Master visual storyteller Rain Bennet of Six Second Stories shares how he works with his team to create dynamic nonprofit stories. Get tips to build a better story for your nonprofit and the tools needed to make it happen.

About Rain:

Rain Bennett is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, author, keynote speaker, and storytelling coach with over 15 years of experience producing documentary films. He hosts a weekly podcast called The Storytelling Lab which features the top storytellers in the world and recently released his first book, Six Second Stories. His mission is simple: to teach people how to leverage storytelling to grow their communities, deepen their connections, and maximize their impact in minimal time.

CG – Rain Bennett

[00:00:00] Dawn Crawford: Thank you for joining us for this great, good episode. Today I have filmmaker Rain Bennett. Hey Rain, how you doing?

[00:00:07] Rain Bennett: Hey. Hey. How are you? I’m doing well.

[00:00:09] Dawn Crawford: Fantastic. Well, I’m very excited to talk to you today.

We have crossed paths for the past decade or so, probably. 

[00:00:16] Rain Bennett: A small, it’s a small area.

[00:00:18] Dawn Crawford: Yeah, that’s true. It’s true. Yep. Keep it, keep it tight-knit in the Triangle, North Carolina. But yeah, really excited to talk to you about your storytelling method for non-profits and on how you translate that to film. So go ahead and share with us your business and a little bit about your mission.

[00:00:34] Rain Bennett: So my, my business [00:00:36] is Six Second Stories. It’s a video production storytelling company and a little bit of educational programs and, and products in there as well. My background is a, I’m a documentary filmmaker and have been for, I, I, I have this. In my bio even, it says 15 years, but let’s be real Dawn.

It’s going on 20 now. But, and because of that you know, documentary work often lends itself to the non-profit space because there’s always a great story to tell, right? There’s always great causes to support and, and stories to share. And so from the beginning, I graduated college in 2005 and I was already working in the, in the industry.

That sounds pretentious, but you know what I [00:01:12] mean. And very quickly, very early with the people I, I was kind of apprenticing under, I was doing non-profit work. And so when I started my own business, not too long after that, I kind of gravitated to that and, and have, have kept it up. Now I’ve written and directed my own films, but still now in 2022, the majority of my client work is non-profit work. Not exclusively, but quite a bit.

And so, you know, my, you asked about my mission. My mission is really to help people. This is why I aligned with non-profits so much because my philosophy is, you don’t [00:01:48] need a lot of tools to get started. You have the tools that you need to tell compelling stories to connect with and communicate with your audience right now, and then you add tools to the toolbox as you go on.

That’s because I was an independent — which means low budget — documentary filmmaker tasked with telling stories without a lot of crew equipment, money, et cetera. Does that sound like anybody that you know? Yeah. Like every non-profit ever, unless you’re like one of the big ones. So, the lessons that I was trying to teach people perfectly aligned with that audience because often non-profits are, are overwhelmed, [00:02:24] overworked, under-resourced, understaffed, under budgeted.

And so these lessons and the work that I do really help them, like keep it simple, speak to the heart, understand communication, i e

[00:02:35] Dawn Crawford: Mm-hmm.

[00:02:35] Rain Bennett: storytelling, and then if all you have is your iPhone or smartphone, you can, you can create content with that. And so my mission is really to help beginners small to medium businesses, non-profits, really the underdog, right?

I, I often say I’m not helping, you know, Budweiser or Nike tell great stories. They have the best agencies in the world to do that. I’m helping, you know, [00:03:00] solopreneurs, mom-and-pop shops and non-profits tell their stories, because often those groups of people think that they can’t, unless they have the revenue or the budget that, you know, somebody like Budweiser or Apple or Nike have, and it’s not true.

[00:03:17] Dawn Crawford: Exactly, exactly. So great. So yeah, tell us a little bit about your career. So you graduated from college and where’d you go from there? And how’d you decide on your own?

[00:03:26] Rain Bennett: I started very early and, and I as I kind of alluded to, I did the, like, apprenticeship method and really started learning under documentary filmmakers, [00:03:36] like when they just needed an extra hand. Now I know what that’s like, and you just need someone who, who kind of shoots and edits.

So I started off like that. And so six months after I graduated, I started my, my first company. Production company. And that was doing, at that time, wedding videos and like sports recruiting videos. And then that evolved into like some music videos that evolved into PSAs, public service announcements, which was the, now the non-profit work is really growing.

And then documentaries. And that’s kind of where I, where I landed. And then since then you know, I, I grew the company a little bit. I moved to New York. I chased a passion project around the world for a few years. And [00:04:12] when I came back is really where I had those lessons learned that I now help people, including non-profits with.

And at that point, my business model changed more 

to. Still video production, but also now teaching and educating people. So that looks like you know, the content that I create, the things that I write started public speaking, which I also have to give y’all a shout out because you gave me such a great opportunity and what I believe was 2018 or 19 now, right at the beginning of my public speaking career, and I still talk about your conference and, and not just how much it meant to me, but like the vibe that y’all created there. Like, I [00:04:48] still think about about that and had such a blast. At the Create Good Conference. And so definitely shout out to, to y’all for that opportunity. And, and I still work with people. I still get business from that.

There was a lot of non-profits that came from that video storytelling workshop that I did that, that came out of that. And so now I am still doing that, still speaking and. Starting to focus a little bit more on writing and directing my own projects, but the storytelling is at front and center. So I coach people individually.

I consult with businesses and I still do video production for clients as well.

