How do I create a strong STORYHIVE application?
You’re all signed up and ready to apply—but how do you create the strongest application possible? In this article, we’ll walk you through some tips and tricks for the key portions of your application to ensure that your submission shines.
Let’s get started!
One of the best things you can do to strengthen your application is to read (and then reread) the edition’s Submission Guidelines, FAQs and these guides. These resources will give you a clear idea of what we’re looking for when it comes to eligibility and content. Becoming familiar with the Edition will help you shape your pitch and speak directly to the Edition’s themes and requirements.
In the next sections, we’ll tackle some of the submission sections individually, but we always recommend referring back to these resources—and your own artistic voice and passion—when you put together your STORYHIVE application.
A short summary of your story idea in 120 characters or less, your logline helps set the tone for the rest of your application. A strong logline entices us to read more. Dive into the heart of your project, whether that’s a teaser of what makes your story unique, the question your project will ask or a juicy hook.
Here are some examples of great loglines. Get creative and make it your own:
The O Show: Vancouver resident profiles the extraordinary life of Orene Askew, a local Black, Indigenous, two spirited leader.
Angels on Call: In Vancouver, two local street nurses forego retirement to help battle the Downtown Eastside's opioid crisis.
You’ve got us hooked with the logline, now expand it out and tell us more! A strong synopsis balances giving a broad overview and sharing specific, compelling details. By definition, a synopsis is brief, so it’s those precise details that will help us quickly understand your project—and why it stands out. When drafting your synopsis, think about the roots of your story, the aspects that ground it. We also recommend incorporating how your story is locally reflective. Let us know where this story takes place!
For documentaries, the program must be fair and balanced. Try and use this space to give us insight into how you'll represent all the stakeholders in the documentary.
Remember! STORYHIVE projects must stay under a PG rating. Make sure your synopsis stays G or PG-friendly, too.
Here are some examples:
The O Show: This documentary will look a the work and life of Orene Askew as a motivational speaker, DJ and inspiration to youth and her many peers in Vancouver. Through interviews and footage we will see her work in the communities Orene is a part of. Orene will reflect on her life as an Afro / indigenous two spirited leader. She will share her involvement in the Indigenous community and her work with the Squamish Nation Council by bringing opportunities to her community.
Angels on Call: In 2016, nurses Evanna Brennan and Susan Giles came out of retirement in response to the opioid crisis in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). Today, at age 73 and 67 respectively, they provide full time care to a myriad of desperately sick, addicted and mentally ill people living in decrepit hotels or on the street. The need for care in the DTES has soared during the Covid-19 pandemic; social isolation protocols have led to more than 100 overdoses a month. Angels on Call not only highlights the worsening opioid crisis, told through the eyes of Brennan and Giles, but the love and emotional support they give their patients, many of whom have no one but the nurses to care for them.
Inclusion happens both in front of and behind the camera. When drafting your inclusion statement, be attentive to both spaces and tell us how you’re committing to inclusion across your production. Inclusion statements don’t have to be long or fancy. What’s more important is to be direct, honest and specific. Check out this great article from Seed&Spark for eight examples of effective inclusion statements.
Image card and box art
A strong image card and box art conveys the project’s visual style, and immediately grabs our attention. Treat it like a visual teaser! Get us excited to click through to your project and see it in action.
As these images will be resized, ensure that the text is legible (optional, if there is project title included) and well contrasted against its background. And, of course, make sure you only use images you own the rights to.
You can see great examples of title cards and box art by viewing the project pages of My Father's Footsteps and No Filter.
My Father's Footsteps - box art
My Father's Footsteps - image card
No Filter - box art
No Filter - image card
A pitch video might sound intimidating, but it’s nothing to be afraid of. Anyone can make an amazing pitch video. Your pitch video should answer three questions: Why this story? Why Now? Why you? We want to support stories that haven’t been heard before, by communities that know how to tell them best. Highlight why you’re the best person to tell this story. Share your personal connection to the story and community, what your team offers and why this idea is new, fresh and relevant. We want to know why this story needs to be told now, and why we should be so excited to be on board.
It’s really all about the basics. Ensure your pitch video is no longer than 60 seconds and has clear audio. If you’re using your phone to film your pitch video, remember to hold it horizontally. Prepare, practice and then let your passion come through!
Here are two examples of pitch videos we loved:
For great advice on pitching your pitches, check out these resources:
Let’s get personal. Show us how you fit into this story. Why is this story important to you? Why are you the best person to tell this story? What is your connection to the community involved? For example, if the story is culturally specific, what is your connection to the culture your project seeks to represent?
For projects involving Indigenous communities, cultures, concepts and stories, we encourage applicants to consult the Indigenous Screen Office’s On Screen Protocols & Pathways before answering this question.
Most things that are included in a traditional treatment are already part of the rest of your STORYHIVE application. The draft treatment for your application is a chance for you to tell us more about your project. The treatment should be no more than 3 pages, keep it simple. You can use visuals if you wish to.
If you are submitting a documentary project, here are some suggestions for what to include in your draft treatment:
What’s the main question you’re seeking to answer in your documentary?
How do you plan to tell the story visually?
What do you hope the audience learns or understands from watching the Documentary?
Are there any specific events that you want to cover during the film? (Keep your rough cut delivery date in mind).
Who do you plan to interview? Are they confirmed?
Why do you want to include them in the film?
What do you plan to ask them?
Do they transform during the film?
What do we learn from them?
If you are submitting a fictional (scripted) project (for those editions that accept fictional projects), these are some suggestions for what to include in your draft treatment:
How does your story begin? How are you introducing the story and characters to your audience?
What is the conflict? What problem are the characters trying to solve?
How does it get resolved?
How do you plan to tell the story visually?
Who are the characters? Give us a brief description of each main character.
Anyone can put together an amazing application, and we hope these tips, tricks and examples have helped you hone in on how you want to share your story. So get pitching! We can’t wait to hear all about your project.