Guest post by Mo Scarpelli

Mo Scarpelli, MCON14
No one cares about issues.

I mean, sure they care — on some level. Stats, reports and campaign slogans can shock, awe, make an impression. They can jar someone into awareness.

But what makes us truly care? What makes us care enough that we can’t escape, that we are determined to change the way we live or the thing we’re working on, that we let the issue bubble out of our mouths every time we talk to a human because we simply can’t help it?


Think about it: When was the last time you really realized a problem, versus simply heard about one? Hell, when was the last time you were rapt in any old conversation?

My bet is someone was telling you a good story.

Contrary to a widespread assumption about documentaries, impactful docs are not about causes, issues or historical facts.

Good documentaries are about people. You care because you’re also a person, and because we live on this earth together and billions of crazy, weird, beautiful things tie us together no matter how different our politics, religions or communities.

Millennials get this in an incredible way. We’ve grown up with platforms to connect with others, new ways to discover and share stories, and a global consciousness that is unprecedented.

Our access to stories is unlimited. At the same time, our capacity for empathy, I believe, is endless. Documentary films — true stories — are poised at the intersection of these two phenomena.

And so it just makes sense that docs are a viable tool for Millennials’ efforts toward change.

They can mobilize people, spur discussion, and drum up support for action — because they make people care in a way nothing else can.

It isn’t too hard to dodge talking points from an expert, to argue our way out of stats, to turn away from reports and numbers that make a case for a cause.

But we can’t ignore a good story.

So get out there and share one.

Mo Scarpelli’s work straddles the realms of journalism and non-profit advocacy. Before forming Rake in 2012, she spent three years directing, shooting, editing and producing media for charity: water. Before that, she edited and reported multimedia for The Wall Street Journal. She focuses on character-driven narratives to broaden perspectives, challenge notions and tap into common threads that make us all human. At MCON14, Mo will moderate the MCON Filmmakers Series.