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  • Writer's pictureRain Bennett

The Emotional Power of a Personal Story with Troy Bedenbaugh

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

Troy Bedenbaugh is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and creator of the emotional documentary film, One Lost Many Found, which tells the story of his journey to discover who his father was 20 years after his passing.

In this episode of The Storytelling Lab, Troy discusses the power of telling and sharing personal life stories and why they matter to others, how relationships and mentors are key in any project, and the importance of expressing pain through art.



Have you ever wanted to share a personal story of yours in a film?

I have.

And chances are, you've been through something transformative in your life that is a story worthy of being told—a story that could impact those that you love, close to you in your life, as well as people you don't even know.

Because trust me. Your story has that power.

So now you might be thinking about doing it, huh?

This week on The Storytelling Lab, I talked to someone who did just that.

Troy Bedenbaugh is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and creator of the emotional film "One Lost Many Found," which tells the story of his journey to discover who his father was 20 years after his passing.

Troy embarked on a journey to tell a story that would evoke empathy in the audience.

He wanted to learn more about who his father was and through this pursuit, he found the courage to pursue his dream of documentary filmmaking.

Despite his doubts, he stuck with it and used what resources he had - YouTube, Instagram, and social media - to build relationships and make the documentary.

Through his mentor, Mark Bone's, guidance, Troy learned the importance of taking his time and not rushing the process.

He also learned that art can be expressed in many ways and that everyone, including him and his family, has a story that matters.

In the end, Troy found that even through pain, he was able to tell a story that would make a difference in the lives of others.
"I got married and moved to Florida and started surfing again. It was about that time when thoughts of my dad started to come back and resurface. I was seven years old when this happened, and so it was just really strange how grief works like that. A lot of what I try to look at as far as a documentary film goes is a physical journey and a metaphysical journey. So the physical journey was I had his old surfboards to then use as a device to get back to these people that my dad knew. And then, obviously, the metaphysical journey being my own emotional journey into learning who my dad was." - Troy Bedenbaugh

Why is it important to share personal stories through documentary film?

By using film to tell stories, documentary filmmakers are able to reach a wide audience, spread powerful messages, and create transformation in the lives of others.

They can be used to highlight stories that might not otherwise be told or to shine a light on matters of social justice, human rights, and other important topics.

And they can also be a powerful tool for change, as the stories told in documentaries often inspire people to take action.

The power of personal stories in this format is undeniable and sharing these stories can help create a greater understanding of the world.

That is exactly what Troy did with his.

And you have to see it.

Watch the award-winning film, One Lost Many Found, below!

If you find yourself with a story in your heart, dying to get out, and you think that a short documentary film might be the perfect medium for it, take notes from Troy.

Here are the steps you need to follow:

1. Identify the story you want to tell

2. Gather a team of passionate people you can trust

3. Save up money for travel expenses

4. Film over a span of a few days

5. Make a rough cut and get feedback from people more experienced than you

6. Iterate and make it better

7. Build a marketing campaign

8. Commit to the process

9. Utilize YouTube and social media to build relationships

10. Execute and release

If you are interested in turning your story into a screenplay for television or film, this is the episode for you!

3. The Key to Writing a Successful Screenplay with JULIA YORKS Loved this episode? Leave us a review and rating here:


Some of the highlights of our conversation:

  • [00:00:14] what initially inspired Troy to make a film about his dad 20 years after he passed away and what he hoped to gain from it.

  • [00:07:15] What makes a film a great film?

  • [00:09:26] why it's best not to rush the process and release the film (or any project) too early, even when you're antsy to get it out there.

  • [00:13:46] why mentors are so important and how to find them

  • [00:14:51] how he financed this labor of love project

  • [00:18:34] the logistical lessons he learned the hard way and what he will definitely do differently next time

  • [00:20:19] the one shot in the film that affected him the most

  • [00:23:38] how unexpected it was to learn how much he missed his dad

  • [00:24:49] What we can learn from the sharing of others' life stories?

  • [00:31:37] the balance between being an artist and a marketer

  • [00:35:01] the unexpected ways Troy has exceeded his goal with the film

  • [00:38:02] the launching of his new video production business

As always, I hope you enjoy the episode!

Peace and Love,



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