I could position them as as the mentor or the guide I'll just go ahead and say it and they had a magical solution. Like all the stuff that you hear like the magical sword and all this stuff in story structure. It all began to make sense so I that suddenly I just had this massive blueprint, not even massive is literally like nine steps like a nine step blueprint of how to apply story in to this world of marketing, and you know, when when we apply this thing, let me just fast forward a little bit what happened was just magic. And I say that because it mean, the proof is in the pudding. It just worked, right? strangely, those spreadsheets that couldn't find me a job became this amazing solution because that first episode that we released the very first one, you got to remember on note, cinematographer, the person that was a producer before me, his stuff was magical looking mind sucked might look like a home video. Regardless, it was the record breaking program, financially speaking, it broke, it smashed records that they had never had, just by applying story, their video quality sucked because I was terrible. The story is what exploded and on and when I say exploded with when I arrived, they plateaued their fundraising efforts for five years straight $2 million per year, when I left, two years later, they were at $2 million every 10 weeks. So we 5x their organization. This, I'm from Podunk Indiana man, I was an actor that went to school. And this weird, homegrown, strange thing, because of my love of plotting out spreadsheets full of story turned into this weird marketing magic for me. And nobody had ever I didn't read a marketing book, I'd never picked up anything. All I knew was how to write a screenplay. And I don't even know if I'm good at it. And I took this thing, and I put it into a marketing plan five extra revenue. And I'd love to share that framework in a minute, you know? Yeah. Yeah. If you don't, can I geek out on one more, I just geeked out a lot. I just talked, I just spoke a lot. Um, I want to say one more thing about that.

The magic of this whole plan for me, and what why it made so much dang sense was by positioning the viewer as the hero, it forced me to position the organization in a different role. And most businesses don't do this, and position them as the mentor or the guide. And what I mean by that, well, there's a hero in every business's story. And it's always the viewer, it's always the consumer in my ecosystem, or my ecosphere, my story, sphere, whatever you want to say. But if you position yourself as the listeners, Obi Wan Kenobi, or their Morpheus or their Gandalf, whatever your flavor is, right? Most most story structure gurus, they call this character in motion pictures, the mentor or the guide, ultimately, you then can look at your solution as magical. It's the lightsaber that you're going to teach Luke how to use. So you now have position yourself in an authoritative role. As opposed to the person who is trying to be the hero. Look, if we build these orphanages, we're going to use this kind of brick and you start talking about that kind of cement, you're going to, we're going to pull the block off the mountain, and we're going to do this. And that's what they were talking about. Whenever I arrived, literally, the hero role positions you as the person who's scraping things together and trying to do this thing, right. But if you position yourself as an authority, you're handing a magical solution to the person who has the problem and the pain point. Luke has the pain point, right? He's the one suffering. And you know what I mean, and he's given the magical sword and taught how to use it. I'm not saying that the mentor or the guide doesn't suffer as well, because they do. That's what a good authentic, vulnerable mentor does, that they'll inherit the problem as well. And they give the gift to the other person to be able to solve that problem. So that's Yeah, I just love geeking out on that stuff. Because it makes your message build with passion and authority and trust. And you're in service as opposed to like trying to just make money.

Jake Anderson 23:45
Can I say one thing, because I want to get to this framework. But there's one thing that as you're telling the story, which, by the way, thank you for sharing that it was very touching, very beautiful story. And, and I think that, looking at that as an example, for how you position storytelling, to create more traction and impact and whatever it is you're doing is a really perfect example of that. But it hasn't, because I and, and I'm familiar with your framework, and I understand like, you have the hero and a lot of businesses, they make that mistake, right, they try to position themselves as the hero versus the person that they're trying to reach to buy or provide the resource. So one of the things that kind of hit me, and I don't know if this if this, this ever crossed your mind or not during this experience, but when you when you're looking at when you're especially something like you're in Haiti, and you're looking at this child and you know, they're on the verge of death, and you want to do everything you can to help them but you know that there's so many other children that are in that same position, and that you as one, it's not enough to be able to really help all these children. You need more, more of that support. You need more heroes, right? So I would think and even the same thing with like an actual organization or a company, they're very limited in terms of like, like you have, like the real heroes are the people who are pulling in this the customers. It's like everybody that the $2 million every 10 months that didn't come from the organization that came from the people, those were the heroes, those were the people who actually bringing in the money to be able to create the solutions in the business is nothing more than just facilitating at all. And being in providing in providing those solutions. So, so I almost feel like as you were telling, that was a little bit of a shift that I had, in my own mind, is I was thinking about, you know, there's only one real hero in this whole story. And that's the person who is donating the money to helping these children. And we have to position this in a way that make them feel like they're the ones who are going to be the hero. So anyway, I just wanted to add that in there because it was so

