This story is sponsored by TELUS STORYHIVE Voices
If Robin Martin has learned anything from his journey that took him from Southern France to the Okanagan in British Columbia, it’s that humans are fascinating. It is the kind of story worth showcasing in his six-part documentary series, The Reason Why, which focuses on the unique people who make his adopted town of Vernon a better place.
When Martin first moved to the Okanagan from France a half decade ago, he was a CrossFit trainer who’d always dreamed of content creation and filmmaking.
Enter TELUS STORYHIVE’s Voices program, which helped Martin achieve his goals. In this program, selected digital content creators receive $10,000 in production funding, along with training and support to bring their dreams to your screens. And now the program is back, with applications opening on February 6 for new and emerging digital content creators like Martin.
The idea that led Martin to apply to STORYHIVE Voices was a simple but powerful one: pick interesting people in his community to interview—an addiction counsellor, freestyle skier, gender transitioning barber—and find out what motivates them.
“The idea comes from the fact that I personally believe that the ‘why’ is the most important thing if you are going to live a purposeful life,” Martin says. “It was also driven by the fact that I am genuinely interested in people’s stories, and always fascinated by knowing how someone got where they are. The Reason Why is part of a mission to raise awareness by showing other people why someone is doing what they are doing and maybe trigger some self-introspection—why you are here, what drives you, and why you do the things you do.”
TELUS STORYHIVE Voices is a grassroots-oriented program that supports diverse and underrepresented voices, and is open to new and emerging digital content creators in B.C. and Alberta, whether they live in a small town or a big city.
The ground rules for applying are simple: come up with the idea for a 6-to-10-episode series that focuses on something of interest to you and your local community. That can be anything viewed through a uniquely Canadian lens, from educational or lifestyle content to entertainment for kids.
Here is a quick look at which episodic, non-fiction content forms are eligible:
- Cooking Shows
- Kids Content
- Trivia Shows
- Gaming Shows
- Talk Shows
- Variety Shows
- Lifestyle shows, *Reality TV, and “How-to” docs
The idea of local reflectiveness is important to keep in mind when thinking about your series. And fittingly, it’s also one of the guiding principles for the application process.
“We encourage anyone to apply! STORYHIVE Voices supports a variety of content that can be produced into an episodic series,” says Audrey Kiss, STORYHIVE’s B.C. Interior Territory Manager. “In the past we’ve seen a docuseries about a local foil-board shaper showcasing the dying art of handmade boards, a candid view through the owner’s lens of a local diner, Helen’s Grill, and so much more! Voices is all about sharing local stories, and you don’t have to be from a big city to apply.”
One of the important goals of STORYHIVE Voices is to provide a platform for content creators looking to build or grow an audience for their unique vision and creative work. No experience is required—just passion and ideas.
In addition to the $10,000 in production funding, those whose projects are selected will also get customized online training, a community of support, and exposure to over 1 million new viewers on TELUS Optik TV and STORYHIVE’s YouTube channel.
Those with storytelling ideas have from February 6 to March 20, 2024 to apply at STORYHIVE.com/apply. In addition to new talent—perhaps you’ve just started making serious waves on YouTube or TikTok—past STORYHIVE applicants are encouraged to apply again.
For an idea of how important STORYHIVE has been in elevating the voices of content creators over the years, consider the program’s history. Over the past decade, it’s distributed more than $59 million in production funding to Canadian content, helping over 1,200 screen based projects get produced.
Martin is one of those who’s benefitted from that important support, having just used STORYHIVE Voices funding to shoot his latest project in Vernon.
“It’s called Words of Wisdom, and it’s basically a series of interviews with elders,” he shares. “To be interviewed, you need to be above 70. Most people were 80 or 90—I had a woman who was a hundred years old. The goal was really to give a voice to an age group that is completely unrepresented online and on socials, so that was pretty cool.”
Martin’s message to his fellow creators is a valuable one. He suggests that if you’re passionate about something, you can often make your dream happen. At the same time, he notes that being selected by STORYHIVE Voices was, for him, a game-changer.
“I would have found a way to do the project, but it would have been way more complicated,” he notes. “It was a great, great help—I was able to spend more time on the project without having to stress on the short term about money, which reduced a lot of stress 100 percent.”More