Do you and your story suffer from F.I.P.S?

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F.I.P.S – or "Find It In Post Syndrome" – affects far too many filmmakers.

Current estimates out of the CDC suggest that as many as 7 in 8 filmmakers have been affected by the illness at some point in their career.

As a filmmaker myself, I had a long period where I too suffered from F.I.P.S. And when I got hit, I had to endure all of the common symptoms:

  • The debilitating lethargy that plagues you through the post-production process
  • Mood swings and depressive episodes, often feeling like you totally missed the story and opportunity
  • Constant self-doubt and anxiety over whether any of the deadlines can be met

It's time we, as filmmakers, stop suffering in silence.

To help get the message out there, we've put together a short PSA about F.I.P.S


If you, or a filmmaker you know, suffers from F.I.P.S, here are some remedies. As always, you should consult your doctor about the treatment plan that is right for you.

1. Always have a clear and agreed upon objective before you show up to shoot.

At Muse, we prescribe the Keyword method for defining the purpose of your story. But even just a one-sentence objective can go such a long way in helping you avoid F.I.P.S. Answer the question: why are we making this film?

Develop the objective by interviewing, off camera, at least three people related to the story. These are informal information gathering suggestions. Understand their desires, their conflicts, and ask what they'd hope this film would do for them.

A solid objective for your film must contain three critical elements:

  • A clear audience: Who is this film supposed to speak to?
  • A single action: What do you want viewers to do? And no, they can't donate money, and sign up for an email list, and share with their friends, and write their local congress. One action will always drive far more results.
  • A single sentence: Most struggle with this part. If you can't clarify the objective in one sentence then you don't get it yet. In other words, if you can't clearly express the objective in a single sentence then you'll surely not be able to clearly connect the viewer inside your story. 
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For example, say you're working for a local real estate agent and creating a short film. You define the objective as:

This film is intended to encourage prospective home sellers in the Detroit area to set up a consultation with Core Real Estate.  
— The Film Objective

After defining the objective, it's time for you, as the storyteller, to communicate the objective back to your client for approval and alignment.

It's critical to ensure your client is on board. Once you have their buy-in, keep that objective in mind; use it as your filter to determine what you shoot, and how you shoot it.

2. Know what type of story you're telling, and how to tell it.

Once you have the objective in hand, it's time to sort out which type of story will best get you there.

It turns out there are actually 7 types of stories that can be used in the vast majority of videos. Knowing which story to tell to meet that objective is the critical next step.

Here's a recap of the 7 Types of Stories:


The Origin Story

The story of how something came to life. This is a story that shares how a business or nonprofit was started. This type of story helps to create a deeper brand connection while also fostering trust in your mission. The Origin Story and/or the Why Story are great for the about us page of your website, whether in writing or as a video.


A Values Story

This is a story of who you are as a person. It demonstrates a personal quality or strength that is core to who you are. The Values story is great for talks, presentations, and pitches as a powerful way to connect the audience to you as a person.


The Why Story

This is a story of why you do what you do or why you connect with a certain project, person, or topic that you’re pursuing. It's a powerful way of building trust around your intentions with your clients and/or colleagues.


A Vision Story

This is a story that portrays your vision for a nonprofit, business, idea or cause in a way that others can see it too. In contrast to the Origin Story, which shows how you got here, the Vision Story shows where you are headed. The Vision Story is all about making your path incredible tangible so that your team, investors, or crew are all deeply connected to the mission.


A Teaching Story

A Teaching Story is one that is used to share a lesson or educate somebody on the why and how of a new skill. A Teaching Story is one of the best ways of imparting knowledge. By using story, it becomes far more engaging and emotionally felt, which greatly increases the chances that your audience will actually get the lesson, as well as remember it.


An Impact Story

This is a story of how a company or nonprofit has made an impact. It is often thought of as a case study or a testimonial, but what's critical to understand is that a great Impact Story will go beyond talking about the impact and develop a strong character and journey as well.

The Impact Story is a great way for you to show the ROI of what you do and as a way of demonstrating the value of your offering. 


An Objections Story

This is a story that first validates, and then reframes, others' objections. This is commonly used in a sales environment where you can understand the client's objection to making such a large investment or in following your approach to crafting their video. In many ways, it is like a Teaching Story – however, it's a very specific case where the lesson is focused on overcoming a known objection in the mind of your audience.

Once you have a clear objective and you know the type of story you're looking to tell, you've already overcome half the battle of fighting F.I.P.S.

The path to recovery can be rather long and arduous. Hang in there. On the other side is a world of intentional storytelling, one that's often described as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You'll shoot less. You'll edit quick. You'll experience far fewer revisions. You, your team, and your clients will experience an all-time low amount of conflict.

Here at Muse, we are appalled at the current level of care for those suffering from F.I.P.S. So much so that we feel compelled to do something about it. As we brainstormed the best way to tackle the problem in a large way, we came to the belief that online education would be our best route.

And so we're developing an entire course that takes you from how to meet with your client, decide on the story to tell, and then build it step-by-step. In this way, you show up knowing just what you need to shoot.

But we want to ensure that this course, and its impact, is truly the best it can be. So we're looking for 100 filmmakers to join as a private-beta, offering a huge discount in exchange for your feedback to help develop and improve the content.

F.I.P.S is real. 

But together, we can make a difference. If you'd like to get actively involved in helping us develop a cure, learn more about our private-beta right here.