Cris Cunningham 26:00
that you begged the question that I bet your audience if they're entrepreneurs and personal brands like us, they're going Wait, but how does that apply to me? Right, because I'm not a nonprofit, I'm not. I'm not trying to get people to donate and become a hero. But when you have some my first business I launched I'll give you one quick example. I don't want to dwell on this too much. But when I my first business, I had this thought that we could create digital assets, I didn't want to have shippable products is a very first never started a business before. And the idea I had was to create downloadable bulletins for small churches, because I thought that small churches who wanted to be relevant in a tech savvy world would need they like if they want to be like, have good looking graphics, they can't afford it. So my thought was, wow, that can be a big problem. So there's your Darth Vader to the hero who is the church who needs graphics and cool things right to go on their PowerPoint slides. Because they're trying to be tech savvy. So it doesn't have to be that we're saving babies lives, it could be you're trying to provide a downloadable printable asset, that they would help them look cooler, like so their problem could be something as simple as that it could be a bar of soap we're talking about, regardless of what your business or your industry or your nonprofit, whatever it is, if you position your viewer as the one with pain points. Now, the pain point, interestingly, in a nonprofit is born through the story that you tell because when you tell a story of an alive baby skeleton, they're inheriting a problem. That's global. Right. So that's different than what we're talking about when we're talking about businesses. Nonetheless, the framework is identical for the nonprofit as it is for the for profit, huh?

Jake Anderson 27:45
Yeah, I and there's different

Cris Cunningham 27:46
different things slot into it, you know,

Jake Anderson 27:48
yeah. And I love that example that you gave with your with your other business that you had, and it helps thing that really helps put it into context where people because I'm sure that thoughts going through their head, it's like, yeah, I get that. That makes sense. But how does this apply for? You know, yeah, ever here selling water bottles? It

Cris Cunningham 28:05
makes sense. When I share the framework? I

think, you know, I

think, yeah, you mean dive into that? Yeah, kind of. Okay. So first of all, let's just look at what this is about, like this framework, this story centric storytelling framework. I call it the perfect storytelling framework. So it's designed, essentially that, have you heard the phrase hero's journey? before?

Jake Anderson 28:31
Yeah, so.

Cris Cunningham 28:31
So this is we're going to replace that word with buyers journey. That way, we can kind of feel this out as we go. But this framework, it can be used for email, it could be used for blog posts, it can be for social media, for your podcast, I don't care what your business, if you are providing a solution to a problem, this framework works period. There's no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I've, I've dealt with every category, whether it's, you know, for profit, nonprofit, whether it's for Shopify store, whether it's for digital assets, it can be for a service provider, local service providers, whatever, whatever it is, if you're solving a problem, this framework works. So first of all, I'm going to say, let's just do kind of an overview of story structure for movies. And that way, these are the nine steps, actually. And it's going to be really succinct, and then we'll expand it out. And I won't tell you like 1234 I'll just kind of read it to you here. I have it right on my screen. But first, you have a hero, think Frodo right or you know, something like that and who encounters an evil adversary or a challenging problem. So we're just dropping this into cinematic language. And that hero is called to take action but is afraid. So again, if we go back to Frodo he never left a Shire before. And so when he does go out on his journey, he's taking a step out of the Shire for the first time they meet a wise mentor who understands their pain and fear not necessarily in that order. Of course, Gandalf is the one who came to Frodo. Right. They pray vitae magical plan to conquer the problem, which ultimately propels that hero to take action. And that action leads to a showdown. Like the old west is town a big enough for the two of us, which ends in either decisive victory and reward, or tragic failure and loss. In that little paragraph I just read, there's nine bullet points. So we'll break that apart really quick here so that you can understand what the heck, how this all applies in business or nonprofit, whatever it is. So step one and two of the framework, I like to call this, check this out. This is where it all makes sense with what we were just saying. I call this section like these two pieces launch with the villain. Because in motion pictures, a hero again, we're back to that motion picture language, a hero always encounters an evil adversary or challenging problem. Now, when I was Geeking, out in film school, over story structure, I realized a weird pattern that I've never heard before. And but here it is a high percentage of top grossing films of all time, like these are the biggest of the big, they launched with the villain. Perfect example, the original Star Wars, what happens first layer has been kidnapped. And she's been kidnapped by the villain, right. And if you if you think of Lion King, when I watched that with my kids, the first characters speak is scars, the bad guy, that's a real bad spoiler alert, although you know, it's the bad guy right away. So it's not really a spoiler alert. But what that meant in the third world country, would be that we would launch with the problem or like the problems that we were encountering, it might be the story of an orphan child, it might be the story of a malnourished, you know, family who desperately needs support. But let's, let's bring this to a business, though. Let's say you're a bankruptcy attorney, and your heroes under the threat of bankruptcy, right? So again, your hero, as the viewer, you might start a video script by saying something like, you know, Are you overwhelmed by the threat of bankruptcy? And you're under a constant barrage of phone calls from your creditors? And are you you know, you might say something? Are you sick? I like to deal with the emotion too. Are you sick with worry that you might lose your home and everything you own? Right, so like, your deal. So we've launched with a villain, and we've introduced the hero indirectly by talking about them. So you got to remember, like, that's the hard separation sometimes in this. But if you can just get your mind around, you're talking to the hero. And they're included in that that statement. So again, there's a lot of twisting and weaving with what I just did there, but it still works, right? So that's the first and second step, you're introducing a hero, and the the adversary or the challenging problem, right? So that and that also identifies with the hero, because you're also letting them know they're in the right place at the right time. If I said, Hey, is your barn falling apart and you go, I don't own a barn, I'm out of here, boom, they didn't waste my time or yours. If you had a barn that's falling apart, you're stopped, you're stopped cold in your track. Like, I don't know why I came up with that one. But that's what I don't know whose barns falling apart or whether it will matter. So the third and fourth step, I'm kind of funneling through this a little bit in motion pictures. It's when the hero is called, they're always called to deal with the problem. But they're afraid.

