How to use our free training course to use visual storytelling to speed up Carbon Drawdown, benefit your organisation, and improve your communication skills
- This article is part of a series of linked articles See Through News used to train its volunteer citizen journalists in how to create high quality video reports on zero budget.
- Our Global Reporter Intensive Training (GRIT) programme is designed for complete novices of all ages. Trainees require no more than a smartphone and internet access.
- GRIT is suitable for self-study or for use in groups, and like all See Through News resources are open source and free to use (but please acknowledge See Through News if you do).
Here’ our suggested sequence to read these GRIT articles:
- GRIT User’s Guide: (this article) an overview of the course and how you can use it
- How To Tell Video Stories: visual storytelling basics
- Free Carbon Drawdown Activisation Resources: some ideas to stimulate your ideas
- How To Plan A Video: for video, as for life, good preparation saves time and frustration
- How To Shoot A Video: 3 Rules: basics for acquiring good images and sound
- How To Edit A Video: 5 Steps: basics for clear visual storytelling
Want to Speed Up Carbon Drawdown? Want to help make in Inactive Active? Want to add video storytelling to your personal portfolio of skills? This article outlines how See Through New’s free online training programme can help.
What is GRIT?
The See Through News Global Reporter Intensive Training (GRIT) programme basics:
- Free Video Making Training: a free, open source, online resource for anyone who wants to acquire basic video-making skills.
- Created by Experts: GRIT is designed by veteran international news journalists and documentary filmmakers, with decades of experience in ethical journalism, filmmaking, mentoring and online training.
- Practical: GRIT is designed to efficiently train novices to become more effective climate activists, minimising theoretical background and encouraging self-learning through practical experience.
- Flexible: GRIT can be delivered online or in person in groups by experienced See Through News volunteer mentors. Filmmaking is best done collaboratively, so we recommend at least two people doing the course together, but it can be delivered at any scale from a single person teaching themselves, to large groups. It can be 100% self-taught, or with varying degrees of STN support. It can take as little as a week, or as long as participants require.
- Accessible, Diverse, Inclusive: STN doesn’t exclude anyone from participating in any of its projects. There are many video making courses available online, including some free ones, but GRIT is uniquely aimed at Global South trainees with limited technical resources and internet connectivity. Even so, the skills GRIT teaches are visual storytelling fundamentals, which apply to novices with a smartphone, and professionals with all the latest equipment alike.
What results can I expect?
We set ourselves a challenge for our pilot GRIT project: remotely teaching 75 children aged 10-15, from the Angel’s Home Education Centre, in the Nairobi slum area of Mathare. Their total resources were:
- 5 teachers
- 4 cheap smartphones with limited storage
- two laptops
- intermittent broadband
Using the online resources you’re now looking at, and around 90 minutes a day of online teaching and Q&A, the students divided into groups of 5.
For the Pilot we set them the Goal of making a 2-3 minute video report that identified a particular local carbon emissions problem, and describe their idea for a business that could address this problem. We called it the GRIT Net Zero Challenge.
The crash course schedule for the 15 teams was:
- Day 1: Storytelling basics using the Broken Telephone and Postcard games described in How To Tell Video Stories. Using the Free Carbon Drawdown Activisation Resources article, Research global problems/solutions to one of 5 net zero areas: Building, Water, Food, Transport and Plastic.
- Day 2: look around their neighbourhood, perform vox pop interviews with local residents, transcribe/translate them using the GRIT Interview Transcript template (free download) and come up with a viable plan for a business that would apply a net zero solution to local conditions. Fill out a GRIT Story Idea template (free download).
- Day 3: having read the How To Plan A Video article, translate the GRIT Story Idea into the GRIT Script template. Based on the How To Shoot A Video: 3 Rules article, start picture and sound elements based on the Script Draft 1 (free download).
- Day 4: Use the How To Edit A Video: 5 Steps article to do an Assembly edit, seek feedback, rewrite/reshoot for a Rough Cut edit.
- Day 5: Fine-tune the video to a Fine Cut edit, seek feedback, refine a Final Cut script and deliver the video.
We don’t recommend such a tight schedule – two weeks would allow more time to build up via other training projects such as How To Live Without Plastic and the Vox Pox Project. This pilot crash course, however, demonstrates what can be achieved, remotely, with very limited resources, under the most demanding of circumstances.
You can see the results in the GRIT Net Zero Challenge Playlist on the See Through News YouTube channel. Here’s one example:
How can I use the skills GRIT teaches me?
