Words: Sarah Stone, Director and Founder of Stone Barrell

Because talking about dying doesn’t actually have to be awkward.

5 videos. 6 amazing interviewees. One message: Share abundant life for generations.

When BMS World Mission asked us if we’d like to collaborate on a project to help encourage more potential legacy givers, we were excited to get involved. Visiting incredibly generous people, chatting to them about their passions, hopes and dreams, and then making a series of videos? Definitely the kind of commission we love.

But we did have one teeny weeny concern… aren’t death and money like the two most awkward things in the world to talk about…?

Thankfully, they don’t have to be.

We'll go into the details of what we did and why in a minute. But in case you're not planning to read this blog until the end, let's get right down to it and:

1. Show you the final videos. You can watch the overarching legacy video at the top of this blog, the lovely Judith's story below, and the other 3 videos featuring some super generous BMS supporters here: www.bmsworldmission.org/gifts-in-wills-stories.

2. Tell you the bottom line - BMS was really happy with the final products (see Legacy Officer Lucy Smith's quote below). And, as always, a happy client = a happy Stone Barrell.

Lucy, who commissioned us for this project (and is an absolute star!), says:

“Stone Barrell has been brilliant to work with. Their creativity, vision and enthusiasm have been so inspiring. Nothing has been too much trouble for them and they have worked tirelessly to ensure we were given a high-quality output. They completely understood our vision and dreams for the videos, and ensured that we were consulted all the way along the process. Their imagination, alongside depth of knowledge and experience, has been invaluable along the creative process. We are so pleased with the end result which we believe will be a real inspiration to our supporters.”
The making of BMS' legacy videos

So now to the finer details. Consent and collaboration are really important to us at Stone Barrell, so before we jetted off up the A34 for our first shoot (exotic, we know), we wanted to make sure all of the contributors who'd agreed with BMS to be part of the project knew exactly what they were letting themselves in for. To that end, I had a candid call with each of the participants ahead of organising the shoots. Once it was clear that everyone was completely comfortable and on board (and I had a pretty good idea about each of their journeys with BMS), we co-ordinated calendars, loaded up equipment, and off we went.

The original commission from BMS was to create one main legacy video, which would include quotes from a few of the contributors, and then a couple of shorter social media videos, featuring the other contributors. But, to be honest, all the interviewees were just too good. So, instead, we agreed to create four individual videos (one for each contributor/contributing couple) AND a main video featuring them all. That way, there would be a larger variety of stories to resonate with a wider array of people.  

Getting to visit Brian, Deb and Dug, David and Janet, and Judith in their homes and spend half a day with each of them hearing their very different stories and their hearts behind their decisions to leave gifts in their Wills to BMS was such a joy (and not at all awkward). We also managed to get Deb and Dug’s son Josh involved in the filming – helping to prove that leaving money in your Will to a charity doesn’t have to be divisive (and can in fact make your kids very proud!).

Once we'd finished each of the shoots and began the scripting and editing process, we really wanted to make sure the different characters and motivations of our contributors came through, in everything from the quotes we chose to use to the music we selected. It was also important (to BMS and to us) that the videos were hopeful, positive, affirming, and weren’t making a hard sell. We checked the final scripts by BMS and our contributors before we started editing the videos, so we were confident that all the key stakeholders were happy with everything we were going to include in the final cut.

Then Jake got to work on his video editing wizardry and many, many hours later - here we are! We hope the final videos really speak for themselves and encourage other people to consider generously donating to charity in their Wills, too.


BMS also asked us to work on some branding for their legacies content. They already had their tagline – Abundant life for generations. Absolutely love it - but you know what would make it even better? Making it active. We suggested adding ‘Share’ at the start - simple, but a great way to include the viewer in the content and invite them to join in.

With the design language, we wanted to make sure all the legacies content was very recognisably BMS and would appeal to existing BMS supporters – people who trust BMS and have chosen to give in the past. At the end of the day, it's very unlikely anyone who doesn't already love BMS is going to suddenly wake up and decide to leave money to the charity in their Will. With that in mind, instead of creating a new logo or adjacent ‘legacies’ brand, this was all about adding elements to make the content distinct, while still sitting well within the BMS brand. After giving BMS a range of design options, we settled on adding a light green and light purple to the existing BMS colour palette, to make future BMS legacy communications pop, and created the leaf motif you can see across all the legacy videos. These added elements help reaffirm the positive, life-giving, hopeful message we have running through all the videos. Hooray for new life through legacies!

If you want to collaborate on a video project with a creative team that will understand your vision and create content you can’t wait to share, get in touch. Interviewing, filming, scripting and post-production is our thing, and we love it! Drop us a message and let’s chat. We promise it won't be awkward.

Find out more about BMS World Mission and the impact of legacy giving www.bmsworldmission.org/legacies.