That's so key. They, and well, I'll go ahead and finish that out. They meet a wise mentor who understands that pain and fear, they are afraid and the mentor does what they understand their pain and fear. So Luke meets Yoda. Frodo meets Gandalf things like this, this is me and my weird, twisted way. And Haiti, figuring all this stuff out my synapses were on fire to solve this thing. But I want to mention that most business owners, they don't understand this, what I just said, they don't get that your customers external. They do get it, but they don't know how to apply it. Right? They know that the external problem, my roof is effin leaking. And it has been over the weekend, and I couldn't get in touch with anybody. I'm frustrated, because I'm going to is there going to be mold in my house? Right? So bringing in leads to an internal pain, and by being this vulnerable mentor, who understands that, that that external challenge causes an internal pain, if they understand that you understand them, it leads to the know, like and trust factor. It's such a weird, intuitive thing. But whenever I say Jake, man, I know like that you're afraid to go on camera, as since my business is all video related. I get and I'm not saying you are. I don't think you are. But if if I knew that's what was going on, man. I get out man. When I was in grad school, we had a speech class first day, they just did an impromptu speech. And the only thing I remember was my head was shaking so bad, it was going to fall off. But I also remember how stupid I felt afterwards. I have no idea what I said during that speech. So I get that this fear of public speaking fear of going on camera that kind of go together and it's the biggest fear on the planet. So now that you understand, I understand you, there's a report that can be built, you know, so that's That's part of that. But if we're revisiting that bankruptcy attorney, you know, how do we address that? You know that the hero must take action to deal with the problem, but they're afraid we might say something like, Listen, it's, it's, it's only natural to feel frustration and concern or anxiety about one word or the other, something like that about financial struggles. But worrying about your home, that's going to put you under even more stress that you already feel. And the threat of bankruptcy is just not something you want to take lightly. And you're going to need special legal assistance. So we're hand holding them. And it's starting to introduce without having introduced myself yet, right, as the mentor the guide, but then that is about when you would when you under when you give them that little opportunity, and you're saying I understand you. And what you need now is this thing that I'm going to share with you, that's actually what I do. And so I I'm not a bankruptcy attorney, I'm just kind of making this up. But we might say something, hey, I'm Jake Smith, and I'm a specialist, bankruptcy attorney. And over the past X amount of years, 12 years, it's been my greatest passion to have guided hundreds of people just like you through this bankruptcy process for a fresh start. Because I would think like something like a fresh start would be good for somebody because they're, they're trapped in this thing, right, I would use language that would help us go that way. But that's the third and fourth step, the hero meets a wise mentor that understands their pain and fear. And then for the fifth step, the hero meets that wise, and understanding mentor who provides the magical plan to conquer the problem. And this is like, I guess, with this weird bankruptcy attorney, I'm talking about like a really short, fast script like a 62nd sales video, right, because I'm just doing one or two sentences for each section, but I'm showing you how that would apply.