[00:05:20] Dawn Crawford: Absolutely. Yeah. How do you think video’s kind of changed since you [00:05:24] graduated college? What has been the biggest change?

[00:05:27] Rain Bennett: The biggest change is probably how ubiquitous it is now. Like it’s, it is, you know, I forget the stat, but it’s the majority, the, the, the very high majority of online traffic now is, is video content. And so when I was just starting off it, it was, you know, kind of this digital revolution had started. We were still shooting on tape, but now, I mean, certainly smartphones weren’t out at that point, and so now everyone has the access to it.

However, the limiting beliefs that we often have and the [00:06:00] voices in our heads, the stories that we tell ourselves, like, still prevent people from, from doing that. Or we search out tools that will like do the work for us. And so I, what I kind of preach is, is, the opposite of that is like you gotta sharpen this skill that you inherently have.

And I fully believe that like as humans, we’re all naturally storytellers. We just either practice that, train that muscle, or we don’t. And then, you know, you start adding tools to the toolbox. You start, you know, okay, I’ll learn a little bit about camera, I’ll learn a little bit about about lighting. But so many people are now looking for like, what do I need to do?

Do I need to be on [00:06:36] TikTok? What kind of you know, camera should I use, et cetera, et cetera. And, and, and I feel like that strongly that that’s putting the cart before the horse. So you have this tool video, which is extremely powerful, and now becoming very easy to use and efficient and cheap. And user friendly.

And I think if you combine that with this timeless tool of, of communication that we

[00:06:59] Dawn Crawford: mm-hmm.

[00:06:59] Rain Bennett: which is storytelling, you can really, really, for low, low cost, make an impact and connect with people and build your communities and your support, and sell your ideas and products and services. So it’s changed because we [00:07:12] all have access to it now.

But I still think there’s a lot of things that are holding people back. Could be, I’m not comfortable on camera. Could be, you know, I don’t know what to shoot. And all these things are things we can fix because they start here, but it’s still a lot. And as a non-profit, most of them, small to medium non-profits. It’s you, a one person team, a very small team. So the problem is you’re, you’re overwhelmed. You got so much going on, and so again, I really try to calm people down and say like, Look, what is, what would this look like if it were simple? How do you know the key to content creation is consistency. So how do we set up a system where you can do this [00:07:48] consistently. And it ain’t by making every video that you produce, you know, a film, you know, feature film or something like super high production value and you know, highly stylized and edited motion graphics and all

[00:08:01] Dawn Crawford: Yeah.

[00:08:01] Rain Bennett: If you are not a video production company, then that’s not gonna be very easy for you to do. So maybe you do one a month, one every six months.

So like, let’s reduce it. Like, understand our messaging. Make it simple for yourself.

[00:08:12] Dawn Crawford: absolutely. Great, great advice. Yes. You talked about this a little bit, but yeah. Why, why non-profits? Why do you, you know, I mean, yeah. We both work in the non-profit [00:08:24] consulting space. Right. We could charge more for our time, I’m sure. So why non-profits? Why do you, why do you choose this life?

[00:08:32] Rain Bennett: Well, I think that’s a great question that the, the, that final cap that you put on

[00:08:37] Dawn Crawford: Mm.

[00:08:37] Rain Bennett: choose this life? Because the life that I’ve chosen on the macro level, it, it hasn’t been the easy route. Like I’ve said that to people, and people, you know, friends of mine went off and got jobs and worked their way up to jobs and were making better salaries, and I was kind of like, really, you know, swimming against the grain and trying to carve a path for myself.

Well, it’s, I’m a little bit stubborn, but also I’d rather, [00:09:00] I’d rather do the things that I want to do and work harder for them. I just would, whether that’s like I just wanna be able to take off vacation when I want to, so I start my own business. It certainly doesn’t mean I don’t work that much. You work more when you have your own business, but if I need to go

do some, I like the autonomy in, right? And so similarly I don’t, you know, I, I like to do the projects that I like to do, and it doesn’t mean that I can completely pick and choose everything that I do when I am trying to support a family and support people that work with me, my team. But it really comes down to the passion.

Like, I want to work on something that [00:09:36] I care about. It’s as simple as that. And I think that’s why a lot of people are, are in non-profits. Nobody’s like, “Ah, I work here, but I don’t really care about it.” Not if you’re really busting your butt every day and everything is working against you, and you feel like you’re, you know, trying to climb up this mountain while weights are pulling you down.

You’re not doing that, you know, just for the check. It’s usually because of the passion or the cause. And so when a, and, and also, To bring it back to storytelling, because usually you don’t have to dig too deep in a non-profit to find what’s the compelling, what’s the heartfelt story that is attached to the work.

What’s the meaning behind the work and the mission behind [00:10:12] the work that you’re doing? That should be kind of front and center, whereas in businesses, I believe it’s there most often, or even a personal brand, but you do have to dig around a little bit about, Okay, so you’re a personal trainer. I believe that you didn’t end up just

doing that, so I help people find their story and see what led them to that, and then unearth or re reveal the compelling parts of their story that led them to do the work that they do. Oh, you’re a bank teller. I don’t think it just happened for no reason. But with non-profits, it’s a little easier to grab that because you’re like, “Hey, we’re, we’re serving cancer patients,” 

“We’re trying to help [00:10:48] the housing crisis.” It’s pretty easy to see, you know, where compelling stories are that might motivate people or inspire people to take action in, in that space. And so, you know, you and I kind of coincidentally collaborated on a project last year for, for Sound Rivers, and I mean, that was the river I grew up on.

