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By Khai Johannes Jan 12, 2024
Lights, camera, action! We live in a world where we can take anyone from anywhere around the world with us on an adventure of a lifetime. The challenge is, how do we tell a story worth their time?
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You don’t need Scorses’s budget or resume to tell a story, nor do you need content exceeding a minute (thanks to Tik-Tok and our ever diminishing attention spans. A chicken or egg debate for another time), you simply need a camera and a little desire. No matter what form your film story takes or the platform its shared on, there are tried and true structures to creating something captivating and worthy of a standing ovation… or a ‘smashing of the like button!’ 


Know the elements

Just like a Captain Planet rerun, we’ll be focused on five elements and those are: plot, setting, characters, point of view and conflict. These elements are what differentiate Travis Rice’s Fourth Phase from the compeletion of clips you scroll through on Instagram. Yes, the insane clips of Travis slashing knee deep lines and jumping off features most of us wouldn’t sneeze near stand on their and could garnish thousands of views. However, the threads binding these clips develop a timeless story worthy of rewatching each winter. 

Plot: Travis chases a wind and water weather system that drops snow from Siberia to Alaska

Setting: The north pacific ocean

Character: The legend Travis Rice with appearances from of Bryan Iguchi, Mikkle Bang and others  

POV: Travis’ first person perspective  

Conflict: Attempting to chase a snow system

Your snapchat story can be a random array for clips, or you can take viewers from your the boutique hotel in Ogden, to the top of Powder Mountain with the goal of finding untouched snow. Think about how much easier it is to exit a series of random clips than it is to leave a story. A well told story will keep your viewers engaged and curious to see how it unfolds.

Frame it up nice!

Most of the principals from our Shoot like a pro article carry over from stills to film. Concepts like use of foreground, background, light and angles. Click the link and refresh your framing!


B Roll

B Roll is the supplemental footage that is intercut from the main footage. This goes a long way in visually conveying details of your story. Compile clips throughout your day that accompany points or energies you’d like to illustrate. Telling your viewers you have a run to yourself paired with shots of your surroundings without anyone else in frame allow the audience to feel that moment of solitude with you.


Keep rolling

There are a lot of magic moments that happen between rail slides and white room face shots. It might be the wonder on a characters face with what they’ve just seen or the celebration of a group on the chair above from watching you send a big feature. Being too quick to cut can cost you priceless moments.

Film Lifestyle

We’re all here for the mountain and plan to bag the fast and sexy downhill shots. However, the lifestyle you’re living in the surrounding moments of powder shots are just as intricate to the overall story. Did you wake up in a van or a hotel? Is this adventure more après or dirt bag? Are you refueling with a meal from High West Distillery and Saloon or a quick stop at a 7/11? Are you rehydrating with Body Armor, a Juicy Ipa or just high quality H2O? Lifestyle is a great way to identify with your audience and give them a reason to cheer for you through the downhill portion. 



Books have chapters, days have fading lights and trees have the changing of their leaves. These are all indications of a change ahead. Often in crafting your story there will be dramatic changes (location, activity, etc) where using a solid transition can cue the audience a large change in store. 

All editing softwares will have the option of adding transitions post filming, but these can also be done during filming. One transition made popular by Youtubers is ending a scene by touching the lens (to the point of blacking out the screen) and starting the next scene by pulling the hand away (revealing). Keep an eye out for natural transitions that can be built into the edit. A personal favorite of mine is using a white out from powder to transition to the next scene. 

No matter the platform you upload to, no matter what camera you’re filming with, if you keep these elements in mind while telling your story you’ll be sure to keep your audience engaged and craft a story you’re proud to share. 

Check out Ski Utah's Brand Anthem video while keeping the above in mind. Watch how a video without any spoken words; conveys the elements of a story, builds beautiful frames, the use of B-Roll, adding life style moments and the masterful use of transitions.