Behind the Work is a series by Filmsupply that brings you lessons from leading creatives where they share essential techniques they bring to their work. All shot from their own homes or studios, Behind the Work brings you an entirely new skill that you can put into practice to grow in your craft. 

In the second episode of Behind the Work, Golriz Lucina, Co-Founder and Head of Creative at SoulPancake shares her essential tips for creating content with a purpose and why it is so imperative to know the ‘why’ to find success. If you haven’t heard about SoulPancake, they’re the creative agency behind series like Kid PresidentScience of Happiness and more. Here’s Golriz.

Golriz Lucina: As the Head of Creative at SoulPancake, there’s been some things that I’ve learned in this 11-year journey. One of them is how powerful it is when you know what your mission is and you can speak to it. It enables people to join your initiative. So, getting really clear on why it is you’re creating is so crucial. There was a question about art for art’s sake and of course, if you are compelled to create, create. If you can step out of it all and think about why it matters to you, that will come through. It’s something that you can infuse the art with. I really believe that is what makes something more sticking, and more compelling when the why is really clear.

How do you balance output and quality?

I often wish people paid more attention to the details. Again, I think that it goes back to that natural tension between creating an output, the process of creation, and the process of actually getting it out into the world to be received. That’s why ultimately why we’re doing the work. If we’re just doing it to keep it in our library of content for ourselves, that’s one thing. But, if we’re actually doing it as a service, if you’re doing it because you want it to reach people, part of that is knowing when to say, it’s good enough.

What goes into creating work that matters?

A good story well told can change the world. The reality is if there is ever a way to get people thinking differently, storytelling is such a beautiful medium for that because you can take someone on an emotional journey. You can take something that someone might have no idea about and inform and educate but, also do that in a way that’s really compelling and really entertaining. 

We’re creating a piece right now for the National Domestic Workers Alliance around domestic workers and how hard COVID-19 has been on the industry. So many of them have lost their form of income, and they are often the main breadwinners of their families. This is one of those subject matters that you might not be aware of until you see the content that is Illuminating that subject matter for you — not only raising your awareness of it but, also giving you something that you can do. 

Another example I can give of content that we created and designed that led to real-world impact was a partnership we did around the homework gap. We created this piece of content that really Illustrated what the homework gap was and we did through the stakes of a rivalry between two different groups of students in front of an audience of their moms. This content was designed specifically so that you would watch it, and suddenly feel this moment ‘aha’ moment of realizing there is a problem right now in our country. Leaving you with a sense of what you can do to be a part of the solution.

Do clients really care about purpose?

What’s really exciting about where we are at right now in the history of filmmaking, storytelling, and creating content is that more and more brands, agencies, network care about purpose and purpose driven content. It’s become almost a catchphrase. Again, what you need to do is make sure that the content really is authentic to your DNA. SoulPancake has always been about hope, inspiration, and human connection. We’re not suddenly creating content focused on these ideas just because it’s “trendy” to do that during the time of COVID-19. It’s always been a part of the fabric of our blueprint.

How do art and activism work together?

Art is feeling something, activism is doing something. The key is, what do you want people to do and how can you make them feel something about that? When the two come together, it’s really fulfilling. I genuinely enjoy this part of my job. It’s the hardest part of what I do. Taking these larger-than-life issues, these really systemic problems in our world and figuring out what do I want someone to feel about this issue and what action I want them to take? If you have something to say, and you believe you’re the one that needs to say it, and you’re using the vehicle of storytelling to get that message across, then go with it. Trust that the audience will come. Those people that need to hear what you’re talking to and what you’re giving voice to will find their way to you. The key is that it cannot just be a one-and-done type of deal. 

For us, what we’ve found at SoulPancake is that consistency was key. So, we had to develop the steady drumbeat of content and an audience rallied around that. They understood that if they were ambassadors, they came along the journey with our brand at SoulPancake. That regularly they would be fed content that got them thinking deeper about their own existences, about what the world means, and about how to navigate through the world. For us, that steady drumbeat was so crucial.

Finding not only your why, but how you’re going to express your why. What is the main takeaway you want people to have after having an experience with your content? What do you want them walking away feeling? I don’t think any of this work can really happen alone and getting a short-hand with people that understand the aesthetic, the voice, the tone, what you’re trying to do. It’s so important to have a team that you can consult with and people can share their feelings, you can talk openly, and have less attachment to your ego in your ideas, but more of a shared desire to make the work great.

Learn more about Behind The Work and read the blog post from our first episode of Behind the Work, with editor Lucas Harger here. To catch each episode, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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