So there was no question when they sent out the request for a proposal to me, like, Oh, I attached a video to that, you know, speaking directly to them. But, so I’m like, look, this isn’t just — wouldn’t just be a job for me or a video production, like I grew up on that river. Like I’m fighting for the same things that you all are.

And so, needless to say, I, I got the [00:11:24] job and I like to bring that passion to, to all that I do or, or have it. They’re not all gonna be the river I grew up on and that close to home, right? So that one really was meaningful, but like I care about the work that I do, and I have no interest, and this is no offense to any like product out there, but I often say like, I’m not, I don’t do like Doritos commercials. And I don’t, I don’t have any interest in doing that now.

I love Doritos. When I was growing up as a kid, I don’t have any problem with them, but like that’s, that just, I don’t have any interest in that. I just don’t.

[00:11:53] Dawn Crawford: Yeah. Yeah. And I think that is a different, Yeah. People who choose this non-profit life, It is, it’s different, right? It’s like, Yeah. I. [00:12:00] No interest in making. Yeah. Tons of money on, helping Doritos sell another bag of Doritos,

[00:12:08] Rain Bennett: Yeah, I mean, right. And and it’s like, and that’s why if you see a Doritos commercial, like it’s usually just visuals and there’s no like story behind it. And maybe there’s one or two that have tried to do it. There are certainly brands/for-profit businesses that do understand the art and science of storytelling

and tell beautiful stories. I mean, look at like, Budweiser, which I mentioned earlier in their Superbowl ads. I mean, the make people cry, right? So it’s not like that’s impossible. But again, I, I wouldn’t get the same fulfillment. I don’t think [00:12:36] “I love this story.” So that’s inherent in, in most non-profit work, but also there’s a cause attached to it. And I, you know, I, I do like being affiliated with that.

[00:12:45] Dawn Crawford: Absolutely. Okay. Magic wand time: if you could change one thing about your job, what would you change?

[00:12:52] Rain Bennett: Whew. This is an interesting one. I think non-profits would probably agree with this, but I think often, I probably in the past would’ve said time. Like, I always feel like I’m pressed for time, and I know that’s not really true, but just kind of how I, I approach it. If I if I could change one thing about my job. [00:13:12] I think it would just be often, you know, access and opportunity. You know, a lot of my job as an independent filmmaker is fundraising.

[00:13:21] Dawn Crawford: Yeah.

[00:13:22] Rain Bennett: sounds familiar to

[00:13:22] Dawn Crawford: Yep.

[00:13:23] Rain Bennett: people listening, right? And so being able to, you know, be in the right rooms and get in front of the right places cuz money is, is out there, right? But there’s often things that block it. And it’s part of what I do is, is. Help non-profits create content cheaply so that they can get out there. But I think that that often people are, are frustrated because they’re working, they’re grinding and they’re working and grinding, and they [00:13:48] know that if they could just get in front of the right person, things could change for them or right people.

And so I think that that could be another thing is just making it a little easier to…to get things out there. Although I will say it’s easier now than it ever has been. So I think that we’re wise to leverage the tools that we have, but you know…

[00:14:06] Dawn Crawford: Yeah, still. Yeah. It’s a hustle man.

[00:14:09] Rain Bennett: mm-hmm.

[00:14:10] Dawn Crawford: Yeah. So what are you looking forward to professionally in the next year?

[00:14:13] Rain Bennett: I am, I’m always involved in way too many things, but there’s, there’s, there’s one big thing I can’t really talk about, but it, well, it’s a new business. I can’t really talk about like what it is yet. Cause [00:14:24] it’s, I mean, we are literally forming like it right now, but it is in my space and it is part of my mission where we’re, really — and I could say this — trying to, to democratize storytelling and capturing one’s story. So making it cheaper and more efficient and faster for everyone. So working on creating a tool that, that can do that and working with people that as I’ve, I’ve said this before, you know, publicly, I feel very fortunate to even have a seat at the table with. People that have been there before, and done that. So I’m really excited cuz this is something that could be really big. In my per like personal journey, I wrote my [00:15:00] first book last year

[00:15:02] Dawn Crawford: Oh wow.

[00:15:03] Rain Bennett: was really, I mean, that was an arduous, you know, task and process, but I have a lot more inside that I want to get out, and so I’m really focused on writing.

And this also includes my filmmaking career. Like, this is really where I’m trying to spend my time. And so what I, I’m excited about is starting to tell some of these stories that have been up here for a long, long time when I’ve been just trying to like, build a business and, and, you know, get, get out, start making some money so that I can support my family.

Now things have kind of like evened out and I feel comfortable. And I have a [00:15:36] um, what do you call it, foundation, right?

I’m like, there’s, I’m like, I just turned 40 last — two weeks ago. So I’m just like, “All right, it’s let’s, let’s get to work.” Cuz these are stories, Dawn, that I’ve had in my head for, for also like 15 years, of them,

[00:15:50] Dawn Crawford: Yeah. Exactly.

[00:15:50] Rain Bennett: so I’m like, I want to just start brain dumping all the, all the stuff and the work that I’ve done in the past five years in the storytelling space has revealed a lot of gaps for content in — like, so there’s a lot of non-fiction work that I, I want to get out there as well. So that’s my plan is to just be consistently writing as much as I can.

