WEEK 6: A Conversation with Guest Speaker Dan Portnoy by Monica Guzman

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By UCLA X469.21 Student Monica Guzman

Monica Guzman

Monica Guzman

On the last night of this course we had the pleasure of having the ”Head Honcho” of Portnoy Media Group, Dan Portnoy, as our guest speaker. Dan is a writer and director, as well as author of The Nonprofit Narrative: How Stories Can Save the World. He is a great storyteller who has been able to use that skill to help nonprofits, companies and organizations tell their stories to the public.

The first video he showed us was for the ”United Way Heroes” campaign. The video illustrates the many ways United Way helps people: by creating jobs, providing opportunities for veterans, helping people to find homes, matching volunteer mentors with after school programs, etc. It shows ordinary people becoming superheroes when they volunteer to help others. The video encourages viewers to donate or volunteer and ”become a community hero,” and it does so in a way that’s fun and exciting. Everybody is happy and grateful in the video, and the last phrase – ”Together We’re United” – makes you feel like a part of the community and organization. It left me with a feeling that I too want to become a hero!


Dan Portnoy

After getting to know Dan this evening I saw a lot of his personality in the video as well. Funny, quirky and straight to the point.

The second video we saw was ”Frank: Behind the Curtain” for Arclight Cinemas. In the video we get to know the sweet man named Frank and learn how he got his job as an Arclight Pasadena greeter. We also get to experience Frank’s passion for his job and for providing great customer service. The film captures Frank’s spirit and how his persona reflects on the whole Acrlight Cinema experience. It really captivated my interest – so much so that I don’t want to go Arclight to see a movie, but rather for the experience and that warm welcoming feeling I got from watching Dan’s video.

The goal with such campaigns and the best way to make an impact with promotional content is to elicit an emotional reaction and engage the viewer, and that’s what Dan is able to do so successfully by telling stories.

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