Every great movie has memorable moments. These are the scenes that end up on the poster and splashed all over the trailers. The ones you talk about for years to come.
Today we are talking about the other half. The parts of the story that don’t get the limelight but actually draw the audience into the characters and their situation. The human elements that actually make movies work and transform them into something larger than the sum of their parts.
I’ve been spending more time lately working on a few stories of my own. It seems like every day I’m learning the difference between picking apart and analyzing someone else’s story and the much harder task of writing something of your own.
When we critique someone else’s work, we usually forget the long process that went into bringing that narrative to life. All we see are the flaws and the mistakes and we overlook the fact that even a bad movie is still a finished movie. A poorly executed story that managed to actually get finished is still superior than a great idea that only exists in your head.
Everyone has an opinion on what makes a great story, but very few people have what it takes to create a compelling story of their own. Why is that?
Could it be that storytelling is actually much harder than we all assume?
Today 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.
Creativity 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.
Today 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!
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?
Have you ever been so involved in a project that you can’t see the big picture?
Have you ever been so overwhelmed by the details and the familiarity with your work that you just get lost in the complexity of it all?
When it comes to any creative endeavor, it’s easy to lose perspective. You can get lost. But there’s one reliable way to claw your way back out: feedback.
On today’s episode, we’re talking about the necessity of seeking out other people’s opinions on your work. Feedback is perhaps one of the most underrated aspect of writing stories. You need it early and you need it often.
Often times our greatest resource is actually other people who can give us an objective opinion about our work and help us get unstuck when we hit a snag.
Topics of discussion include:
The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize
Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull
Actual feedback that Marc has received on his writing