[00:16:11] Dawn Crawford: Yeah. A lot of [00:16:12] creativity. Yep. Yep. Great. So what advice do you have for somebody who wants to start their filmmaking career or, you know, kind of wants to tell more stories for non-profits?

[00:16:25] Rain Bennett: Just really, this is so cliche, but like it, it really comes down to just doing it, like the things that I like taking action, whatever that looks like. And I know that’s like for a lot of people who aren’t there, when they hear someone who has done that say that, they’re like, “Yeah, easy for you to say.”

[00:16:42] Dawn Crawford: yeah.

[00:16:43] Rain Bennett: And I’m aware of that.

So I’m not trying to be tone deaf, but anything that, that [00:16:48] happens — and so it doesn’t mean go out there and just like build a billion dollar business out of nothing. Right. It, it just means take some action. Because what happens is that’s just priming the pump. Opportunities start to arise when movement is happening.

And so I’ll give you an example I just posted about like, I self-published my book. I thought about going the traditional publishing route. I thought about hybrid publishing, and then ultimately I landed on you like, you know what? I know my audience. I’m gonna be the one marketing it. I’m just gonna make it myself.

And also I have control of the timeline. Fast forward, like [00:17:24] randomly. I just got a, an offer from a publishing company in Thailand to that purchased the Thai rights to the book, and there will be a Thai version of it. So like I was able to get paid for it and there’s gonna be a Thai version of my book.

That opportunity wouldn’t have existed. I mean, I’m a first time author, right? Like that opportunity wouldn’t have existed had I. You know, just done that myself. The feature film that I released about five years ago, which was kind of like the, my, I don’t know, flagship project, I don’t know what to call it years ago that started with me…

Just an idea and a camera and a backpack, and just like [00:18:00] going for it. So the, again, there are so many — we have access to so many tools and, information and abilities now. I would say to someone just to that wants to begin in that space, just like I would tell someone who is a marketing or comms person at a non-profit, it’s just start understanding the craft, the skill of storytelling 

[00:18:23] Dawn Crawford: Mm-hmm.

[00:18:24] Rain Bennett: first because everybody can learn how to, to shoot a camera, but not everybody has this creative skill of understanding what’s going to be compelling. How do you communicate [00:18:36] what’s in your head out to people in a way that’s compelling, that they’ll latch onto, and that is engaging. And a lot of people look at it as just an art, but it’s not, it’s a science as well. There is, there are formulas to follow. So I think the best thing that they can do at that point is really start working, working on that understanding.

Your narrative voice, like my project is not gonna be the same as your project, even if we have the same resources because you are different than I am. So understanding like what you uniquely bring to the table is work that people don’t often do until later, but if they did it in the beginning, it’s gonna make that [00:19:12] road much easier for them. 

[00:19:13] Dawn Crawford: Yeah, absolutely. Great. Okay, so our next section is talking about feedback. Feedback on your.

[00:19:20] Rain Bennett: Mm-hmm.

[00:19:21] Dawn Crawford: ideas, the collaboration of getting a project done right? With your clients, with yourself, whatever with that, with your team, right? That I think filmmaking in particular is a really good sum of collaboration, right?

That is definitely just not one person that gets that thing to, to end to production. So so, so yeah. How do you personally process criticism and and feedback on your work?[00:19:48] 

[00:19:48] Rain Bennett: This is…this is an excellent question cuz this is really hard to trudge through this and navigate this, and so I’ll look at it two different ways. Like you have the collaborative art of people on your team.

[00:19:59] Dawn Crawford: Mm-hmm.

[00:19:59] Rain Bennett: And then you have the collaboration between you and client, which is a different relationship, right? So my editor can give me feedback on what he or she thinks about the project that we’re working on, understanding that I have like the executive, you know, decision making ability there, Right. As the producer, right? Correct. Right. But I only hire people and work with people who. [00:20:24] Very much respect their opinions and want them, and that’s the same way I, I, I direct on, on set.

Like there I am not one of those that’s just like, No, this is my vision. We’ll do it. If the cinematographer and someone else and multiple people were saying like, Wow, I think that we might do this, I’m gonna, I’m gonna listen because I hire people that are good at what they do, just like, I want them to believe I’m good at what I do in writing it.

I want, I want to believe, or you know, that they’re good at what they do and I will trust them. If not, people say that. So I’m very open and collaborative with my team. With clients, sometimes it’s harder, because clients have different reasons. They’re not necessarily trying to make [00:21:00] the most powerful story, which most people on my team will.

Now, you might just be debating whether that shot works better than this shot or whether we should cut or dissolve, and at that point, the hierarchy helps.

[00:21:12] Dawn Crawford: mm-hmm.

[00:21:13] Rain Bennett: But, I like to be very, like, malleable and listening to people because often that person will have a great idea. Now, when you’re dealing with a client, they’re also dealing with political reasons, right?

A sponsor, you know, sponsorship, whoever funded the video that might come into play, they may want to feel want everybody on their team to feel included, so they bring in people who really probably shouldn’t be in the process. And they’re, it’s like designed by committee now, [00:21:36] which is like awful, but, that’s the game.

And so if someone is hiring you to create a project, now that’s the producer, right? They, they ultimately have the say. And this is a tricky tightrope walk, but it comes back to relationships. And if you’re work, if you work with somebody for a long time, you, I’m assuming you’re building a strong relationship with them.

But if it’s your first time, you need to build up that empathy too, so they can understand and understand how to communicate to people. Because I can tell my client like “So-and-so, I don’t agree with this. Here’s where I come from, you know, come from, here’s my perspective on it.” And if they say, [00:22:12] “Sorry, do this.”