But for us in that third world country, what that meant to demonstrate that magical solution, we would show how the medical clinic helps save the sick, or that how the orphanage provides a home really simple stuff, demonstrating literally demonstrating why our solution is magical, this kid is gonna die, or he's not gonna have a home. And this solution over here is really straightforward, right? Very, very simple. The key here, when writing a script, or an email or a blog post, is to introduce your magical plan, it's got it, you got to have that I think, if you can figure out how to make this thing magical. So that that external problem that they have is solved. You do this by helping the hero literally visualize how it's going to, you know that how it solves the future, the problem in the future. So an orphanage being built solves the homeless, right? That's really a easy example. I guess for the attorney, he or she might say, you know, in many cases, we've, it's got to be true, you can't just make this stuff up. But in many cases with the people that we deal with, or that we've helped, we've navigated the, you know, we've negotiated with your hard nosed creditors, and help people avoid bankruptcy altogether. You know, I mean, like some kind of, so the idea is avoidance, we're avoiding the bankruptcy issue. And we'll navigate and negotiate that for you. Because we know, you know, if somebody is going through bankruptcy, they're getting being called every day. And that's almost like the shame that somebody could feel like, but then you might say something like, with that handled, it's always about the emotions, because people buy emotionally, too. With that handled, you can stop living in fear of losing everything you own, and get your financial situation back in order and in control, and you can start enjoying your friends and family and your life again, because that's what you're starting to lose. And that too, you feel like you're losing those things in a bankruptcy circumstance, like, I haven't gone through it, but I can only imagine, right? So that's kind of the step five of how to showcase your magical plan and conquer that you want to conquer that heroes problem that they're having. And that leads to let's see, Step six, and seven, I'm going to kind of lump those together. It's the that magical plan should compel the hero to take action. And so in Haiti, what we would do is literally after we showcased like that orphanage, we would do a clear, concise, strong call to action. And what's cool about that, is that because we're doing the other steps, we're letting we're launching with the villain, and we're introducing that we understand, you know, we, we understand them, and they understand us now and there's a know like and trust, how we would do that in Haiti, by the way as we would tell why we were passionate, I had a passion section and that would tell why we were passionate to solve the problem, which helped the user or the viewer identify with us. And then by this point, what happens is, you're literally like, you can just start to sell what you're offering. Because you've you've done all those other steps. You're it's all logical. It's laid out really organic. It strips the feeling out of being salesy and smarmy because you're talking about passion. You're talking about solving a problem. Boom, you're talking about the emotions that come along with it. And if you do this wrong, it can come off as smarmy. But if you're doing it from a place of authority and passion, it really isn't. But we would just make an offer to the to the issue, right? And I think like if we're making a sales video, let me just take a quick drink here. Sorry. Oh, yeah,

Jake Anderson 40:20
yeah, go for it.

Cris Cunningham 40:20
If we're making a sales video for the attorney, and you know, this is, I think I chose the hardest topic because nobody trusts an attorney on TV, right?

It's hard to it's hard to

do that. But I honestly think that this, if you follow this, if you track with this, and you're authentic, it doesn't like it, it solves. I don't even have to say I honestly think I actually have worked with attorneys. And it works like wildfire. So I don't have to, you know, I don't have to like, try to justify this, it actually works great. But they might provide something like, hey, if you want a free 30 minute consultation, I will show you that with our guidance, we can solve this issue, we can ease the stress off and get rid of those bill collectors pretty fast, we can rebuild your credit. And quietly without we do all this without letting everybody in the world. No, nobody even has noticed happening. So you don't have the fear, the stigma of fear and embarrassment, all that stuff. So pick up the phone and give us a call. And this would assume maybe it's an online video, I guess, or maybe a commercial or something like that. But that leads us to the final step. And I'll say it this way it that call to action always leads to a showdown with a problem. And that showdown it ends into one of two ways. failure or success like tragic failure or success, like either the sheriff's going to die protecting a sound town or he's going to kill the the bad guy, it's going to end one way or the other. In Haiti, how I interpreted this was testimonials that would highlight the victory side of things. And that was gangbusters for us. I now know, years later that the testimonial video so Horace highest return on your investment that you can make with a video. Like it's just they're just gangbusters for, you get a return on those investments. But the the last thing that we would do, like the Step nine for the the tragedy side, I I've tested this, this isn't always the best way in Haiti, we would just share the story if somebody's still in need. But for sales videos and things like that, that that have made, we might say something like for the attorney, we might say something like, we'd poke at them a little bit. And what I mean by that is, you might say something like, what are you waiting for another creditor to call? So you're poking at the failure,

