Film maker Pablo Korona was one of the best speakers at this year’s One State Together in the Arts Conference here in Illinois.

He did this series of videos about his town, Rockford, Illinois, highlighting its positive stories.

He started it as a personal challenge, inspired by Ira Glass’s “But there is this gap,” which you can read and print as a poster here.

And here it is as a video, with the original audio:

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

I simply love this statement by Ira, and have the poster printed out and taped above my desk. I posted this here on the blog back in 2011 and the comments showed that other folks love it too.

Pablo heard But there is this gap… and took it up as a personal challenge. He challenged himself to make a video every two weeks. Rockford had gotten some bad press, that he felt was unfairly emphasizing the negative, so he set out, with his videos, to show the positive.

You can watch his presentation here:

He starts at the 40:14 mark. (this link will be replaced with a link to the edited version when that’s done. If this link doesn’t work, look for the video at

I love the idea of challenging yourself and putting it out there publicly, so that you’re accountable. (Why, I’ve just done that too, with a 30 x 30 painting challenge, discussed here.)

What else did Pablo do right? How did he do it?

He did a kickstarter, though that wasn’t his only source of funding.

He planned for success right from the start, making his website top notch and scalable. This mattered when he started gotting tons of web traffic from articles in national magazines.

He partnered with other excellent folks with terrific skills, such as the musician who wrote all the original music for the videos. (and paid them, he accepted no volunteers and this wasn’t a not for profit venture.)

You can see Pablo’s video series about Rockford at his website, Our City, Our Story:

How will you challenge yourself?

Photo credit: Brian Milo

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