Then I — I’ve done my job, I’ve protested, you know, I’ve made my point clear. Then it’s their video. They’re paying me. I will do it and I will put it out. And then if the feedback comes back from the public and I was right, I won’t rub it in their face, but I will giggle with my team about, you know, to validate ourselves, right?

But yeah, you have to understand that dynamic, but it’s tough and you also have to be willing to push back when you believe in it. If it’s arbitrary and it’s like they don’t like that shot because it’s of something and they don’t get your creative vision, swallow your pride, move on, put the shot of the whatever they want in there.

But if it’s [00:22:48] like, “Hey, this is really going to compromise the integrity of what we’re trying to build here, and I think it’s best for my clients ultimately, and their use of this project if we make this decision…” Go to bat for it. Stand up for yourself, but then understand when you reach that point, you have to relent.

You have to let go because it is the client’s video. If they, if they’re hiring you. In fact, I would argue that you aren’t doing your job if you aren’t arguing for it. And that’s a thing, a, a communication tool you could use: “Hey so-and-so, my goal with this,” So they don’t, they don’t feel like it’s just combative.

“My goal is for you to make as compelling of a story as [00:23:24] possible, because I want you to reach as many eyes as possible so you can, You can raise as many funds as possible, right? I’m on your team. That’s what I’m trying to accomplish, and I believe this scene will help the project do that.” and that’s gonna be much more compelling in getting your point across than just.

“That’s not a good idea. It’ll never work.” Like, right? So communication is everything. So again, understanding how to communicate is, is key there, but it’s, it can be really tough. I don’t want to act like it, like it’s not, So you, you have to understand when, when to be firm and when to relent. And that’s a skill in itself.

[00:23:56] Dawn Crawford: Absolutely. So is there a style of feedback that you like to [00:24:00] receive? Do you like to receive kind of more

[00:24:01] Rain Bennett: Positive

[00:24:02] Dawn Crawford: more direct, like — Yeah. 

[00:24:04] Rain Bennett: Positive.,

 That’s the kind I like. I do like trust. I like — you know, I certainly don’t like anyone to micromanage. I like people to trust me. Just like I said, I hire a cinematographer and editor for what they are great at, and so therefore I trust their opinion. I’ve had some clients that didn’t stay clients that hired me.

That said, they hired me for a, a, a certain reason i.e., Like my storytelling ability. And then proceeded to lean on none of that and use none of that and listen to none of my advice. And so by the end of it, Dawn, I [00:24:36] was just push pushing buttons for them. And I do not want to do that. And at that point I’m tuned out and I’m just wanting to get to the finish line of the project.

And that’s not good for anybody. And the video shows it, like the video shows it. So the type of feedback, like, I just want people to be, to, to trust me for what I do, not to just do what I say,

[00:24:55] Dawn Crawford: Mm-hmm.

[00:24:55] Rain Bennett: you hired me for reason. And so I, I just like, I have to be open to them, I want them to be open to what we’re saying.

I try to as, as the vendor, the contractor, I try to educate my clients too on the feedback process because [00:25:12] I’ve, I learned the hard way that they don’t know your whole process. And so while my internal team does, like, I have to tell people like, “Hey, here’s how many rounds of revisions we’re gonna, we typically do. If you want more, we need to discuss that in terms of the scope.” But also, when you deliver a rough cut, it is not what the final cut is going to look like, and you need to let them know that, or else you’re gonna be getting comments on things that are too early in the process.

So it’s a whole process and sometimes clients aren’t even prepared for the process. I had one client that said, “We’re not prepared to go back and forth with you [00:25:48] and continue to do this.” And

[00:25:49] Dawn Crawford: Oh no.

[00:25:49] Rain Bennett: I’m like, I’m sorry so-and-so, this is your vision. I’m trying to help you realize it. How did you expect this to be done without going back and forth?

That’s like me hiring you to build my house on and then be like, “All right, peace out. I’ll see you in nine months. Hope the house is great.”

That deck is gonna be on the wrong side of the house.house, you’re have the, I mean, you have to be there because this is your vision and there are a thousand decisions to make, and if you leave it up to someone else, they’re gonna make it and it might not be the one that you want.

[00:26:15] Dawn Crawford: Yeah,

[00:26:16] Rain Bennett: So really, I’ve learned that to do my job better, I have to help them do their job better. And part of my [00:26:24] job and now in that case, is to educate them on, on the process. “Hey, don’t comment on the color of a shot. In the first cut because that’s, that happens at this stage.” Now you know that, and I know that —

[00:26:36] Dawn Crawford: But nobody does.

[00:26:37] Rain Bennett: That’s why you laugh — but they don’t necessarily know that.

And so, and so that’s why I say it’s on you. It’s your responsibility to educate them because they’re not professional filmmakers. How do they, how are they supposed to know that the song is going to be mixed on the very final stage, so don’t make the comment about, “Hey, it’s a little loud or a little soft” right now.

Like yeah, you have to educate them. And so, and then otherwise, just a open dialogue back and [00:27:00] forth, that the, the, the best type of feedback is just like where we trust each other’s opinion. Like I already said, we know that we both want the same thing cuz I have clients that I work with and have worked with consistently.

If I am firm enough or push back enough, they will also say, “Okay, Rain, I trust your judgment. We’ve done this with you for 10 years, you haven’t let us down yet. I trust you.” So that’s a great relationship where I understand I have to give sometimes and they do too and, and it takes a while to get there.

