Saturday, 30 November 2013

Storytelling with a brush

Yesterday I told the wonderful story of Inkheart, where one of the main characters has the magical ability to read characters out of the books he is reading.

This short film I found on the wonderful storytelling world of the internet.

A Japanese man can tell a story with a brush. Wow, absolutely stunning.

Just sit back for a couple of minutes and see this man tell a tale with a brush and watch a dragon come to life.

Friday, 29 November 2013


Yesterday I talked about reading to children. How wonderful it is to them to use their imagination and go on an adventure with the main character of the story.

But how amazing would it be if they didn't have to use their imagination. What if the characters the person who was reading about would jump of the page and land in the real world.

That's what Inkheart is about. 

Inkheart (2003) is the first book of a series of three by Cornelia Funke. There has also been a movie made from the book. But I personally like the book better.

The main character in the book is Meggie, a young girl who lives with her father. Her mother has left when she was really young. Her father, Mo, is a bit strange. He binds old books and is always looking for a certain book he can't find. 

The further we come in the story, the more we learn about Mo. He has a special ability. He can read a character from the pages of a book. The character he is reading about actually comes to life. But, it has a down side. When a character from the world of the books comes to this world, a character from our world disappears into the book. And this is what has happened to Meggies mum. She ended up in the world of Inkheart. And some really bad guys from Inkheart have been stranded in our world.

Meggie discovers this secret and from that time on, she and Mo are no longer safe. They have to find a way to to bring her mum back into this world. And put the bad guys back into the book. A true adventure with some amazing characters from various other books.

And for bookfans. Each chapter starts with a short passage from another book. Especially fun when you have read that book and see the reference to the chapter in Inkheart. And yes, there even is a reference to Lord of the Rings!

My advice, do read the book, but be careful. Maybe you also have that magical ability to read characters from the book, and I really wouldn't like to have Capricorno or the Shadow in our world.

Thursday, 28 November 2013


Reading stories to kids is very important for their development and a great way of creating stories for them and you.

Children who are used to reading from a young age tend to read more when they are older. And they will like it better. Which can come in good use when they have to do so much reading when in high school.

Reading together is bonding time. The picture below shows my dad who is reading to me (the one with the finger in her mouth) and two friends a story. I still have very fond memories of my dad reading to me and my brother. In our pajamas on top of my brothers bed. And dad with that big story book. Reading out loud to us. If the story was too long we had to wait till the next day to hear the ending of it. 

Reading will spark the imagination of children. Going on an adventure with the main character of the book. Dancing with fairies, fighting dragons, going to school like Christopher Robin, or waiting for him to come home together with Pooh Bear. They can all do this safely on their bedside without having to leave the home.

And children who have had the joy of somebody reading to them will probably pass it forward. Like my brother. He had a favourite story when he was a young kid. He found his favourite book again and started reading it to his son. And guess what, he loves the book. So much he can actually qoute it by heart!

Please share stories with children, so they learn the joy of stories and hopefully will share them when they are grown up.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Your resume

You as a person tell stories about yourself. Without knowing it, with smiling or frowning. But also very deliberately, like with your resume.

In the cover letter you write why you would like the job, looking to the future, seeing yourself in the position you are applying for.

In the resume, you are writing your history. Where did you go to school, where did you work before. What are you good at, what do you like to do in your spare time.

And, as Gandalf says, each story needs a little embellishment, so your resume might also be a better story than it actually is. You did graduate from your school, but you don't mention how you had to struggle to make the final exams. And in your previous position, maybe you only did that part of the job description once, but why mention it.

Sometimes that's not a real problem, since you do have to get used to your new work environment and can learn new roles. But don't embellish your story too much. Otherwise people will get dissappointed with your story and with it, also with you. And when other people don't believe your story, they will not listen to you and your stories anymore.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Coca Cola Refreshing the world, one story at a time

Over the past year Coca Cola has been changing their website and the way they interact with brand loyals / fans of the brand. Mainly because: "...storytelling is the cornerstone of 21st century communications. We believed that great, brand-created stories matter, that exceptional writing wins the day, and that building a digital newsroom would lead not only to a transformation in how we engage with our consumers but also how we work. Like a modern election campaign, we believed that the best content is social at the core, digital by design, and emotional." 

