our picks for tedxvancouver: Trevor Meier, filmmaker


Vancouver is an amazing city, chock full of creative talent. WE ARE VANCVR is a simple, elegant way to showcase all that talent in one place. Every week we profile one individual from the VANCVR community.VANCVR.com is a Domain7 Labs project.

Recently, we published an open letter to TEDxVANCOUVER with a modest proposal.

We are huge TEDx fans, and we’re also huge fans of all the bright ideas generated by our city’s creative types. That’s why the team at Domain7 Labs started We Are VANCVR in the first place—to bring all this talent together for good and then see what emerges.

When TEDx returns for its third instalment in Vancouver on November 12, we would love to see some of that talent on stage. This is the second of five letters we’ll be posting to TEDx, with speaker recommendations from the We Are VANCVR community.


We introduced Trevor Meier a few weeks ago as a jack of all trades—he takes pictures, makes films, and dabbles in the web, design, and writing. He sums this all up is by calling himself a storyteller.
Trevor’s passion for story first emerged when he was getting beat up by “a gang of brute-armed 15-year-olds” in grade 8. “I started to wonder why people do what they do,” he says.

He refined this curiosity while producing his award-winning documentary, Rwanda: Hope Rises. The film looks at that country’s recovery from genocide through the story of a husband and wife—one a member of the Hutu tribe, and the other a Tutsi tribe member—and how they not only survived, but embodied the healing Rwanda has undergone in the last 15 years.

Since then he’s built his work around telling meaningful stories. His company, Storyspark, is in the business of finding the narratives of non-profits and social enterprise, and then telling those stories in a compelling way.

Bottom line, storytelling is foundational to what Trevor does on a daily basis. But he sees it as more than a marketing tool or entertainment mechanism—it’s a way to dictate our own paths in life and make big decisions. It’s a way of determining what’s standing in the way of us and the lives we want to live.

“Every story is about a character who wants something, and overcomes conflict to get it,” he explains. “Framing decisions in a story structure brings focus to the thousands of choices available to you. It brings clarity to complex topics.”

“Story is about understanding why we do things, what we care about, where the gaps are in our lives, and what to do about it. There are lots of applications for this—business, marketing, literature, film—I just find the places where there are gaps and fill them.”

His focus on story means he’s also just an incredibly compelling person in real life—able to conjure up a meaningful illustration or anecdote for pretty much any abstract concept he hopes to convey. We heard him speak at an event called, appropriately, Telling Stories hosted by Catalyst and Co., and couldn’t help but think, damn, we’d like to learn more from this guy.


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