The vision for the film

The team has had two production meetings about the creative direction for the film and I wanted to update you on how things are going.

The first and most important thing you should do is watch some of our list of reference films. They’re short, but define the landscape of possible creative directions for films like ours. It gives us an easy vocabulary of references for things not to do, and things we do want to do. We want you involved, but the first question I’ll ask people with ideas is “have you seen any of the reference films?” 🙂

Anti-vision: things we want to avoid

As negative as it might seem it’s amazingly helpful to clarify what we’re not going to do and what we don’t want.

Most of the reference films are cold. They try to tell the story of an entire city which is impossible, as the burden of comprehensiveness crushes narrative.

Here’s a list of things we will intentionally avoid:

  • No timelapsed video
  • No over caffineated happy pretty people
  • No talking heads
  • No extended aerial shots
  • No Space Needle or Pike Place Market (e.g. cliche landmarks)
  • No fancy famous people
  • No disposable intros

If you look at the reference films you’ll find these elements are common.


The tile of our project defines many of our creative choices. The WE in We Make Seattle demands people are the focus of the stories. The MAKE implies we show people and places about creation, and emphasize action and work at the ground level, rather than seen from 10,000 feet above the fray.

The film will focus on the lives of a handful of local creatives. Divided into four parts in rough chronology, we’ll show how they start their day while letting their voices explain what drives them to start a company, start a band,  make a film or take the daily risks of entrepreneurship. We want at least one story to be tech related but want a balance of different kinds of making represented.

We’ll use the real voices of local creatives, while we show footage underneath of the places that inspire them, the places they use, and the people and services they depend on to do what they do.

Divided roughly into quarters of the 3:30 film, each section will center on a different aspect of working life.

AWAKE:  Getting started. Getting ready. Voices of makers explain why they get up early every day. Why they’re inspired to take the risks they take.

SOUL: We’ll show people at work at the peak of their passion. Voices describe makers explain the exuberance they feel at the peak of their work, while we show footage of soulful work and making taking place, and the inspiring workshops and studios where it happens.

JOY:  All of the things outside of strict workplace that can be found in the area that inspire and recharge makers, contributing to their ability to be makers and creators. A critical part of what makes Seattle a great city for creatives is how easy it is to find inspiration from bands, art, film and even the streets themselves.

PITCH: The last segment of the film will shift from the stories of makers to brief vignettes that show off our (mostly unrecognized) status, and address the top concerns people have about life in the Seattle area.

Total length is still targeted at 3:30.


To make the vision real depends on creating three lists.

Voices:  A list of candidates for people who can speak eloquently and passionately about their work, the city, and their passion for doing what they do (here in Seattle).

Locations: Places of work that are visually compelling, from restaurants and bars, to renovated downtown lofts housing startups. Ideally they are workplaces used by our Voices, but this isn’t a requirement.

Locations for B roll:  We do need footage of Seattle area neighborhoods and sights for various uses, including underneath voice-overs.

We need to grow a list of candidates for each and I’ll drive reviewing and ranking them to work towards a filming and production schedule.

Backers Meeting Saturday

All backers of the film have been invited to meet this Saturday with the WMS team for us to thank them personally, answer questions and to discuss next steps for the film.  If you’re a backer and didn’t get the invite, let us know.


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