[00:27:26] Dawn Crawford: Mm-hmm. Certainly, certainly. Is there any style feedback that doesn’t work for you?

[00:27:35] Rain Bennett: Hmm. [00:27:36] Yeah. Well this might — I don’t think there’s a style of feedback. There’s a style of person , right? Like, cuz some certain people are just super nitpicky about things that don’t necessarily mean what they think they mean. Like some people only view the world through, through their own eyes, and they may have an issue, a personal issue, like, I just don’t like that shot. And that is fine for one thing. But usually that vibe, that feeling persists throughout the feedback process. And it’s just like you’re, you’re just commenting on per like, this isn’t hurting the story, you know, et cetera, et cetera.[00:28:12] 

[00:28:12] Dawn Crawford: Mm-hmm.

[00:28:13] Rain Bennett: so very, really microscopic. I’m not saying people shouldn’t have attention to detail, they absolutely should.

But just, just micromanaging, I guess, and just kind of like controlling things that, like, that really aren’t carrying the that they think it is.

[00:28:29] Dawn Crawford: Yeah. And I wonder if it’s also, I think with filmmaking in particular, and editing and that sort of thing, there’s a lot of, when people don’t live in this space, and don’t think about video storytelling and visual storytelling, they often make, you know, judgements by their gut of like, Well, you sat on that scene for too long.

It’s like, yeah, I’m building up [00:28:48] emotional, like, you know, capacity or like something, right? Like yeah. I think that’s something that we hear a lot of too, of like, “That scene is just too long.” And I’m like, Dude, it’s like seconds. Like it is, It’s not like it’s 30 seconds of water, you know? It’s like, so I think that’s interesting too in that.

and that’s really hard to express to people who don’t live in this space and don’t think critically around the creative work that you’re doing, right? Whether it’s around video or anything that we do. So that’s an interesting, Yeah, it’s an interesting point.

[00:29:16] Rain Bennett: Yeah, that’s a good point. I’ve gotten that one too, where like, “Why did it go to black?” I’m like, You just faded down and then faded back up and it’s [00:29:24] just like, what? Cause there’s a whole new segment — you know,

[00:29:26] Dawn Crawford: Yeah.

[00:29:27] Rain Bennett: and then you start questioning yourself like, “Damn, why did it go –”

[00:29:29] Dawn Crawford: “Why did I do that? What other transitions could I have done?” Yeah.

[00:29:32] Rain Bennett: Like, yeah, so, So I think people just being. Yeah, just, just that. I think where, where it’s

[00:29:40] Dawn Crawford: Yeah,

[00:29:40] Rain Bennett: you know, blinders on almost, and they’re just making a, a, a kneejerk judgment call that is based off of no, no real argument.

[00:29:49] Dawn Crawford: Yeah. Absolutely. Okay, so our next section is around burnout and just how do you keep going? I mean, I think, you know, yeah, it’s certainly as entrepreneurs, that we have a deep [00:30:00] well of hustle and a lot of battery that we constantly draw on, right? That gets us through. And that it’s, it’s easy for us to, you know, sit down at the desk every day.

But, I mean, how do you avoid burnout? How do you avoid especially through — yeah, having two kids of your own, you know, COVID, like how do you, how do you keep, how do you keep it going? What’s your, what’s your motivation?

[00:30:22] Rain Bennett: I don’t know. I’m gonna throw out some, some advice that that, but I will say for me particularly, and some of this is because of collective issues we’re all facing, and some of this is, is very much personal. This past year has been brutal for me, [00:30:36] just in terms of all these things, trying to manage a business while all these things are happening.

Birth, death you know, global pandemic, well, you know, changing of, of my business and things like that. So it’s a question I deal with a lot. And really, and it’s really hard for me because I am, you know, like you were just kind saying and alluding to like, I’m wired that way to just go, go, go.

[00:30:59] Dawn Crawford: Yeah.

[00:31:00] Rain Bennett: And so any advice that I’m gonna give is really advice from me just talking to myself that I have to remind myself of every day, you know? So there’s always this simple things of like, rest.

[00:31:11] Dawn Crawford: Mm-hmm.[00:31:12] 

[00:31:12] Rain Bennett: Exercise, like just movement, right? Exercise doesn’t mean CrossFit, you know, or, or, you know, or anything like, just, just literally walking outside.

In fact, often that’s better. I, I made a video about this the other day. I went for a walk in the morning, and I found myself and I made the video about what I’m about to say right now. I found myself being like, “Oh, cool, we’ll go like walk fast, get our heart rate up, get some training in,” and I was just like, “Just chill.”

And then I was like, Okay. “Oh, but I’ll listen to that audio book and I’ll get a couple chapters in before work.” And I’m like, “Jesus man. Like, you don’t have — relax!” I’m literally [00:31:48] conversing with myself at this point, all like out loud and I’m like, just chill. And so I didn’t listen to any music or podcast or anything.

I, I walked as slow as I possibly could. I brought like a home coffee mug, not like a to go cup, so that I literally couldn’t walk too fast or it would spill all over me. And I strolled, I strolled through my neighborhood and it was just as the sun was coming up and I stopped at every block, Dawn, and I just stopped.

And I know if anybody was like waking up in other houses, they’d probably like, “What is this weirdo doing?” And I just kinda looked up at the sky cuz the sunrise was like really, really beautiful. It was that same week that the NASA images had come out. So I was thinking that was just last week, so I was just like [00:32:24] looking at the sky, thinking about like how insignificant we are, and, and I was just like, geez, just chill.