Jake Anderson 42:39
like a little bit,

Cris Cunningham 42:40
and I'm not in love with that, but I need to test it more. In Haiti, it works well, because you're able to take a story of somebody in need, and then do the call to action again a second time. And you know, so there's your nine steps. Like I know that was super fast. And I don't know if the attorney idea was the greatest but I think it gives you some legs under it how how it's handled, how they attorney like idea dealing with like stigma, fear friends and family finding out we'll do it quietly injecting language of like, we know that the loss of your home would produce tremendous amounts of stress, not only if you lose your home, you're gonna have credit issues, like all these things deal with the external problem leads to, you know, my focus will be heavily on the internal emotions in that video, because that's the truth of it. Not because I'm trying to just land business, it's because as an as an attorney, who wants to deal in bankruptcy. If I hate that job, I should not be doing it. But if I love that I love helping people who knows why people go bankrupt. Like I could get, I could see myself being excited about being a bankruptcy attorney. Like if that's what I chose in life, and I get to help somebody save their, their kids get to stay in their home, their lifelong home. Like that would be crazy. Yeah, that would be awesome. You know? Yeah. So I think that goes back to the mentor and guide aspect of this whole thing. But there you go. There's the nine steps. Yeah,

Jake Anderson 44:04
that was great. I mean, it's, it's, uh, you know, I think that framework, like when you in First off, let me start with it with this. I like the attorney example, I was able to anytime I'm listening to somebody explain, the easier it is for me to visualize the concept, the more powerful it is, and I think the more it resonates, so, yeah. And I certainly was kind of like, thinking about, you know, being in a position where you're in really bad financial issue, having financial issues and, and, yeah, it's like the internal it's like, I feel embarrassed. I feel like a failure. I feel as if, you know, scared in a lot of ways to like, What's going to happen to my home, what's going to happen with my get, there's all these emotions that kind of wrapped around that and that's the, that's what really gets people to kind of move in action. So and then, I love your I've never actually remember hearing this as launching with the villain. Yeah, that's brilliant. And, and thinking about like, when it comes to people in business, excuse me, and they're launching some new product, or new service, whatever that may be. Yeah, we kind of starting or leading with that villain that's in the picture, you know, whatever that problem is. Yeah. So, yeah, that's, this is amazing, Chris, thank you so much for sharing that. And, gosh, there's so much more that we're at the end of time right now. And I feel like, you know, especially with video, I want to say one thing before we kind of get to the end here. And this just speaks to anybody who is really like, interested in getting involved in video, I want to, I want to make something very clear. Chris has has a program with video market, video marketing, Video Marketing Academy, or video creation Academy, sorry, video creation. And video marketing unleashes the group in the business. So video creation Academy, which is what I enrolled in. One thing I will say that you have just such a skill in and and something you've done really, really well is taking something like creating video, and making it very easy for the other person for whoever's kind of going through it to to feel more proud, it makes it more approachable for him, because I remember, before I had gotten into video creation Academy, the thought of doing a video kind of gave me a little bit of anxiety. And I would, you know, I would, I would push it off and push it off and just getting in front of the camera. It was it was almost like it was there was a fear there. But the fear seemed to be more from the it was kind of coming from a place of lack of understanding, like lack of understanding of how to approach it how to speak, I was like, I felt like I had to memorize things. And I would just get stuck. And I think that like the way that your your methodology is designed for creating video is really powerful for especially that person who maybe doesn't have the budget to hire the big video production team to come in. And, you know, we're talking about creating easy videos that are powerful, filled with powerful story. And it goes back to your story about Haiti. It's like the video production, you know, and you actually help make the video production great in your in your program. But you had mentioned you're like the video production was actually pretty bad, but it still performed really well, because of the story that you had put into it. There's something to be said about that. I mean, I've noticed too, like I was having a conversation recently with somebody about

