"The archetypal story unearths a universally human experience, then wraps itself inside a unique, culturally-specific expression. Stereotypical stories suffer a poverty of both content and form, confining themselves to narrow experience dressed in nonspecific generalities." - Bob McKee, author
Here at MessageMakers, our motto is to create and produce "experiences that transform."
What about experiences that don't transform? What you can do when a story or video isn't provoking emotion? What do you do when things aren't working? How do you set yourself up for success?
We asked someone who knows a lot about storytelling and doing it the right way, our Chief Creative Officer here at MessageMakers, Tom Lietz.
He explained that finding a story starts with networking and making real connections within a community. You're really trying to find the authentic experience of the people who are there.
What makes a story worth telling?
The best stories have some kind of heart in the middle of them that everyone can connect to. We're all different but a story can draw people together.
A story is wrapped in unexpected things and that the best, most surprising stories are the ones that are unexpected. This way, viewers are drawn in.
Making sure you have a good starting point:
"I believe the world is full of an infinite number of stories," said Lietz.
There are a million different ways to tell every story and different kinds of starting points for every one of them. It's worth making sure you have a specific one in order to bring your story to life.
Let someone tell their own story. This may involve an element of uncertainty and vulnerability, both for you and for the person whose story you're telling. You have to be ready to go with that and draw meaning from that regardless of where it leads you."
Can all stories be told greatly? Can you make a compelling story out of any situation or are there some stories that need to be rebuilt?
Sometimes you have to step back from a story and just start over. At the core of it, the story either will or won't serve the purpose you initially hoped it would.
The role of a storyteller is to be the subject's partner and be there for the moments that matter to capture them when they happen. However, when things aren't working, there's nothing wrong with taking a step back.
Good stories are uncertain. There's always an element of risk going down a path with a story subject, but you can always go back and start over.
What does stepping back exactly look like? What do you do after deciding to take a step back?
Think about what brought you to that person in the first place. There must be something compelling about this person and their story so maybe that can give you a new starting point or a fresh perspective.
You can also bring in someone else who isn't involved and see what draws them in, but don't be afraid to find another story.
Things to consider when telling a story:
1. Think about everything that's going to be sitting around that story and add context. If the story is playing back at an event, sitting on a website or in a social feed, does everything from that story somewhat support or add dimension to it?
2. Are you elevating everything in your story?
3. Are you serving everyone in your story at least as much as you're serving yourself and others who are sponsoring that story?
4. Does this experience benefit everyone who is a part of that storytelling effort?