'Trophy' filmmakers on what makes a great story

What’s the Story? is a storytelling video series dedicated to learning what truly makes a great story, told through the lens of the world’s talent and practitioners of the craft in entertainment, marketing and beyond.

‘Trophy’ is a film from CNN Films that explores big game hunting and wildlife conservation. During a conversation at SXSW, the film’s directors, Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz, saw the subject as an opportunity to weigh both sides of the very delicate issue of how to save endangered wildlife and open people’s minds on the subject.

To tell the story of a polarizing subject such as big game hunting, both needed to be able to see every angle of the story and get people to challenge their initial views. To Schwarz, a great story is one that surprises, that dares to challenge viewers.

“If you came into a story and you got what you were expecting, come on,” he says. “Take a twist. Take a turn. Dare a change. Dare to be challenged.”

For Clusiau, it’s about the exploration of specific subjects, and ones she may not know anything about. Finding compelling characters makes the story even more engaging.

“If you can find characters that you're following that are interesting individuals, it even makes it more fun. It's all about the curiosity and going forward,” she adds.

Schwarz says that good stories are difficult to make and that a storyteller must be able to take chances, be brave and possibly pay some price in the process – one that challenges expectations, according to Clusiau, which is what ‘Trophy’ indeed does.

What's the Story? is sponsored by Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), the first global network for branded product integration in the entertainment industry, across all media, including the influencer space.

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