Must-Use Climate Storytelling Technique for Your Video Success

4 min read
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One of the biggest storytelling mistakes you can make is putting the wrong person on camera. To avoid this mistake, the following climate storytelling technique will help you find people with a strong desire, motivation, and uniqueness for your story. This method will help you craft stronger stories to work alongside your climate action plan.

Imagine This Scenario

You're creating a fundraising video. You choose someone who always praises your organization's work. They agree, but their story falls flat after watching the first edit. Despite good soundbites and attempts to spice it up with fast cuts and beautiful footage, your story still needs to be more engaging.

Did you conduct a pre-interview?

What Is a Storytelling Pre-Interview?

Storytelling pre-interviews are in-depth conversations with potential characters for your film. They help control biases and ensure you choose someone who resonates with your audience. At BairStories, we conduct 3-7 pre-interviews, with five being the sweet spot.


In our film, Belonging, we pre-interviewed nine North Hennepin Community College students. We ranked them based on their desire, motivation, uniqueness, and our story keywords. Our main character, Dalorian, tied with Greg for the highest score but was a better fit due to his desire to find belonging and purpose through nature.

Pre-Interview Question Examples

These questions help us uncover a person's desire, motivation, and uniqueness—what makes them different. After many storytelling pre-interviews, we've learned that people enjoy feeling listened to.

  • What's one thing your friends say is most different about you?
  • What's your relationship to [topic or your organization]?
  • What keeps you engaged with [topic or your organization]?
  • What are 2-3 things you can talk endlessly about?
  • Is there a common theme in your interests or career?
  • What do you want to do, create, or experience more than anything else?
  • Why is that important to you? (Ask why again.)
  • Why are you so passionate about that in particular?
  • What do you bring to the table that's unique to you, something that others don't?

How to Conduct an Effective Storytelling Pre-Interviews

Numerous methods exist for discovering the heart of your story: staff, personal connections, referrals, emails, cold calls, online communities, and surveys.

  1. Gather a list of character leads.
  2. Have phone or video conversations with 3-7 leads.
  3. Rank each potential character based on their desire, motivation, and uniqueness. Whoever stands out numerically and according to your gut is the Heart of your story.

Tips to Speed Up the Process

  • Record your call to be more present in the conversation.
  • Convert the conversation audio into a transcript using Rev or Descript.
  • Use ChatGPT or Gemini AI to identify the person’s desire, motivation, and uniqueness.

The Big Three Character Traits to Look for During Storytelling Pre-Interview

Another climate storytelling technique to consider is the character traits of your character leads.

Your story might fall flat if the character lacks a strong desire, motivation, and uniqueness. These traits get to the shared human truths and experiences and are crucial for effectiveness. The Big Three is a term coined by Muse Storytelling.

  • Desire: An engaging character has a strong desire driving their actions, like Simba wanting to be king. Ask about their dreams and future goals.
  • Motivation: Motivation is the why behind the desire. It creates relatability and empathy, as Simba wants freedom and autonomy.
  • Uniqueness: A unique character draws us in and breaks the monotony, making their story more engaging and memorable.

Let’s Nerd Out About Character Identification.

Character identification happens when the audience wants what the character wants. They start subconsciously rooting for the character and feel sadness when the character fails to achieve their desires.

Whether you’re telling a story about your brand or an in-direct story like an impact story, choosing the right person will help your audience connect with your brand values.

When your audience deeply connects with the character, they momentarily set aside their own individuality. This powerful connection, akin to empathy, underscores the strength of storytelling and the potential it holds for your video content.


In our film Ripple of Cars, two characters equally ranked high. However, one character's desire didn't align with the film's goal.

Meanwhile, Joe became the heart of our story with his desire to foster economic freedom for Anoka County residents. His desire made him more relatable to the audience.


Finding the best character through storytelling pre-interviews is vital to telling a powerful story. These conversations uncover desires, motivations, and uniqueness, building trust and connections that lead to authentic on-camera conversations. This climate storytelling technique ensures your video resonates deeply with your audience.

Ready to elevate your climate storytelling? Schedule a 30-minute consultation call with our storytellers today!

[…] the next step and learn how to conduct pre-interviews to determine desires, motivation, and […]
[…] At BairStories, our process for finding the right person includes a series of pre-interviews. […]

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We're a storyfirst film and video production company, based in Minnesota, specializing in emotive stories that elevate empathy, community, and funding. 

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