Story Crutch

tony

What’s a story crutch?

You’ve seen it before. A nagging feeling that this story is not quite working.

An undeserved ending. That cliched moment. Some hamfisted exposition. A truncated character. These are common mistakes that prevent stories from being the best they could be.

In today’s episode we’ll look at a few examples of how your story can go terribly wrong and what you can do to fix it.

Listen to episode 39 below – iTunesStitchermp3

Stories Come From People

cars 2Today we are talking about where stories come from, specifically how they emerge out of our personal experiences and unique authorial perspective. We’ll talk about the inspiration behind The Hunger Games, Spielberg’s aliens, and the critically panned Cars 2.

When I say that stories come from people, I mean that stories are also inseparable from their creators. In many ways, they must communicate the specific life experiences of their authors.

Listen to Episode #37 – iTunesStitchermp3


 
 

Sources for this episode:

Suzanne Collin on the Inspiration for the Hunger Games

http://www.slj.com/2008/09/interviews/under-cover/a-killer-story-an-interview-with-suzanne-collins-author-of-the-hunger-games/#_

 

David S Goyer’s Screenwriting Lecture

https://soundcloud.com/bafta/david-s-goyer-screenwriting-lecture

Scott, Linklater, and Russell’s Personal Experiences

http://flavorwire.com/395372/the-true-stories-behind-10-directors-most-personal-films

John Lasseter on Cars 2

NYT John Lasseter of Pixar defends Cars 2

The Creative Life

apCreativity is something we all hope for and aspire to. No one wants to recycle secondhand ideas or fall back on tired rote stories. We long to make something fresh and exciting to share with the world. Something original. Something personal.

In today’s episode we’re talking about creativity, where it comes from, and how to live a life conducive to creative ideas. Hopefully you’ll be encouraged wherever you’re at and be reminded that you have something to offer creatively.

Thanks for listening!

Episode #35 – mp3 – iTunes Stitcher

Homework Assignment:

Charlie Kaufman’s Screenwriting Lecture – SoundCloudiTunes

Articles referenced in this episode:

 

What Makes A Good Story? – Making Movies Is HARD Podcast

mmih.jpgToday is a special one because I’m the guest on one of my favorite podcasts in the world: Making Movies Is HARD.

I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with indie filmmakers Alrik Bursell and Timothy Plain about what makes a good story. We discussed our favorite storytelling principles, delved into some of the nuts and bolts of how stories function, and examined Andrew Stanton’s excellent TED talk.

The whole reason I started the Story Punch podcast was to try and figure out how to tell compelling stories. It’s incredible to sit down with a couple of filmmakers who really know their stuff and swap ideas with them. I hope you’ll give it a listen and check out their podcast!

Listen here – iTunesStitchermp3

Creating Conflict

bvs.jpg

Can’t we all just get along?

Conflict is a crucial part of every story. It’s the driving force that moves the narrative forward. Without conflict, there can be no story.

How do you create conflict?

Where does it come from?

On today’s episode we look at three different sources for conflict in a story:

  • interpersonal conflict
  • environmental conflict
  • inner conflict

Listen to Episode #31 – mp3iTunesStitcher

Story Logic

A great story doesn’t just grab your attention. It also makes logical sense.

On today’s episode, we’ll talk about the two different layers in a story: how it makes sense in the moment and how it makes sense in terms of overall plot.

Sometimes an exciting story falls apart as soon as you stop and think about what is happening. Sometimes a thoughtful well planned out story just isn’t interesting. How do you find that balance? How can a story make sense but also keep the audience’s interest?

Listen to Episode 31 – MP3 iTunesStitcher

Stories Are More Than Marketing

marketing

It seems like more and more people want to harness the power of stories for the purposes of marketing. But is that really what stories are for? I could have sworn they were about something else besides selling products.

I understand that stories are often seen as a nifty way to connect with customers but I’m concerned that that isn’t quite capturing the true intent of storytelling.

I talk a lot on the podcast about learning to tell better stories but marketing seems to take that to an extreme. If you can make good enough stories, you can probably convince people to buy things they don’t need. That’s not actually something I want to see happen. I don’t want marketers to develop the storytelling skills they need to convince us all that we need whatever it is that they are selling.

What if there was more to storytelling that just telling good stories? What if it also meant a willingness to stop and listen to the people who have important stories of their own that the world needs to hear?

It’s easy to become focused solely on self-promotion and getting your own creativity seen and heard, but maybe there is a better way to go about doing things. Maybe by focusing on the people who really really need to be heard and helping share their stories, we can actually make more of a difference than by focusing on our own projects.

If you get a chance, listen to today’s episode as we talk more about how listening to other people’s stories might be more important than telling great stories.

We’ll also look at how Slack managed to create a great customer service experience despite a massive outage as well as how the efforts of marketing to use stories to sell products isn’t quite capturing the true intent of storytelling. I’ll also share one really cool project that needs your help.

You can listen to Episode 27 here!