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Every Human Has Rights Media Award

Re-Introducing Chance Multimedia: Our Story

Watching the sunrise in Cascas, Peru. Photo by Dr. Bruce McArthur.

We arrived in Denver on January 3, 2009 with a moving truck, two laptops, some multimedia equipment and an Every Human Has Rights Media Award. The award, our first together as a company, had come with a free trip to Paris along with 28 other winners from around the world. We spent the trip talking, debating and dreaming about media, journalism, communication, and what Chance Multimedia would become (once we really got started).

During the previous year, we worked out of backpacks together in the Philippines, Cambodia, Guatemala and Thailand, building our ability to produce work together in tiny rooms. James with his cameras and me with my computer. Crafting interviews, shot lists, and sequences, writing, and working it all out as we went. Visiting people living in mausoleums, in monasteries, and on the street. Gathering stories. Oftentimes, breaking my own heart in the process.

Before deciding to leave Ohio and begin Chance Multimedia, we worked on a national foster care project with young people who had been raised in the foster care system. Between our international stories and our national advocacy work, we began to shape our vision and balance how our strengths might work,  together.

So when we arrived in Denver in 2009, we were on our way to establishing a multimedia storytelling company that we knew would be different. Our partnership would focus on telling real stories, authentically captured and woven with beautiful visuals, from a transparent point of view. Stories that would invigorate audiences — as well as the staff of the organizations we would work for — because they were told from a grassroots level, outside of the conference room.

We wanted to produce stories that would touch hearts, because they were true.

We just needed that first project.

After hundreds of cold calls, several networking events, and a lot of projects that fell through, it came. And then another, and another. Slowly, with gratitude to the clients who took a chance with a small, new kind of video team, we began to grow. At some point in 2010, we stopped making calls and networking. We were too busy, and the word-of-mouth recommendations kept it that way. It was happening.

Nearly half way through 2012, I'm very pleased to say that we haven't slowed down a bit. In fact, we're still gaining momentum and expanding faster than we even expected, not only in our work, but in our staff, our brand, and our space. (But more on that in an upcoming post..)

Soon, we hope to travel back to Manila to finish a 30-minute documentary that we started in the Philippines on that epic trip in 2008, about a community of people living in the North Cemetery. It's the same project that won the Every Human Has Rights Media Award. We're eager now to bring our enhanced skills, knowledge and attention to the varied perspectives of the people living there who have generously shared their lives, thoughts and dreams with us over the years, and weave them together into a long-form documentary.

As we look forward to all of the new happenings in our work this year, I want to emphasize the values that we bring to our work every single day:

We believe that authentic, true stories are the best way to cut through the communication clutter, and it's what we do best.

We believe that strong, clean visuals honor the stories we produce by making even difficult and sad stories beautiful.

We believe our stories honor the storyteller's truth and experience. We listen, and we respect the courage it takes to share one person's truth with another (and the dynamics of telling that story in front of a lens).

Finally, we regard each of our clients as a partnership that grows and becomes more valuable over time.

We are so grateful to the many client partners who have enabled us to come to this place in our own story.

We'll be publishing a series of blogs during the next few months, introducing new team members, going behind the scenes on some of the stories we've produced, and looking back at some of the most valuable mistakes we've made over the years.

Thanks for reading,

Jessica Chance.