Like those slow moments are so important and it’s not because, like, for some like made up like, “Oh, you need to balance it out.” It’s like, no. Those slow moments are when we recharge that battery, you come back to the table more creative, more productive when you’ve had that space to breathe instead of seeing it how I typically do or historically have, where I’ve just wasted 30 minutes by this slow walk where I didn’t accomplish a damn thing, I didn’t get my heart rate up, I didn’t read the book that, you know, all these things that I’m putting on [00:33:00] myself.

It’s just like, so the advice: just be easy on yourself, like just chill, you know? And all the cliches are cliche for a reason, like life goes by so fast. And, and to be honest, it wasn’t until I realized that like sleep makes you have more energy, and, and flipped it, you know, reframed it there that I started to, to prioritize those sorts of things.

And space actually makes you more productive, not less productive. So it’s not even about like you need to get your rest cuz life is, you know, short and blah, blah, blah. It’s like, no, that makes you stronger. It’s [00:33:36] recovery, right? I mean, so, so burnout is, is especially in today. A world where we all put this pressure on ourselves to achieve and to do and to go.

And it’s just like, yeah, it’s, it is a shame because you know what you have is good enough. What you’re doing is good enough. I’m not saying don’t have ambition. I’m built out of ambition, right? There’s so many dreams that I have that I want to accomplish, but sometimes you just gotta sit back and just say like, and just be, have a little gratitude.

[00:34:07] Dawn Crawford: Yeah.

[00:34:07] Rain Bennett: Look around you like today’s a good day. You know? And when you start to have enough loss in your [00:34:12] life,

[00:34:12] Dawn Crawford: Yeah.

[00:34:12] Rain Bennett: It starts to change things like that. You start to realize that like, Hey, I did two things today that have like pushed me further down the line in what I’m trying to achieve this week or this month or this year.

That’s a win. That’s a win, right? You know that that’s a win. So just, just pausing and chilling and being easy on yourself,

[00:34:31] Dawn Crawford: Yeah, yeah. Be easy on yourself. That is something, Yeah. I’ve really had to learn in the last year too. Yeah. This year’s been hard. Yeah, I agree. Just weird business patterns and like, Yeah. And it’s yeah, and just everybody coming back full force too. I feel like this year, like finally, everybody’s really, I mean, we’ve all been working, you [00:34:48] know, we’ve all been working, but I feel like now everything’s really cranked up.

Right? And, yeah, just be easy to yourself, man. It’s like, Yeah. And we’re never going back to 2019. Right? That was years ago now. Like you just remember. It was years ago. It was years ago.

[00:35:02] Rain Bennett: It was literal years ago. Yeah. Yeah. We, we have a really trouble with forgiving ourselves and, and, and, and, and, you know what I mean? And that, and that’s a problem.

[00:35:12] Dawn Crawford: Absolutely. Absolutely. Okay. What, so what makes you keep coming back to this? What keeps you this work? What keeps you coming?

[00:35:20] Rain Bennett: I, I genuinely love what I do. [00:35:24] That’s why I work hard. That’s why I took the hard path where for many, many years I didn’t have the foundation that I have now. I, I genuinely love the work that I do, and I really love working with people now to do it. The thing that lights me up more than anything else is, is, is seeing the light bulb moments, the aha moments, the little epiphanies happen with someone that I’m working with that helps get them farther down the road or push the envelope a little bit more. Reflecting, you know, and helping me remember the moments when I did that. And so I, I love when helping people unlock things that are [00:36:00] like holding them back.

That is like my number one thing. So I, I keep coming back to it because I genuinely, genuinely love it and it, I have. Reshaped things over the years about how I do what I do and, and exactly what I do. But yeah, I, I, I thoroughly enjoy it. I like filmmaking. I like writing. I, I like helping people understand the power of stories and storytelling.

Now, this is where I’ve been dedicating my life the past five years, so that gets me, you know, that, that brings me back every, every time. 

[00:36:33] Dawn Crawford: Great. Okay, so our last section, this is our [00:36:36] rapid fire. We’re looking for one word answers. It’s hard for storytellers and communicators to get one word, but that’s the goal. That’s the goal. 

[00:36:43] Rain Bennett: I’ll make a video response.

[00:36:45] Dawn Crawford: Exactly. Okay. What is your favorite word?

[00:36:51] Rain Bennett: Rain

[00:36:52] Dawn Crawford: Oh, nice. . What’s your least favorite word?

[00:36:55] Rain Bennett: No

[00:36:56] Dawn Crawford: No. What is your personal non-profit or cause?

[00:37:00] Rain Bennett: So my, I don’t have a personal one, but I have to represent the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation. They have been my longest running client over a decade now whom I’ve done. I mean, I say [00:37:12] hundreds. It might be thousands of videos for them at this point because in the pandemic, we pivoted to doing a weekly video series.

I know this is not one word, a weekly video series where I’m the host. So for the past two years I’ve hosted a, a live video show for them every Thursday. So that’s a. Just, just right there sitting, sitting right where I am today. So that’s the one that I have fought for the most. Hands down. No, no other and that’s a rare cancer.

It’s actually the one that Steve Jobs had. Aretha Franklin they’re called neuroendocrine tumors. And so I’ve been working with this Rare Cancer Foundation for 10, 12 years, I think now.