All companies tell you a story, because convincing customers to buy your product is telling a story. But to put it this straight forward and really making customer stories the centre of the website, wow, I love it.

Quote from the website:
"Today, storytelling is the heart of the company’s brand, driving every phase of its advertising and marketing campaigns."

The website uses stories around various kinds of ways to interact while enjoying Coca Cola. But the site does remain a very Coca Cola feel. For instance some of the headers used:

  • Unbottled: the website section with blogs
  • What's bubbling: most favoured blogposts
  • The Fizz: Most read, most shared, most watched, most debated

The main colour use remains white and red (coke red).
And they keep up with their previous slogan "Share a smile, share a coke" with sharing happy stories and doing good for the world.

Go and have a look at the website and the stories they tell. I'm absolutely thrilled by it.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Mama, just killed a man

Songs, another great way of telling stories. The writer of the song puts their words to music or adds words to the music. And, when all goes well, hunderds of people will sing along to your song.

Hopefully most of you will have recognized the title as one of the main lines from the Bohemian Rhapsody (so mama, don't worry, I didn't kill a man).
This song is obviously not based on reality. Since I doubt Freddy Mercury, who wrote the song, actually killed a man. Because I haven't read reports about him being in jail for several years. Something that will happen when you kill a man by putting a gun against his head.

The song is written for fun, amazing lyrics with great rhyme and the some very strange words.

This part is the trail of the "killer"
I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango

To be honest, I had to Google Scaramouch (roguish clown character of the Italian commedia dell'arte who wears a black mask and, sometimes, glasses. He entertains the audience by his "grimaces and affected language") and the Fandango I remember from my time in music as a lively dance.

The Bohemian Rhapsody was one of the first songs that had a video clip accompanying the song. A big part of the videoclip is still seeing the band perform. But for instance the trial part does show a silhouet of a man, in a costume that would fit a Scaramouch. And with the rest of that part of the song you see just the heads of the band, looking down, as if in a real trial. Where a very angry jury is looking down upon the man on trial.

In this way the images of the videoclip are adding to the story told by the song. Both telling the same, but enhancing the other. Like a musical used to do before. 

Sunday, 24 November 2013

THE Doctor


Sorry to all the not-so-very-incrowd. Just had to put that one in.

Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of the TV-show Dr. Who. 50 years of storytelling!

Well, not really 50 years. Another great part of storytelling, you will believe it, when the story is good. Dr. Who is a great show, so fans will believe 50 years. But it has been on air from 1963 till 1989, and restarted in 2005. Which means not 50 years worth of shows, but 50 years between the first airing and this day.

I have seen some episodes in the 80s. They scared the living daylights out of me. I can't even remember what the episode was about, but I know I didn't want to see it anymore. When I entered the Lord of the Rings realm, a lot of Dr. Who fans were there as well. I gave it another try. And since that time I'm hooked.

Which means I celebrated The Day of The Doctor yesterday.
An amazing episode, David Tennant and Matt Smith make a great comedy duo. John Hurt, well that man can't do anything wrong, in my eyes, since The Storyteller. Just have to hear his voice and I'm happy.

But what I love even more, all the spin-offs popping up with just one TV-episode.
Have you seen the Google-doodle about Dr. Who? 
It is also a game, the Daleks (enemies of the Dr.) have captured the Google-logo and you have to help the Doctors to free it. (I have to admit, I didn't free it. I'm just terrible with games).

The BBC has a complete part of their website devoted to Dr. Who. With fun spin offs for the day and making offs for the episode itself. Even if you aren't a big fan, just have a look, to see how much work they put in around the telling of one story, the story of the Dr.