We hope anyone using this online course will use their skills to volunteer to help See Through News in its mission to measurably reduce carbon, but there’s no obligation (see Why is GRIT free? below).
The basic visual storytelling skills GRIT teaches can be applied in many other ways – some examples:
- Fund-raising/ personal income by creating advertisements for other people
- Promotion of your own projects
- Video submissions for funding applications
- Training others using the GRIT course to expand capacity in your organisation
- Making fun videos to entertain friends and family
We hope you’ll also be able to apply your new skills to volunteer for See Through News projects, but encourage you to apply them elsewhere too.
GRIT teaches you the fundamentals, but more than most skills, video making improves with practice. Tricks you acquire by making ads for local businesses or fun stuff for social media will make you a better STN volunteer citizen journalist, and vice versa.
Who is See Through News?
See Through News is a social media network with the Goal of Speeding Up Carbon Drawdown by Helping the Inactive Become Active.
See Through News is not just non-profit, but zero budget. It has no bank account, and it is entirely run by volunteers.
Our Brains Trustees are world experts in a variety of fields from social media, branding, digital marketing, storytelling, AI, graphic design, journalism, education, filmmaking etc. They volunteer their time and experience to discover how much can be done to measurably reduce carbon, without using any money.
- a laser-like focus on outcomes that can measurably reduce carbon
- a complex, sophisticated storytelling approach that frames carbon-reduction to as many people as possible, in as palatable a way as possible
In general, our methodology mentions ‘the C word’ (i.e. Carbon) as little and as late as possible. Ideally we don’t need to mention it at all, as the most effective activism of all incentivizes ordinary people to adopt carbon-reducing behaviours for other reasons, like saving money, making themselves and their families safer, improving their health, contributing to their community, etc.
STN isn’t bothered how carbon is reduced, only that it is, and that there’s a way of measuring how much.
More details on STN’s Goal, Methodology, Brand, approach to Money, and target audience can be found on our website.
The Three-Headed Beasts is a short video that explains how we see the challenges to carbon drawdown, while exemplifying our storytelling-based approach.
What do I need to use GRIT?
GRIT is designed to be accessible to as many people as possible, particularly those in Global South environments with limited access to tech, hardware and the internet.
Minimum requirements are:
- A smartphone with a camera
- Internet access
- Capacity to download a free video editing app to your phone
If 3. Is a challenge, let us know and we may be able to provide volunteer edits to help you, so long as you can find a way to send us your digital video files and text documents.
Why is GRIT free?
We don’t want money to be an obstacle to ordinary people taking effective climate action.
All these online resources are available to anyone with an internet connection.
Where possible, STN will provide volunteers to supervise, train and mentor online.
If organisations who can afford to pay want STN-trained trainers to supervise GRIT training courses in person, that’s fine.
What will GRIT teach me?
- The fundamentals of how to conceive, plan and make an engaging, effective video
- The basics of ethical, fact-based journalism
- Storytelling tricks to improve communication
Will I get support?
STN-run courses will provide one or more experienced See Through News volunteers to lead trainees through the course, troubleshoot, provide feedback, and generally mentor all participants.
If you’re doing this on your own, See Through News can still provide remote support. Just email GRIT@seethroughnews.org, and our trained volunteers will get back to you as soon as we can.
Will I get a certificate?
Yes. Any trainee completing a course supervised by See Through News volunteers will receive a certificate from See Through News.
While we recognise such certificates are important motivators and useful to add to job applications, we hope that the best credentials you can offer will be the videos you’ve created yourselves.
Not everyone knows how to make a good video, but we can all appreciate one when we see it. The best proof of your newly-acquired skills will be the videos you make our our GRIT course, and beyond.
How do I start?
Read the articles below in order, once, to get an overall feel of the course.
Then return to the first article, and follow the instructions.
If you want to join a See Through News-mentored course, fill out this Application form letting us know your resources, what time zone you’re in, and when you might be available, and we’ll let you know when the next appropriate one is available to you.
If you or your organisation can afford to pay for a See Through News trainer to conduct a GRIT course on-site and can afford to pay, email GRIT@seethroughnew.org.
- Read the See Through News Global Reporter Intensive Training (GRIT) introduction.
- If you’re looking for inspiration for the subject of your video, start with our Free Carbon Drawdown Activisation Resources article.
- How To Plan Your Video
- Then How To Shoot a Video Interview: 3 Rules (For more complex videos, also read How To Shoot a Sequence).
- How To Edit A Video In 5 Steps (including a link to Advanced Video Editing, for one you’ve grasped the basics)
For more information email: GRIT@seethroughnews.org