just putting out content. And because I've been really like curious like, looking at my content that I put out. I've gotten far more intentional about what I'm putting out now. And I look at I look at the performance and I look for specifically like what's the movement that's occurred here like movement could be somebody hitting the like button, it could be people having conversations in your thread, you know, within your contest very different movement than it's just somebody hits a like, like there's, there's more action there. It's like what gets people to that place of movement. And I have an In fact, Chris, if you ever want to see like, go to my personal profile, look at my comments. Like you'll see, like, I'll put out comments literally will put no image, no graphic, no GIF, no nothing. It's literally just text, no meme, or emojis or anything, just straight up text. And I really will think about kind of the story that I'm trying to tell in that text in the more I can get into like some emotion pulling stories in that text. The engagement just performs so much better than anything else. And I think there's something to be said there that the story piece of it, in that in having that baked into your messaging gets far more movement in your content, and whatever it is you're putting out there if it's a video sales letter, I mean, cuz there's all these different video types that you can produce. You talked about, like a testimonial video, there's the brand documentary. So there's all these different video demos, there's six

Cris Cunningham 49:21
really six essential videos that that most people are engaging in that have return on your investment when you go outside of them. It's less likely to convert but yeah, yeah, for sure.

Jake Anderson 49:32
Would you mind just sharing this real quick?

Cris Cunningham 49:34
Yes. So you have, how to in quick tip videos, those are gangbusters on things like YouTube for driving traffic. And then you got a brand documentary also known as an About Us video. Simon Sinek is gave one of my favorite TED talks of all time and it's about why we express why we do what we do in our business. So it's the passion video, and I have a very distinct plan for that how that ties to your call to action specifically Then there's a free irresistible offer video also known as a lead magnet, and we take PDFs and convert them into videos by being on camera with that, like you can kind of it's the know like and trust factor a PDF can't give the know like and trust like you on video. So while you have a PDF, you can also put yourself on video talking about it and talking through the bullet points on it, then you have how many was that I'm losing track 123 is that three and then you have testimonial video. And then you have absolutely a must video is the demonstration video all these are must video demonstration video and then you have your sales video, gotcha outside of that, you're not going to find you know how to quick tips would come under like an egg sort of a, you know, educational video types outside of that, you know, I've been doing this for 18 years and not many videos will produce, you know, outside of those as your top highest return on your investment type videos right there. And when you stitch them together, and you have call to actions that lead one to the other. For example, your brand documentary might have a call to action to go get the free download the free video that you made. And then the free video at the end of that you might have a testimonial video that you point to or you might point to the demonstration video, the demonstration video will fall to your pitch to your sales page. And then your sales page will have a sales video. And it really is an ecosystem. That's that. In fact, that's what video creation Academy does, it builds the sales funnel for you in that in that regard. It ties them all together.

Jake Anderson 51:38
So thank you for sharing that. I mean to know the different types of mediums and vehicles that you can use for video specifically, and how it can be used, I think is really helpful. So you've got the video types, but then, you know, going back to storytelling, I know you have a product called story scripts that people can get access to, to kind of help them in met this whole storytelling framework that you have. Would you mind sharing a little bit more about that?

