1. Focus on the girl
More than the issues, we care about the girls. They are not a group. They are individuals. We try and imagine how they will feel about everything we do. We love our champions. We love our partners. We love our allies. But the girls are the reason we are here.
2. The girls are "us" not "them"
We do not look "at" girls. We look at what the girls want us to look at. Sometimes it's them, sometimes not. We do not observe them, we listen to them. The girls are not passive, they are active. They are not the "other," they are our girls. They are all our girls.
3. We are storytellers
We tell stories with a beginning, middle and end.
4. Clarity is good. Simplicity is a lie
Girls face many types of barriers to get an education: indentured servitude, school fees, lack of female role models and more. We try to allow the complexity of these barriers to exist without hiding or reducing it.
5. Turning 13
While we tell stories about girls who are ages 8 to 18, we place special emphasis on girls at the age when they first menstruate. This is when girls are at the greatest risk for being trafficked, sold into child marriage, or at risk of gender violence, and that's when you see that most dramatic drop in school enrollment.
6. We can't do this alone
Radical progress usually takes hold when a girl had the love and support of a father or a social worker, an aunt or a brother, who is a revolutionary in their own right. We like to include these people in our stories as a way of inspiring those who want to support the girls in their lives but might not know how.
7. Make 'em feel
Our stories make the audience care. Informed is great, but information in the absence of emotion will not create results. There are many – compassion, anger, hope, love – and we are open to any and all, sometimes in combination.
8. Not all emotion
In direct contradiction to #7, not all emotion is good. There are some emotions that prevent action, rather than spur it. Top of the list is "pity" We are a pity-free zone.
9. No rags to riches
We tell relatable stories about every-day champions. We do not focus on fairytale outcomes. We focus on accessible paths to empowerment.
10. More alike than different
We help people see the universality of our human condition rather than our differences.
11. Big is not bad
This subject deserves the best talent, the best production values, the biggest platforms, the most impact. We're not shy about this. We like big, global ideas.
12. Defy expectation
If we keep to the traditional modes of storytelling about impoverished people, we will fall. We must re-invent the idea of how you tell these stories. Avoid cliché. Innovate. Challenge. Break the rules.
13. Say something
Things can't just seem cool or look interesting. They have to actually be cool and be interesting. This only works if our creative choices are motivated by ideas that connect to a concrete goal. This is not art for its own sake.
14. Stop trying to categorize
We are not a documentary. We are not a work of fiction. We don't mind what you call it – just watch. We are happy to be totally transparent about what we've done and how, but it isn't as important as the content.
15. Know who's watching
Our content that is distributed to the masses is about messaging the importance of girls' education. Our content that is specially packaged for community engagement – classrooms, grassroots screenings, and such – includes outreach materials aimed at behavioral change.
16. Smile, we can do this
Atrocities make the headlines. What doesn't is the fact that more children are immunized that ever before. Fewer people live in abject poverty. Fewer infants die at birth. The situation is improving. We know this because we've seen it with our own eyes. Our non-profit partners run programs that end the cycle of poverty in just one – repeat one – generation. The liberation of girls is doable. Our model is proven. We have a plan.