What is MUSE?, you’ve asked by now. Well, it is a set of tools, developed and tested by the 5 time Emmy-Award-winning Stillmotion team to help users to learn and use a story.
At its core, MUSE is an 8-step process that you can use repeatedly to develop and build your stories. The process is built on the idea that we must speak to the heart to move the mind. That we need to first move people emotionally if we wish to change their perspective and/or behavior. This concept is backed by years of research in psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, and sociology.
Following the team’s idea, “story is the vehicle that lets us move people and bring them to our purpose. And MUSE helps you construct that vehicle to be the most badass, intentional, supercharged one it can be.” It’s a process the team has developed over 10 years of telling stories, big and small. It’s been taught around the world to thousands of filmmakers in the hopes of helping them tell stronger stories and be more intentional in their filmmaking. It was used extensively throughout the making of Stillmotion’s first feature-length documentary Stand With Me.
MUSE’s 8 steps are broken into two phases, listen and construct. The listening phase helps you research, understand, and develop the potential of the story. The construct phase helps you make the strongest decisions, inject proper structure, and build your story step-by-step.
Stories should always begin before the cameras roll. For the Stillmotion team it starts with the passion for listening, for finding the heart of the story, and for their drive to make every story they tell, the best story they’ve ever told.
Patrick Moreau, co-founder of Stillmotion, says that “while we certainly have big dreams for MUSE, one thing is for sure, we do hope it will revolutionize your storytelling. It certainly has for us, and we’ve been making films of all genres for years. Weddings, documentaries, corporate work, and narratives. MUSE has helped us win several Emmy’s, get a handful of Vimeo staff picks, and the idea behind it was presented to global business leaders at the United Nations in 2014.”
At its core MUSE is about story—about using a process that will help you structure an engaging plot with remarkable characters that will truly connect your audience. And story is relevant to anyone who wants to create a connection, be that a photographer, narrative filmmaker, or cinematographer—no matter if you’re a hobbyist or expert. According to Stillmotion, “at its launch, MUSE really shines when put to use by filmmakers who work with weddings, documentaries, and commercial work.”
When you purchase A MUSE Toolkit you’ll get tools to learn the process (and story), along with a set of physical tools you can use as you build your stories.
The Tools You Get in MUSE
The main tool to learn MUSE is a content rich online course. You’ll get lifetime access and it’s accessible on any device. MUSE’s 8 steps are explored over 8 modules inside the online course. Each module has a main video that’s 10-20 minutes in length, a succinct recap, a quiz, a discussion, worksheets, and case-studies. You can also download audio-only versions of the videos, as well as transcripts.
To support in your learning, you’ll get access to a Story Coach. Somebody you can reach directly inside the class and can help you with any concepts you’re struggling with or if you’re simply unsure about how to apply an idea to what you do.
When you purchase a MUSE Toolkit you’ll also have a pretty rockin’ package on it’s way to you within 2 business days. Inside you’ll find an 11×17” MUSE canvas poster, a set of 3 MUSE workbooks, and some extra goodies. MUSE Workbooks are something that helps guide you in your own stories and you can fill them out along the way. They help you find and build your story using the MUSE process.
You’ll also have access to a set of Story Blueprints. These are digital files that you can access through the online course once you complete it. Story Blueprints apply conditional logic to the MUSE process for a variety of common films or videos you might be looking to make. MUSE currently includes Blueprints for:
- A Wedding Film
- Case Study / Testimonial
- A Brand Anthem
- Promoting a Product / Service
- A Documentary
For example, the Story Blueprint for a Case Study will suggest where to look for your main characters, as well as the two core plot structures fitting for this type of story. In short, they help you tell strong stories even quicker than going through the whole process. BUT you need to truly understand story and MUSE to have them work for you.
To recap, every MUSE toolkit includes a content rich online course with lifetime access, support from a Story Coach, along with a canvas poster of the process, a set of workbooks, and a set of Story Blueprints.
Through the whole process you’ll learn one important thing: there is a reason the record button is red. It is an opportunity to pause and make sure of your aim before you roll.
Just follow your MUSE!