Cris Cunningham 52:07
Yeah, I mean, I share it with you as a geek, like who did all the stories to structure stuff and plot it out the spreadsheets and all that. And I remained a big dork and I started a video production company. And that, you know, it's it's helped businesses generate 10s of millions of dollars, literally, you know, time and time again, we've we've raised with this structure. And the reason I mentioned that with that structure, I build my documentaries, I that structure is scalable to 30 minute documentaries. And so I still do those fundraising documentaries, we're close to $100 million dollars now and funds that we've raised for nonprofits. And when I created video creation Academy, one of the first things I decided I wanted to do is the first thing I made actually was the story scripts training. And I wanted to assemble that for other people. Because I've had such wild success with it. Like literally my first business I grew, we were making about $10,000 a month, within a month, we launched onto the scene on day one, and we made $1,000 a day, because this template like it was because this, this product like that is now wasn't a product then. But it's because of this this nine step system that I've turned it into, so that other people can walk through it and make their own sales videos and things like that. But the story scripts framework is called story scripts. And it's for a video sales, your sales video, the sixth video type that I mentioned, is your sales video. And it's one of the hardest to write of all the video types. So this framework helps talk you through it and it's for what I do in the training is show you how to make a 60 to 92nd video, that is your sales video. And again, it's scalable, though, if you wanted it to be four or five minutes, it can be that if you wanted to scale this into a 30 minute fundraising documentary, it could scale to that as well. The bullet points will still work, you just expand each section out from two sentences to four paragraphs. And you know what I mean? So you just expand it as you want. But in other words, it inflates very well. And the Yeah, that's kind of it in a nutshell. It talks you through the nine bullet points that we went through here today. And then it it guide you through I write two scripts on screen. So you see exactly why I made the choice I did the sentences I write and I talk through very detail like why I did that. It comes with a the the story scripts framework is in a PDF and it walks you through step by step one piece at a time, just very thoroughly and very clearly what you should do and why and so you know why you're making the choices and you're not just trying to mimic what I'm doing. You're inheriting and interpreting and applying it. So I'm not a good I'm not a teacher who likes to try to get you to copy me verbatim. I want you to processing go What is that emotional thing that your viewers going through and we focus deeply on that aspect? Because if you can get them to understand that you get them emotionally, then that's where the know like and trust is born in such a fast time. But yeah, that's the that's a brief overview of what the story scripts meaning is it's that it's that Hollywood kind of framework they were Hollywood films of gross billions I took it I converted it for for nonprofit use them when I launched my first business, converted it for that first business and it's I have have never looked back. This is like this is 18 years ago, when I'm sitting here, running a business helping my wife run hers. She started a couple months ago, she had a $13,000 day recently. It's all this stuff. I mean, it's all this stuff, man. It's all this it's story story, story, story story story mixed with video is insanity. It's like so good.

Jake Anderson 55:54
Well, that's, you know, so getting access to your story scripts formula, we'll make sure to link that up on your podcast page. So anybody who wants to go and see this interview you know taking because as people know, I take the the interviews and I also kind of pull out these frameworks into easy to digest videos. Which is ironic because we're talking about video here and in creating that for you so you have a place to go and and and learn more about what we had talked about through this interview but also to be able to access that story scripts offer that you have just go to WWW dot introspective podcast comm backslash Chris Cunningham and that is spelled c r i s there is no h and Chris CRI s. Cunningham See you in in i n g. h. j. Did I get that right Chris?

Cris Cunningham 56:53
I'm spelling you did there's no age and Chris, we've said that three times. Now you viewer and you're still gonna type that age.

Jake Anderson 57:01
You know what, you know, type the age. I know what I'm gonna do. I'm just gonna go ahead and get back the podcast.com backslash Chris Cunningham with an H and just pointed out the page happened. It's gonna go ahead no matter how many

Cris Cunningham 57:14
times I tell people not to put the H they put the H and they look at me like, Oh, I didn't. And they and they did. It's so funny. It's a funny thing. I will say this too, I'm gonna put a put a special deal together for your your viewers. And that way, they get a better rate on that, too. They can look at it. And you know, it's obviously a product I sell. So I have a business wrapped around all this stuff. But I'll put together not like jaw dropping kind of knock it out of the park deal for him. So awesome. Yeah. I mean, I can talk a little bit about that. But I'll make sure it's a hefty discount for

Jake Anderson 57:47
well, and on top of that, and I haven't figured out what this could be right now. But I'll have to up the ante and I'll throw something in there too. For anybody who goes in.

Cris Cunningham 57:55
What is it can I don't know? I

Jake Anderson 57:57
don't know. Yes? Do

Announcer 57:58
I get it?

Jake Anderson 57:58
secret? Just gonna have to wait and say you have to go You have to go to a website. And if you put in an age and Chris Cunningham, if you put an agent Chris, you're not getting it. That's you have to spell it correctly. If you want this thing that that nobody knows what it is yet, but there's going to be another so

Cris Cunningham 58:14
you've literally just given a reward to someone because they spelled My name right.

Jake Anderson 58:21
It's a perk we'll just call it a perk. We're gonna give a perk okay. runaway front incentivize correct spelling of Chris Cunningham on the pocket. Awesome. Awesome, man. Well, yeah, that sounds great. And again, that you know, it's introspective podcast.com backslash Chris Cunningham with no h and in there again. I park everything there. It's it's Chris's home in my home of introspective podcast where you've got this interview, you got the videos, you have, you know, show notes, you have links to the things that he's doing. And the last question, Chris, before we sign off here is how can people connect with you?

Cris Cunningham 59:00
They can connect with me at support at video creation. academy.com that's the that's the best way. Chris Cunningham spelled with no age on social you can find me there. I'm probably the only one maybe there's another but with without the H so

Jake Anderson 59:16
you think you're that's not

Cris Cunningham 59:17
me? Just being clever. By the way my mom did that. All right. I'm not just being clever.

