We Asked for Your 6-Word Filmmaking Stories, and You Delivered

On Tuesday afternoon, as we unveiled Storybuilder 3.0 in front of nearly 500 people, I had the distinct pleasure of judging a contest designed to push everyone's creativity to the limits.

With three of our favorite pieces of filmmaking gear up for grabs, Patrick asked the attendees three simple questions.

  1. What's your greatest storytelling hurdle?
  2. What's your favorite storytelling moment?
  3. What's your biggest filmmaking fail?

Now here's the twist. In order to win, contestants had to answer these questions in the form of a story, and they had to limit that story to only six words.

The inspiration for this seemingly impossible task comes from an old tale about Ernest Hemingway. When a group of his contemporaries bet him that he couldn't tell a compelling story in six words, Hemingway fell silent. He then grabbed a napkin, scribbled something on it, and slid that napkin to the center of the table. It said...

“For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn”

Needless to say, Papa Hemingway won the bet. He also proved that storytelling need not be lengthy or complex in order to be effective.

So, armed with our inspirational Hemingway story, and with an audience of filmmakers ready to strut their creativity, we put them to the test.

What followed was excellent. Some of the stories were wise and poetic, others hilarious, and some were genuinely profound. So without any ado, here are some great six word stories about your experiences as a filmmaker.

What Is Your Greatest Storytelling Hurdle?

In our first round, up for grabs was a Shootsac, a handy bag for keeping your most-used lenses readily available (but still protected) when you're shooting.

Here are the runner-up stories:

  • "Controlling clients, excessive cooks, no guts." -Bill Worley
  • "Clock ticks. Pen full of ink." Joshua Wartels
  • "Many thoughts. Magical words. Depressingly discombobulated." -Kimberly Cope
  • "It's all been done before. Stop." -Rachelle Bendixen
  • "The inability to organize my thoughts." -Jodi Trudeau

And here's the winning story:

“One idea, stuck in eternal paralysis.”
— Nate Scronce

Nate struck a poetic and relatable chord with this one. Anybody who does creative work has big ideas they want to pursue. But we often don't take action for any number of reasons. Maybe the idea isn't quite "perfect" yet, or maybe the idea is good but we don't feel capable of executing it properly. Either way, the "eternal paralysis" is a real thing.

What's Your Favorite Storytelling Moment?

In our second round, things got even more heated. Contestants vied for a Rode RodeLink wireless lav, one of the staples in our sound kits.

Here were the runners-up:

  • "They get it. REALLY get it!" -Kimberly Cope
  • "No Concept of Time, Fully Immersed." - Matt Weatherly
  • "Trapped in Elevator with Scary Clowns" -Thom Wineland
  • "When pieces from different puzzles fit." -Fruit Tree Studios
  • "Aha! Single threads meet, creating wonder." -Andrew Keaveney
  • "Revealing the conflict. Dum Dum Dum!!!" -Joel & Jess

And the winner...

“That was unexpected, my worldview expanded.”
— John Detweiler

I'm a huge fan of John's answer here because it gets at the heart of what makes storytelling so powerful. It's not just about telling stories for the sake of entertaining people. It's about giving the audience something they haven't seen before that will enable them to see the world in a new way.

What's Your Greatest Filmmaking Fail?

We saved the best question for last, and also the best piece of gear. For this one, we gave away a Cinevate Duzi 4 slider, which has a design and performance unlike any other slider on the market. This thing rocks.

Here were the runners-up:

  • "Got the shot. Missed the story." -Joshua Bartels
  • "Finally arrived. Forgot to push record." -Ryan Morrison
  • "Fear of Imperfection, Paralysis by Analysis." -Brendan Morgan
  • "Striving for perfection when perfection's fiction." -Derek Armitage
  • "Backed the van over the gear." -@lyndiemagoo

And here's the winning story:

Old Turkish beekeeper’s secrets... mic off.
— Claire Bangser

The reason I chose Claire's story is that it had the highest stakes of the bunch, hands down. If anybody knows the meaning of the universe, it's the old Turkish beekeeper. So, remember everybody, when you're in such a situation, remember to hit record and check your levels.


Go ahead, pick one of the questions (or all three of them) and hit us with your best 6-word story.

Oh, and if you're interested in winning any of this gear (or even a MōVI M5), there's still time to get in on our giant giveaway. Just head over to this page and share the latest version of Storybuilder with your filmmaking peeps. You could win all the gear listed here and then some. Best of luck!