What I Experienced At Ignite Your Passion Workshop Pt. 1

I attended the Ignite Your Passion Workshop.  You can checkout our recap of the program in a Storify

Ignite Your Passion Workshop Day 1

Ignite Your Passion Workshop Day 2


I was amazed by the amount of people in attendance.  This is a must-attend workshop.

Bill Middeke is the storyteller that originally ignited this gathering.  You should send him a tweet just thanking him for getting this started.

Send a tweet to Bill and use #ThanksBillForIgnite

Bill got the program started with a presentation on the 4 P’s.


Practice, patience, people and passion.  It’s a simple idea.  We all have to practice our craft as often as we can.  I’m not in a newsroom anymore, but I still produce content.  If I don’t practice my craft I won’t be an effective teacher.  This mantra goes a bit deeper.  You shouldn’t just practice those skills you know.  You should learn and try new skills.  I know many in the audience were eager to return home, produce some content with a newly introduced skill or concept.

You have to have patience with these new ideas.  They won’t work right away.  With a little patience … yea, yea (Sorry, Guns N Roses suddenly came into my head), these news ideas will steadily become routine.

You need people.  People to tell a story; about, to, for.

Then there is passion.  Passion doesn’t fuel ambition. Ambition fuels passion.

Read that again; Passion doesn’t fuel ambition.  Ambition fuels passion.

A great amount of effort into your job becomes the passion for the job.  You may not set out to become the best in a your shop, but with a lot of passion you’ll become awesome at storytelling.

I think you have passion.  You’re hear reading, trying to learn more aren’t you?

Next up was Scott Jensen.  Scott spoke about the building blocks of photojournalism.

The bottom row is the blocks we all learned in the beginning; shot variety, using a tripod, teamwork, white balance, composition.

The 2nd row takes our work to the next level; solid editing, not breaking the rules, the use of lighting and sequencing.

The 3rd row has ethics, characters, moments and reaction, and anticipation. Everyone must build their own sense of ethics in journalism.  Finding characters to tell your stories, capturing moments with these character and anticipating when a moment will happen is the difference between a good and a great storyteller.

The next row, especially the one in the middle got me thinking.  You need personal skills to be a great storyteller?  I never really thought about that.  What personal skills do you need in order to be a better storyteller?  I found this image on the University of Leeds website


Wow, yeah.  Scott’s right.  Without these skills you cannot effectively interact with those characters and tell their stories.  You also need to work with others in your shop.  I need to think about personal skills more as I continue to become a better…well person.

The fifth row was my favorite.  Polishing and breaking the rules.  Present to the viewer the best product you can in the time you have.  Be fast, be efficient with your craft and you’ll have more time to polish.  Then there is breaking the rules.  If you know me you know I don’t think of them as rules.  I think of them more as guidelines.  Understand those guidelines on the bottom row


and be prepared to modify them when the story warrants.

The final block was make is memorable.  Tell a memorable story.  Find a way to make that story memorable.

I must say I was inspired and that was only after 2 presentations.

Up next was Erica Hanna, a digital content director.  I live with a digital content manager.  My wife Misty Montano is my total resource for all matters in social media.  Erica gave me some new insight into the world of tweets and likes.  We don’t listen enough when we are on social media.  If we listen more our audience will trust us.  Erica said you and your stories are fire.  Social conversations is the fuel.  Tell memorable stories (see above) and let social media carry it to others.  That good, memorable content will fuel the spreading of your story.

Some other elements she spoke about in social media;



She also spoke about thanking your audience and continuing to engage them after the story aired.

I learned about when to post on social media.  When your friends are online.  That was like a No Duh! moment.  Really, I think we are all over-think when to post.  Post when you think your audience is listening.  Post when you’ll be able to interact with your audience.  If you’re posting a tweet at 3am, are you up at 3am to listen to what they’re saying?

Were not even done with day 1 yet.  I look forward to sharing with you shat I experienced At Ignite Your Passion Workshop Pt. 2 later this week.

Shawn Montano