Everyone knows that one person who can’t tell a good story if his or her life depended on it. Luckily, I am not that guy amongst my friends, I am just acknowledged as the second worst storyteller. Needless to say I need some improvements in the storytelling department, and I turned to Andrew Stanton, and his TED talk for advice.
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There was no “aha moment” within Stanton’s talk, but I was able to grasp a deeper understanding of why stories are more important throughout the talk. At first, chose this video because I really need to improve my personal story telling, I also had no intentions of using this video for the blog as I pressed play. But, throughout Stanton’s presentation, I realized stories are essential to our lives. Everyone has a unique personal story. We also learn and develop our understanding of the world from the past or history, which in essence is merely a story. To develop relationships we communicate by telling stories. Those who can communicate and tell stories better than others tend to be the most successful in life. Even this blog post, in its most basic form, is a story. Stories are what bind our lives together.
I believe I can deploy what I learned from Stanton in my writing. Stanton is a screenwriter himself (including Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Wall-E), but his knowledge on storytelling can even help improve my academic-styled writing. First and foremost, a good story or paper promises something in the beginning. Stanton used examples from his movies, but I imagine this as the need for strong thesis statement. You need to promise, or tell the reader your story has a purpose because if you don’t why should someone read your work?
Secondly, a story must engage the listener. Stanton explains how you need to hide some of the facts throughout the story to get the reader engaged. This builds a relationship between the reader and the writer, and the reader now must actively search for the answers within the movie, paper, or story. If you are able to successfully pull the reader in, great storytellers now have the ability to evoke the reader to wonder. To Stanton, if you can tap into the reader’s brain leaving them wondering you have endless opportunities as a storyteller.
Although, Stanton may not have helped me tell a better joke, he did make me a better storyteller. Before watching this TED talk, I had a narrow view of what a “story” truly was and did not know the framework for a well-constructed story. But Stanton both broadened my views and helped me head down the right direction toward becoming a better storyteller.