[00:37:47] Dawn Crawford: [00:37:48] Wow, that’s fantastic. Do you think there’s a non-profit cause that gets too much attention?

[00:37:52] Rain Bennett: Hmm. I don’t, That’s a great question. I don’t think so. I think there’s, I think there is enough for us all. I mean, I definitely support the smaller to medium, you know, size non-profits. I think the, the big, I don’t know how many there are, but you know, the giant behemoths, you know, because they get so much attention.

You know, I, I, with the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation, we are not — we’re nominated for a share care award, which is like a healthcare film Emmy

[00:38:22] Dawn Crawford: Mm-hmm.

[00:38:23] Rain Bennett: [00:38:24] And we lost you know, to Pfizer. And Pfizer was a sponsor of the events. And I’m just like, Come on, We’re there this little non-profit from White Plains, New York is there with American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, et cetera, et cetera.

And we’re just, I’m now, I’m just happy to be there

[00:38:42] Dawn Crawford: Yeah.

[00:38:43] Rain Bennett: and, and, and I take, we got not nominated twice in the same categories. I really thought we would win. So I’m not salty about that, but it’s just like, come on. You know? So I think those big ones get a lot of the resources cuz they are just name recognition.

So May maybe that if I, if I had to answer, but I really do think that [00:39:00] the resources are there. I think that it’s hard for us to reach them often, but they are there if we can find

[00:39:06] Dawn Crawford: Yeah. Absolutely. What’s your favorite curse word?

[00:39:11] Rain Bennett: Oh, I have free reign here?

[00:39:12] Dawn Crawford: Yeah 

[00:39:12] Rain Bennett: I think goddammit.

[00:39:13] Dawn Crawford: God damnit. Good. It’s a good one. What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?

[00:39:18] Rain Bennett: To a in real life, or like, Oh my goodness. Oh, snap. 

[00:39:23] Dawn Crawford: Parallel universe here.

[00:39:24] Rain Bennett: What’d you say? ? I have no idea. There are a couple other lives that I could have had, like I used to be in the fitness space, so

[00:39:30] Dawn Crawford: Oh, wow.

[00:39:31] Rain Bennett: could have pursued that. I made films in that space, but [00:39:36] I, I was a trainer for a while. I still play soccer every week, so

[00:39:40] Dawn Crawford: Yeah,

[00:39:41] Rain Bennett: in a dream, maybe could, could have done that. But, But you’re saying like present tense, like, if I didn’t have this job, what would I do? Oh man, I don’t know. I really, I really am living the life that I, well,

[00:39:52] Dawn Crawford: That’s awesome.

[00:39:53] Rain Bennett: Something with travel. Something with travel. And I, and I’ve, I’ve tried to make a couple of travel shows and there’s one more in the, that I have like in the storytelling space.

But I think something something in, in, in that space because I really, I really do enjoy that. But I’m not sure what else. I mean, I really, my dream is to be a writer, [00:40:12] so that’s the one I’m 

[00:40:12] Dawn Crawford: pursuing.

There you are. Okay. Then what other, what non-profit, professional organization would you like to hear from on this podcast?

[00:40:19] Rain Bennett: There’s two, Can I say two? So there’s one Well, actually, I’ve, I’m gonna ask you something that’s a dumb question. I was gonna say something about CauseVox, but you’re, you’re indirectly the one who introduced me to Rob CauseVox

[00:40:30] Dawn Crawford: That is a good one though.

[00:40:31] Rain Bennett: But yeah, but, but, but they provide so many programs and, and support for non-profits. But I’ve spoken, I’ve done every year I’ve done like a webinar, at least one, often two. So that was another relationship that came because of Create Good Conference was Rob. And ever since that, which I think was [00:40:48] 2019, maybe 18, we’ve been working together.

And then there is. Conference, the Non-Profit marketing Summit,

[00:40:58] Dawn Crawford: Okay. 

[00:40:58] Rain Bennett: is giant conference or you know, online summit that is happening in August. And I did one for them in the spring. And they, that is a huge, huge resource. There’s thousands of of people sign, sign up for that too. So that, that’s a really good team that I know pretty well too.

So somebody from that team I think would be cool.

[00:41:14] Dawn Crawford: Awesome. Perfect. Well, thank you so much for being on the episode today and really appreciate. I was pretty — appreciate your perspective. It’s nice to [00:41:24] have a down to earth filmmaker.

[00:41:26] Rain Bennett: Look who I got right here.

[00:41:27] Dawn Crawford: Oh man, there it is. It’s a speaker that we gave you.

[00:41:30] Rain Bennett: It was one of, one of my favorite favorite gifts.

[00:41:33] Dawn Crawford: Swags, man. I love swag.

[00:41:35] Rain Bennett: I even talked about it. Yeah. But I, I was like, I think I made a video about it for my Instagram stories, and I was just like, they got me a speaker gift and I just was like, blown away by that.

It was so good.

[00:41:46] Dawn Crawford: We do it. We love a good pun. Love a good pun.

[00:41:48] Rain Bennett: I know it took me like a second. I was like, Oh my God. Cause I loved it anyway, just because it was a speaker and I said it and I was like a speaker gift!

[00:41:56] Dawn Crawford: It’s like.

[00:41:59] Rain Bennett: So good.[00:42:00] 

[00:42:00] Dawn Crawford: Well, cool. Well, thank you so much and thank you for joining us. Yeah. And thank you for everybody listening to this episode and have a great rest of your day.

[00:42:09] Rain Bennett: All righty.

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