The Blog


The goal of video storytelling is to produce a compelling piece that impacts the viewer. What is the best way to accomplish that? Pick a singular character to focus on.

Recently, we partnered with Read Charlotte to follow one such character. Mary provides the main voice in the piece to express why volunteers are important to Read Charlotte and how they can leave a lasting impact on a child’s life.

Read Charlotte is a ten-year (2015-2025) initiative that unites children, educators and partners to improve children’s literacy from an early age through third grade. Their goal is to double the percentage of third graders reading on grade level from 39% in 2015 to 80% by 2025.

Creative Specialist Austin Huddy joins Co-Founder Jarod Latch to share the thinking and execution behind the video.

The Idea

Austin’s goal was to tell the story and express emotion by eliminating sound in the first 30 seconds of the
piece. This was done to captivate the audience and leave them wanting more. What is Mary’s role in this organization? Why is everyone greeting her while smiling ear to ear?

By having an introduction that allows the viewer’s mind to wonder is an effective way to strike up interest right off the bat. On the flip side, having the message be too direct out the gate can squash this curiosity. In the case of Read Charlotte, we wanted to create the opposite. We wanted to arouse curiosity not only about the organization, but also have the viewer ask — how can I help?

The Execution

The success of this particular project stems from the time spent on pre-production. Austin met with the Read Charlotte team and the main character, Mary Bowman.  The presence of the main character, who is speaking and driving the video, in the creative meetings really helped set the tone for the project.

Why is pre-production a critical piece in the puzzle?

  • Meet the key characters and understand their purpose
  • Creative gets to know interviewee and vice versa, creating comfortability between all parties
  • Establish the tone and emotion that will be driving the project

What our Partners are Saying:

“There are lots of video storytelling companies out there but there just isn’t anyone who does it quite like Spiracle. I knew this latest piece would be great but (as usual) Austin and team exceeded all of my expectations. It’s the perfect example of how they are able to capture something that easily could have turned out sort of ordinary — tutors, kids in a school, etc– and make it extremely powerful. It has moved every single person who has watched it thus far.

The process of working with Spiracle is always collaborative and they truly listen to what we think we want out of it, but I also believe giving them the freedom to be creative is what takes it to the next level. That’s when the Spiracle magic really happens.”

– Elise Esasky, Communications Manager at Read Charlotte

We like to think that everything we do at Spiracle Media is done intentionally. We work toward the intended result by putting the necessary building blocks in place. At least we hope that’s the case. There is a prominent “why” in how we have assembled our team. It’s this “why” that supports our collective belief that we’re better than most when it comes to telling stories.

We’re a video content agency built to tell stories by using our journalistic background. The word “journalistic” is the differentiator. Our team is comprised of a number of former journalists and media minds, 6 of our 14 team members to be exact. Those that haven’t walked that treacherous path themselves have been empowered and influenced by that experience.

Let me clarify, we don’t just hire anyone with a TV background. We hire former journalists, news reporters, etc that understand the process of storytelling and shoot cinematically. Here are five reasons why former journalists, and specifically our team, excel in the storytelling environment.

Ask The Right Questions

Most video storytelling pieces are driven by real people. Real interviews. It is imperative in those settings that you ask the right questions that support the story. So often, interviewers spend a bulk of the time asking about points that have no chance of making it into the video. Pick 3-4 focal points and build around that. Keep it simple.

Follow the Story

Sometimes the best story is yet to be uncovered, but you have to be willing to follow the story. A good journalist looks for hints and when they see something that might enhance the piece, they poke and prod (in a polite way of course.) This can lead to emotional and compelling content that would have been left hidden.

Adaptability in the Field

Most people don’t like change. Former journalists thrive in a fast-paced and ever changing environment. This promotes a sense of peace with our partners when adversity enters the picture. It also allows us to keep an open mind. BTW – crunch time doesn’t bother us either.

Building a Story

A number of companies and individuals can shoot beautiful video, but they struggle to tell a story using what they’ve captured. It’s common these days to see something that resembles a music video with little or no narrative attached. Former journalists have the ability to select the right sound bites and add the rest of the elements in a way that brings forth emotion and personality.

Standing Out

Quality of storytelling matters more than ever. Everyone is adding video to the mix and they should. With that being the case, it’s time to trust those that tell the story best. A background in journalism mixed with a thorough understanding of the storytelling process, plenty of experience and strong dose of cinematography is a winning combination.

See more of our work here.

Do you often wonder how to maximize your investment in content marketing? Queens University is a prime example of getting the most bang for their buck, especially when it comes to video. After listening to this conversation, you are bound to learn a few tips and tricks on how to best leverage your content.

Welcome Whitney Combs to the Hive Life podcast. Whitney is a seasoned marketing professional with years of experience in the agency world. She is currently working on the client side as the Executive Director of Marketing & Communications at Queens University in Charlotte.

We sat down with Whitney to discuss the mixed use of storytelling for higher education, from long-form singular student stories to short-form content for advertising purposes. Video has played a pivotal role in showcasing the impact Queens University is making on its students.

The results of their marketing campaigns that include video have exceeded their expectations. It’s fascinating to learn the different avenues Queens has been using their video content, from admissions to fundraising events to advertising.

Thank you for joining us Whitney and giving a lot of quality information to our listeners.

Listen to the full conversation below or click here to download the podcast on iTunes!

On this episode:

Jarod Latch, Co-Founder & Director of Creative Content
Tim Baier, Co-Founder & Director of Business Development
Whitney Combs, Executive Director of Marketing Communications at Queens University of Charlotte

Meet our entire team.