Consulting

Over the years, we’ve answered a lot of questions.

As interest in using media for social change grows, so do the number of questions: How can a complex, nuanced story advance change when there is no clear call to action? What kind of story is right for which movement? How can a film be framed to support a local cause? How can journalism be used as a tool for community engagement? How can philanthropists get ahead of trends in the media world?

With a range of expertise — including media trend-spotting, fundraising, strategic communications, partnership strategy, and evaluation — we bring more than two decades of practitioner experience to the challenges faced by media entrepreneurs today, and are available to consult on a retainer basis.

Depending on your needs, we can customize a consulting plan that works for you. Our past services have included the following:

“Active Voice’s detail and dedication is masterful and I now feel well-armed to go out and engage an audience in an effective and hopefully long-lasting way. It’s a wonderful confirmation of the positive good we can do as filmmakers.” – Filmmaker Sophie Pegrum, Talking to the Air

For Filmmakers

Jumpstarting Strategy. Whether you’re looking for help to define your film’s potential impact, or need a boost on how to get started, or want to understand how to maximize your distribution options, we can provide limited consultations, starting at an 8-hour minimum.

Mutually Beneficial NGO Partnerships. Crafting partnerships for film campaigns isn’t always easy, and we’re ready to help you identify the best partners who can boost the distribution life of your film, while paving the way for sustained impact. Our partnership approach acknowledges the opportunity for mutual benefit, where filmmakers get access to grassroots networks that will embrace their film, and NGOs get creative support on how to advance their goals. This results in a long tail for the film, as well as accelerated impact for NGOs.

Evaluation Design. Are you trying to figure out the “measurable goals” for your social impact campaign? Do you need guidance on what questions to ask at the outset, and how to measure your results beyond the traditional quantitative metrics like social media and audience numbers? After years of refining our understanding of how films contribute to incremental social change, AV’s Research and Evaluation team is poised to help you think through these tough questions, and pinpoint the right metrics that make the most sense for you and your film. More on Evaluation.

 

For Organizations and Foundations

Big Picture Media Strategy. Are you a media company looking to integrate more engagement strategies into your long-term work? Or a foundation that is considering how to incorporate social impact into your media grantmaking? Or a social entrepreneur considering film as part of a double bottom-line goal? We’ve helped many clients — including Participant MediaFuturo Media Group, and Cal Humanities — sharpen their strategies and approaches to better meet their goals.

Media Capacity-Building. We work with foundations to build the capacity of their grantees and heighten the impact of their investments by using stories in strategic ways. We deeply respect each foundation’s unique vision and theory of change, and custom-design our services to best serve the distinctive objectives of our foundation partners. Past clients have included Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Hartley Film Foundation.

Webinars and Hands-on Training. As organizations look for creative ways to incorporate more storytelling into their work, we’re here to share best practices through customized trainings that will leave you with clear, actionable ideas for using story effectively, and even recommendations for stories that might be best suited for your goals. Past clients have included the US Department of Justice Community Relations Service and Grassroots Grantmakers.

Film Programming for Conferences. Increasingly, professional networks are incorporating films into national convenings, as a way to put a human face on their priority issues, add a dimension of arts and entertainment, and validate the work of their constituents. Our team can work with you to create a multimedia plan that aligns with your conference goals, work with panelists to integrate media into workshop sessions, liaise with filmmakers to secure screening rights, and create filmographies and other conference materials. Past clients have included Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees and PolicyLink.

READ EXAMPLES OF ACTIVE VOICE’S CONSULTING WORK.

 

Cutting-Edge Media “Experiments”

Consulting at AV Lab. Active Voice’s founder Ellen Schneider has been a trailblazer in the field of film and social change for more than two decades, and she continues to tackle big questions in her consulting capacity as part of the AV Lab. The Lab is uniquely poised to work with big thinkers on effective media grantmaking, long term planning, and the role of story in public policy.

READ EXAMPLES OF AV LAB CONSULTING WORK.