Draft your strategic plan
The strategic plan is designed to be a live document, a work in progress. You'll keep iterating all the way through the project – perhaps for years to come. The important thing is to make a start.
If you haven't already, download the Strategic Plan worksheet. To get going:
1. Plug in your Impact Vision at the top.
2. Using the four Impact Dynamics we have identified as prompts, brainstorm all the possible parts of the problem your film project could potentially address in the first column. Try to identify as many as possible, even if some feel like a real stretch – it's better to delete them later.
3. Use the headings to break down what your contribution to each one of these problems could be. In particular, try to come up with one or two first tasks against each. If you can't, or it just feels wrong, then you might want to delete that line. The questions you need to ask yourself are:
- Film Messages: What are the specific problems you identify in the film? (if you can, start with the headline problem which has defined your primary dynamic)
- Goal: What would a concrete solution/reversal of each problem be that your project could aim for?
- Key Agents: Who could make this happen? What audiences can you speak to and mobilise through your film or the campaign around it? Can you get beyond the choir?
- Impact Dynamic: What kind of impact would this be?
- Tasks: What do you need to do within your project (either with the film or within the film) to make the agent deliver the impact goal?
4. Finally, have a first stab at identifying your primary Impact Dynamic. Once you've got down and fleshed out as many problems and impact goals as you can, prioritise them by asking yourself two questions:
- Which of these would do most to deliver the Impact Vision?
- Which of these is our film best suited to?
Think about an order which reflects this – whatever comes out top is your primary Impact Dynamic, at least for now. This will help you think about what film projects you could best learn from.
There are more examples here.
There are more here.
My Impact Plan
Use this interactive form to create your own impact plan.
To save it you need to log in with an existing Doc Society login or create a new log in.
Your strategic plan is in its first iterations
'Documentarians can take inspiration from successful efforts by other types of creators to incorporate evaluation into the lifecycle of production – and to reconceptualize production as ongoing and iterative service rather than one-time creation'
Don't hesitate to revisit, and we strongly suggest that you do, as your project moves forward. The plan is a great way to introduce new team members to the process, gather new ideas, and determine points of action. In the next chapter we dive into those details: the concrete workforce, tools and resources you'll need to see your plan come to fruition.
Evaluation starts now
What you've done is created a first idea of how you think your film can drive change in the world. Everything that happens from here on is data that will tell you either that you're on the right track, or that you're not, or that there's another pathway to change that you hadn't thought of. By developing a Strategic Plan you're already taken the first step toward evaluation. Now you can:
- Start collecting that data. Like doing your tax return, put all the receipts in a shoe box. Collect every great review, list every community screening (ideally with audience estimate), file every 'your film changed my life' email and make a note of every local politician who referenced your film in a speech. Everything. Like receipts they add up. They add up to a textured picture of your film's journey through the world. And starting to collect them now is much smarter than trying to go back and evidence it later.
- Second, keep thinking and reflecting on your Strategic Plan. Is the data you're getting telling you to plough on? Is it suggesting another pathway, another audience that you hadn't thought of who are finding value and meaning in your work? What more could you do for them? Everything that happens is an opportunity to reflect on your strategy – to evaluate your approach, and improve it while it's live, not just once it's all over.
- Third, don't leave the data in the shoe box! All this information will help you make the case for how the story embeds in the culture to make measurable, recognizable, or some kind of perceptible and sustaining change happen. You'll find more on methods in the chapter on Evaluating.