Video Production & Storytelling at StoryblocksStoryblocks Features
June 22, 2021
Video Production & Storytelling at Storyblocks
Storytelling at Storyblocks: An interview with Kaitlyn Rossi, senior video producer at Storyblocks
When did your interest in video creation start?
When I started college, I thought I wanted to be a journalism major. I always liked writing and enjoyed storytelling. I’m going to date myself, but when I went into school, video production wasn’t a huge thing yet. When I was in school, people who studied digital video usually went into TV or broadcast journalism — so I learned about this concentration after seeking out the journalism school. It’s a lot of hands-on creative work, so I fell in love with it. I learned how to edit at my first job after college and just continued on from there because I liked making things and it gave me an opportunity to be creative.
Tell us about your journey to storytelling at Storyblocks, and your current role.
I’m a Senior Producer. I develop and produce our original series content. We’re still a pretty small team behind our branded video content so I wear a lot of hats in my job. I concept, I write, I produce and I’m editing all of the original series content for Storyblocks.
Did you start at Storyblocks as a video producer?
Nope! For context, Storyblocks actually found me. The company was about 40 people when I started — so they were in the process of recruiting heavily. They were hiring someone to engage with our contributor base and looking for people who could speak that language of video production and understand some of the challenges that those artists face. I originally was hired as a Contributor Engagement Manager, which was a bit of a deviation from my career at the time, but ultimately I thought it was a great opportunity to expand my skills into marketing. After a few years being at the company, I found myself sneaking more and more back into video creation which is what led me to my current position as Senior Producer.
Tell us more about how you “snuck” your way back into video production?
The culture at Storyblocks is incredibly supportive and it’s one that has always encouraged people to seek out what they might want to do next. No one will ever tell you to stay in your lane — so you have the chance to carve your own path. I started seeing opportunities to help out on side projects. At one point, we were doing a video for an internal presentation and I just raised my hand and said, “I can edit that.” That led to further conversations with our director of our content marketing department at the time, and she was telling me that as a company, we wanted to move more into video content rather than all of the written content we were currently focusing on. I took the opportunity and told her, “I can do it. Let’s, let’s start trying it out.” From there, we started producing more consistent content for our YouTube channel and our blog. Since this kind of stuff was my focus in previous jobs, I knew how to scale it. That side project turned into a full-time opportunity and a new role within Storyblocks.
Back in October Storyblocks launched Re: Stock, an initiative to support underrepresented creators, could you tell us more about your involvement?
I’ve been with Re: Stock since the beginning of this project and it’s been so awesome to see it evolve and grow. We knew that our content library was lacking diversity, and we knew that was something that was necessary for us to fix. We started talking about this initiative from the perspective of, “let’s see if we can get more artists in the door who come from diversified backgrounds and can really authentically represent the content that they’re creating.” I put on my old contributor engagement hat for that to help work with those artists and then married that with the content that I was producing at the time. The work that I did for Re: Stock was mainly producing and editing all of the video content that supported that initiative This included some videos that helped set the stage and talk about why representation matters, some artists bios and interviews, and then a whole bunch of short social video content that would help promote and spread the reach of that campaign and storytelling at Storyblocks.
What are you currently working on?
You know it’s hard to top Re: Stock and it’s an ongoing initiative with some great things on the horizon. I’m excited to see how the content continues to develop and get better as we do more of that. Outside of that, I’m focusing on developing more original series, like Partnered, which just premiered and continuing to create a network of shows that can be valuable to our audience and our customers. This year we released our very first original series called Anatomy of a Story. That’s also available for everyone to watch.
Who should watch Partnered?
I think Partnered is for everybody. I feel like there are a lot of people across the creative industry or in any industry really, who have probably felt the stress of not having the support of a solid team. But more specifically, this is a series that’s geared towards professional video creators — whether that be freelancers, someone who works on an in-house team, a YouTube creator, that’s kind of doing their own content. We found five video professionals to pair up with a creative partner to complete a project in just two days — so it’s a fun and engaging series that also explores this theme of how creative partnership can enhance our work, no matter how experienced we are. What the guests found surprising is how they were pushed to the next level to try things that they might not normally do in their work because there was someone there to offer a new perspective and challenge them. So even someone who feels like they have a good creative network could relate to Partnered and find value in it as well.
It seems like you’re really creating new content relatively quickly, how do you stay inspired?
There are a couple of things. When it comes to concepting or writing and coming up with an idea for a series or a show, I start with research from our audience and customer base — looking deeper into the things that challenge them, the things that they have questions about and what interests them to find a starting point for our concepts. That’s what we did with Partnered. We ended up coming up with a concept that a lot of people relate to because we started from something that was real, that our audience had actually felt. In terms of where I look for creative inspiration, I watch a lot of content. I think one of the cool things about being a producer and an artist is that you have original ideas, but a lot comes from somewhere else with various tweaks and interpretations. You might be inspired by the format of one show and apply that to a novel concept.
I watch a lot of other series from brands. Wistia and Yeti are two companies that are doing a lot of cool video content. MailChimp is another one — they produce a lot of video series and podcasts. I follow a lot of creators and influencers on Instagram and YouTube and see what they’re doing. It’s incredible what some of these creators can do with very limited resources and working on their own as well, so those are my big inspiration points. You can even look up to bigger shows on HBO and such — you pick up little things here and there and it helps guide your creative direction and inspiration. You’re just kind of always “on” and you never know what might influence something that you do in your work next.
Storyblocks’ new original series Partnered premieres June 22. Subscribe to be notified when new episodes are published each week.