Origins of our experiential filmmaking challenge activity

My mission statement as a filmmaker is to challenge the common beliefs and complacencies of my audience. Many of my films have been reported as being progressive in creating a voice and visibility, especially in the area of diversity and inclusion.

As I juggled my careers as both a filmmaker and someone who designed and delivered training to large corporates, I recognised that they both shared one thing in common - to win the hearts and minds of the audience.

I was very fortunate that my experience as a trainer aligned perfectly with the approach at MDA Training, focusing around experiential learning and enabling employees to “Learn by doing”.

Working with clients across a broad range of industries, including some of the world’s largest banks, retailers, law firms, insurers and manufacturers, I quickly became curious in which learning activities had most appeal for participants on their learning journey and how they could easily apply this learning back to the workplace. All too often, I found the learning solutions in place with some clients where quite traditional.

That’s when I had my light bulb moment! I decided to create the filmmaking challenge.

As a filmmaker, I recognise the learning opportunities in the filmmaking process, the challenges faced, and the broad range of skills required such as effective communication, collaboration, teamwork and strong leadership. I applied these insights to the design of our filmmaking challenge activity.

Straight into the deep end!

We initially pitched this concept to one of the UK’s largest retailers and were successful in embedding this into their leadership programmes for their senior leaders.

In teams, they had to create films that met a range client specifications and deadlines, and in doing so, the participants needed to collaborate effectively as a team and apply a range of critical and creative thinking skills.

The teams received practical tools, tips and training around producing short films from experienced filmmaking experts to assist them in fulfilling new roles and responsibilities.

The participants had to manage change as it was introduced and demonstrate flexible approaches and agile working.

As this was a leadership programme, the activity provided practical insights into individual and team strengths and dynamics, all observed real-time, and with time for reflection at three levels - an individual, team and independent facilitator/coach level.

Our experiential filmmaking challenge activity offers a transformative learning experience

A highlight of this experiential learning event is always the film screening at the end where all participants enjoy and learn from each other’s films through the showcasing of their respective films.

Most commonly, the film themes are set around a client’s organisational context such as business change, values or commercial challenges.

This enables teams to create meaningful films with a clear link back to the workplace, not only helping to embed their learning, but also provide an authentic film that can be shared to the wider organisation.

As studies show, knowledge retention for a traditional learning solution is only five percent, whereas compared to experiential learning can be as much as 90 percent.

Experiential learning can help drive behaviour change, create stronger employee engagement and create a more positive and lasting impact for organisations in the long-term.

A trending client theme for our filmmaking activity

A trending theme for our filmmaking activity in 2021 and 2022 has been around diversity and inclusion and how organisations benefit from a broader talent pool.

Many of our clients found the films so powerful and insightful that they were utilised on corporate social media accounts to help support recruitment initiatives to attract new talent from underrepresented and less-advantaged backgrounds.

High-level format of our experiential filmmaking challenge activity

The activity is structured into three key phases.

1) Pre-production where participants brainstorm ideas and draft their storyboard.

2) Production where teams produce and shoot their films.

3) Post-production where participants edit their films, upload them ready for the screening and prepare for a Q&A on their films and the challenges they faced and overcame in the activity.

Click here to watch our film filmmaking activity in action

A flexible, experiential team activity

Our filmmaking challenge offers a really flexible learning solution. It can run in many guises ranging from a two-hour session to a one-day workshop. It is proving particularly popular with client projects in the following areas:

  • Early careers events helping to onboard interns and graduates - providing a great opportunity to network, collaborate as a team and explore key skills such as communication and personal impact
  • Team-building events - providing an experiential and engaging format to bring staff together and explore effective teamworking or focus and build energy around a change initiative in the business
  • Leadership development - providing a practical event where managers and senior leaders can practice and explore leadership and team skills, whilst focusing on a strategic imperative in the business.

A flexible delivery format

Our filmmaking challenge offers a flexible learning solution that can run in all formats - in person, virtually and hybrid. And we have extensive experience across all three. Click here to explore our one page infographic on the activity.

Get in touch with Carl today for more information about our filmmaking challenge and explore how it can be tailored to meet your team or organisational development needs.

Blog by Carl Medland, Training Consultant and Filmmaker at MDA Training