Lights! Camera! Action!

There were many moments of laughter throughout the two days during the media workshop Oct. 27-28. Clockwise from upper left: Holy Family of Nazareth Sr. Angela Szczawinska, Franciscan Sr. Maria Brizuela, Ben Severence of Timber & Frame, and Franciscan Sr. Laura Zelte (Timber & Frame)

A Nun's Life Ministry hosted 16 sisters from congregations across the U.S. on October 27-28 for a pilot workshop about making videos — with a twist.

We adapted professional filmmaking techniques to the use of iPhones and iPads for creating internet videos about discernment, prayer, ministry, community and other aspects of religious life.

The workshop was made possible by a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, which also funds Global Sisters Report.

Joining us were videographers Alexandra Morrow and Ben Severance, founder of Timber & Frame, an Emmy Award winning film company.

We focused on interview-style videos, based on the popular A Nun's Life series called #nunday, in which sisters share their experiences of religious life. Our friend and iMovie geek Julie Brown also joined us, as did our new director of communications, Alana Hatcher, in her very first week with A Nun's Life.

During the workshop, we covered a wide range of topics such as concepts of storytelling, how to prepare for interviews, and how to set an environment for filming. The sisters worked in teams to produce videos on their phones and tablets. 

We also talked about the strategic use of social media to connect with the online community and about using metrics to guide decisions about content.

The result: great conversations, new ideas, lots of laughter, and several awesome #nunday videos filmed, edited and produced by the sisters! Here is an example of what they did.

The workshop was a pilot project, so we also wanted to hear from the sisters about all aspects of their experience. We offered the training workshop in response to the growing interest we've heard from many sisters and congregations about using more video in social channels to engage with people about religious life. The sisters' feedback later in October will help us refine the workshop for the future. 

The sisters worked in teams to produce videos on their phones and tablets. From left: Notre Dame Sr. Jenny Zimmerman, Ursuline Sr. Monica Seaton and Sr. Sharon Dillon, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis (Ben Severence / Timber & Frame)
The workshop covered the strategic use of social media to connect with the online community and how to use metrics to guide decisions about content. Presentation Sr. Mary Therese Krueger, left, and Sr. Lauren Elizabeth Zak, a member of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Ben Severence / Timber & Frame)

As I reflect on the experience, now a couple of weeks out, many things stand out in my mind as highlights — too many to list here, so I'll mention just three.

One was the spirit of adventure and creativity that the sisters brought to the workshop. It reminded me of the spirit of the generations of sisters before us, in particular their can-do attitude and their openness to new experiences and perspectives.

Another were the many moments of laughter throughout the two days. It reminded me that joy is a hallmark of religious life, and it is a wonderful gift that we can share with one another and the world.

For me, what was especially profound was the encouragement that sisters offered to those who will view the videos — encouragement to listen for God's call in their own lives, to be of service to others, and to live with compassion, love, integrity and peace.

To see more #nunday videos, visit aNunslife.org.

[Maxine Kollasch is a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Monroe, Michigan, and co-founder of A Nun's Life Ministry, which was founded on the internet in 2006 and is present at aNunsLife.org and in many social media outlets.]