The Power of Transformation


The name Stone Soup Films comes from the old folktale. It tells of wanderers who come to a village, hungry but with no food. So they fill a pot with water and a large stone, and put it over a fire, piquing the villagers’ curiosity.

“Stone soup is delicious,” the wanderers say as each person passes, “it just needs a bit of garnish.”

So each villager adds something – a handful of herbs, a bit of carrot, whatever they have on hand – and in the end, everyone shares in the soup.

“The idea is that collectively you can do something that you could never do on your own,” Norton said. “Filmmaking is very collaborative. I thought it was a terrific metaphor. Everyone brings their different skills and gives their time.”

Collaboration between Stone Soup Films and an organization involves a wraparound plan – not only a film, but strategic communication and distribution advice as well.

 “We try to teach them how to fish,” Norton said.

And sometimes, they get a big catch. The Stone Soup film for one organization caught the eye of a donor who decided to give $100,000 a year, for three years, to that organization.

Stone Soup Films produces several types of film: Event-based “Doc in a Day” short-term productions, as well as longer term Partnerships. Interns help produce video blogs and “DC Heroes,” a series that profiles individuals effecting change in the DC area.

Norton said she prefers the longer investments of time. One of her favorites was Urban Alliance, an organization that pairs underserved high school seniors with paid internships, along with additional life skills and job readiness training.

"We met this young man when he was 17, his life was going in one direction, and that direction was not good."

Through the Urban Alliance program, the young man got a job at Morgan Stanley. By the end of his senior year, he’d worked his way up to an account, and was awarded a college scholarship.

"He is so exceptionally good,” Norton said. “The power of the transformation is amazing." (Next)

About the Author: Holly Leber is the editorial director at the Daily Do Good, and a longtime journalist. She also enjoys the stories that take time to build. 

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