top of page
  • Writer's pictureRain Bennett

Collaborative Storytelling Secrets to Drive Change with Elena Rue

Are you a non-profit looking for an authentic storytelling collaboration? Have you heard the myths that it's too expensive, too complicated, or impossible to find the right partner? Well, Elena Rue is here to show you the truth about collaborative storytelling and how to create content that is powerful, impactful, and authentic.

Elena Rue is an accomplished storyteller and co-founder of StoryMine, a digital storytelling agency specializing in collaborating with non-profit organizations to create powerful documentaries.

With a background in anthropology, photography, and journalism, Elena has honed her skills to create authentic and engaging content that speaks to the hearts of her clients' audiences. Her unique approach to storytelling involves deep immersion into the subject matter and working closely with the people involved, ensuring that their voices and experiences are accurately represented.

In this episode, you will learn how to:

  • Develop engaging narratives with a collaborative storytelling approach.

  • Focus on key story aspects when producing videos for comprehensive messaging.

  • Maximize budget efficiency while maintaining authenticity in your creative projects.

  • Nurture client understanding of storytelling techniques and video production procedures.

  • Harness storytelling power as an instrument for positive transformation and individual upliftment.



Rain Bennett and Elena Rue, documentary filmmakers from North Carolina, on The Storytelling Lab podcast.

In French, there is an expression called a "'pas de deux," which means a "dance for two."

This is what storytelling is: a collaborative art form between the storyteller and the story "listener," where the energy ebbs and flows back and forth like dancing, and both parties are needed to experience the power of a story.

Think about watching a movie or a comedy show. If the audience is not there, there IS NO experience.

As a creator, you must have that audience (and their feedback) in order to do your best work. And if it is not resonating with them, then you are off-balance and out of sync and the dance is not working.

On my podcast this week, however, my guest showed me a completely new way to highlight the collaborative nature of storytelling.

Elena Rue is an accomplished storyteller and co-founder of StoryMine, a digital storytelling agency specializing in collaborating with non-profit organizations to create powerful documentaries.

Elena and her partner Catherine approach the filmmaking process with their clients in the same way—a "pas de deux."

Often, we (the creators) think it is our job to educate and lead our clients.

And it is.

But, Elena believes that if we don't dive deep and immerse ourselves into the world (and the values and experiences) of the people we are working for (with), then we are missing out on the opportunity to make their stories as powerful as possible.

"We don't really believe in objectivity. We feel like people who are close to a story know a lot about it, and they should be part of the storytelling process. " - Elena Rue

Elena Rue and Catherine Orr from Storymine Media.

The goal of StoryMine is to create social change.

All stories need to effect change, or transformation, of some sort. That's the point.

But to make systemic changes, on a societal and cultural level, you must move people in a deeply emotional way.

That is why Elena and Catherine work so hard to fully understand their clients.

And their work speaks for itself.

In our conversation, Elena walked me through the WHOLE process from beginning to end when they work with a new client.

For anyone interested in the video storytelling process for their business or organization, this episode will be so helpful in highlighting the journey as well as the things you can do ahead of time to make their job (as the filmmakers) easier which will in turn make your story more effective.

Storymine media, documentary filmmakers from North Carolina for nonprofits.

If you are interested in learning more about the video storytelling process and how you can leverage it, this is the episode for you!

3. Social Media Storytelling for Nonprofits with JULIA CAMPBELL Loved this episode? Leave us a review and rating here:


Some of the highlights of our conversation:

  • 00:02:05 - Differences Between Journalistic and Storytelling Approaches

  • 00:06:20 - Initial Strategy Meeting

  • 00:09:39 - Common Misconceptions About Video Storytelling

  • 00:13:55 - Addressing Budget Concerns

  • 00:16:02 - Different Approaches to Maintaining Story Integrity

  • 00:18:00 - Collaborative Partnership with Clients

  • 00:20:26 - Types of Video and Services

  • 00:22:31 - Navigating Filming During the Pandemic

  • 00:27:12 - Using Storytelling to Spark Social Change

  • 00:32:15 - Importance of Systemic Oppression in Storytelling

  • 00:35:20 - Tips for Better Storytelling on Video

  • 00:39:05 - Documenting for Storytelling

  • 00:42:08 - Collaboration with New England Journal of Medicine

  • 00:44:48 - Immersion in Different Worlds

As always, I hope you enjoy the episode!

Peace and Love,



Follow Elena on:

Or visit StoryMine's website HERE!

For more storytelling tips and tricks,

Visit my website, or

Follow me on TikTok @rainbennett_storycoach

Follow me on Twitter @rainbennett

Follow me on Instagram @rainbennett

Follow me on Facebook @thestorytellinglab

Subscribe to my Youtube Channel

bottom of page