Jake Anderson 59:22
I thought you changed your name to Chris with no

Cris Cunningham 59:24
No, no, no, no.

Thanks. Okay. Thanks for making me look bad. No, my mom did.

Jake Anderson 59:33
She was like What should we name them Chris with New Age that's that's gonna end people will miss l His names and website links from here on out.

Cris Cunningham 59:42
Unfortunately, that's a story for another day. But there's a long story why there's no h in my name. Well,

Jake Anderson 59:49
I'm for another day. I would love to hear that story because I always find it interesting like how people come up with names for their kids. And I'm actually named after john wayne. I guess big Jake or something for john wayne to john. My mom told me this. I never really watched john wayne or that was Yeah, I think was that the name of the show or the old?

Cris Cunningham 1:00:10
I don't know much about him.

Jake Anderson 1:00:12
Yeah. I just know him named after him. I believe

Cris Cunningham 1:00:15
his real name is Marian by the way.

Jake Anderson 1:00:18
Oh, really? Okay. Well, that's good enough.

Cris Cunningham 1:00:21
That's a line in my film squat. We're talking about john wayne. And that comes up Marian. I didn't write that. I wrote this co wrote it. But my writing partner wrote this bit with about john wayne. It's pretty funny.

Jake Anderson 1:00:33
I'll say,

hey, when is that coming out, by the way.

Cris Cunningham 1:00:36
So squat is in post production right now, we've, we still have special effects. It's a sci fi comedy. And we have special effects, music, audio mixing color correction. But we're, in fact, we're editing all this week. So hopefully, we get a picture lock. They call that picture lock in the biz, where you finish editing, and then it goes to everybody else. All the special effects audio, music and, and the score is starting to come in. We're having bits of the score come in. It's awesome. So good, weird and fun.

Jake Anderson 1:01:09
That's exciting. We'll keep you posted on that. When that when that gets out and any way we can support just let me know. Thanks. So Alright, well, Chris, thanks for being here. And for my listeners. Thanks for tuning in for two days daily deep dive here on the introspective podcast. And I will see you tomorrow on the next episode. All right. Cool, man. Cool. That was that was a good start. Hopefully you don't

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Welcome back to another week full of deep dives! We are celebrating Content Creators Week here on the Introspective. Throughout this week, we’re going to interview people who have been successful in creating engaging and awesome content for the audience and their followers. Likewise, we’ll also delve into the different topics and principles that will surely help you in creating better content and materials for your viewers and subscribers. To start this week, we have Cris Cunnigham on board here in the Introspective to talk about the power of storytelling in business, sales, and marketing.

With a M.A. in Film Directing and Screenwriting, Cris has nearly twenty years’ experience in the film and television industry. His credits in producing and writing more than 40 nationally and globally televised documentaries is just the tip of the iceberg as he founded a production company in 2007 that produced, shot, marketed and distributed over 100 short films which garnered millions in downloads and viewerships. Cris completed several feature screenplays and documentaries as a writer and producer which includes Vacant House, which was screened at Festival de Cannes despite having a minimal budget and no star power. Amidst all of this, Cris founded Video Marketing Unleashed, where he helps businesses and entrepreneurs tell the story of their product, brand or service through the power of online video. Don’t miss this episode as Cris shares his experiences in video marketing and storytelling and how all this really ties in together.

What You'll Learn

  • Using the power of storytelling to connect deeper to your audience
  • How to position yourself in order to build trust and authority
  • Converting your audience into lifelong customers
  • Apply The Hero's Journey for Marketing

There's no seven impressions to make a brand. It's one story to make a brand.

-Cris Cunningham

Cris breaks down the 9 Step Framework to using The Hero's Journey Framework for Empowering your Marketing with StoryTelling

Connect with Cris Cunningham

Story Scripts Formula

BOOST Your Marketing Performance with the Story Scripts Formula

Follow this Podcast

Thank you for taking a deep dive on today’s episode of the Introspective Podcast.  If you found this episode to be interesting, valuable, and provided some fresh perspective for your entrepreneur journey - then head on over to Itunes to subscribe and leave a review with your feedback.  If you’re not an Apple user, then feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts.  Your feedback is paramount to the success of this show, and provides direction for how I can best serve you.

-Your friendly Podcast Host, Jake Anderson 

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