The Four Agreements Your Film Project Should Honor

Here at Trove Studio, we are dedicated to helping you tell the story of your business, idea, or event in a way that honors your experience. Our founders Ben and Edi love their work, and want you to love the final product their company provides you. As you start the process of defining the story you want to tell, we’re happy to offer guidance where we can – clients have called us “intuitive,” “creative,” and “fun folks to be around”; we take those compliments and the meaning behind them seriously.

One unlikely source of inspiration we’d like to recommend for narrowing your thoughts? Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, a 1997 book originally written to help readers find happiness – stay with us, here! – but could also help you create a film that honors your vision, mission, and reputation. As you move through each stage of the process laid out below, think about how your idea for a short film, music video, commercial, or other project can hold these principles tightly – and what doing so will mean for your brand or organization.

Be Impeccable with Your Word

This assertion can have a few meanings. First and foremost, speak your truth as a brand, organization, or individual. Seek to create a concept for your film that is true to your vision, ideals, and relationship that you want it to cultivate. This type of honesty not only gives your viewer a clear idea of who you are and what your brand, organization, or event is about, but is also breeds trust that will create (or strengthen) loyalty to you.

As an example, RoomSync is a company whose stated ideal is “The belief that empowering roommate choice leads to happier people who are more willing to work through their differences.” At each turn, development of their college-roommate selection software seeks to do precisely this. The video we created for them featured a clear picture of that mission, through a vignette that walked a pair of characters through the roommate matching process. By keeping their ultimate purpose in mind, the result was a simple, clean, and descriptive video that demonstrated precisely what their product does.[1] 

Closely related to the point above: This agreement applies not just to speaking about your own brand or concept, but also to the agreement of not speaking ill of rivals. Center any ideas you create around the elevation of you and your product, not around diminishing or devaluing someone else. For your concept to speak loudly, concentrate on who you are and what’s important to you. Again, this impeccability of word – particularly of kind word – will engender confidence and trust in you, the best possible outcome for a film project.

Don’t Take Anything Personally

Photo by kzenon/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by kzenon/iStock / Getty Images

Generally speaking, those watching your finished product won’t know you personally ... and therefore can’t offend you personally, even if they try. Seek to embody the wisdom, “What others say, says more about them than it does about you.” This can be good for those creating – films, books, art, or anything else that feels so very personal – because it allows you to create for yourself. Start with imagery that makes you excited, that shows your work in its best light, and that reminds you about why you enjoy what you do; we promise, when well-executed, that excitement will spread to those watching.

As you continue to frame the story your film will recount, balance a need to inform and entertain others with unwavering dedication to the story you want the final product to tell. If criticism, notes, or other feedback are provided in the process, see that information for what it is – a gift designed to improve the final product, not a personal attack or condemnation of your character or creativity. Odds are, your instincts are good, but the execution needs a bit of refinement. Fear not – we can help with that![2] 

Don’t Make Assumptions

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

The process of bringing any creative project that involves multiple parties to life, is ensuring that everyone involved is on the same page. We at Trove will do our best to be up-front and communicative at every stage of the process, and we appreciate clients who expect the same. Even within your team, it’s beneficial to ensure that all members of the team are operating with the same information, expectations, and metrics for success. Assumptions, even about the smallest parts of this process, can create fractures in relationships that make success difficult.

If rifts do develop, we love this bit of advice from Ruiz: “Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want.” Seeking to act on this advice as often as possible allows clients to work with us as a united front, which makes collaboration easier and more successful.

Always Do Your Best

We'd love to think this one goes without saying, but it is an Agreement – so we’ll say it. The team at Trove strives to always come to you with our best; again, our most successful collaborations happen when our client believes the same. This may vary occasionally, on the end of the client, when workload or peak times of year get in the way, but good faith efforts to be your best help us do the same.

A video project is a tremendous opportunity to share your best self with a viewer, potential client, or loved one. Coming to the project with the understanding that your absolute best work, attention, and willingness to collaborate is essential to success will make the journey toward your final product far easier and more enjoyable.

If Ruiz’s Four Agreements are ones you feel you can abide by, start thinking about what you’d like your video project to look like and get in touch with us – we’re ready, willing, and excited to help you bring the vision in your head to life!