Saturday, 28 December 2013

TED talk - The clues to a great story

TED talks for who don't know them, they are amazing.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started as a conference in 1984 with a vision of Ideas Worth Spreading. There are still TED Conferences on the West Coats of the United States. But also many spin offs like TEDx, where communities or organisations can get together to organise their own TED Conference.

TED brings together great minds, who share their great idea in 18 minutes or less.

To be able to share your great idea in 18 minutes, you have to be a good storyteller. To get the audience drawn into your idea and to share your story when they are going home.

This TED talk is by Andrew Stanton, an American film director, screenwriter, producer and voice actor at Pixar Animation Studios. He was involved in Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Wall-E, John Carter and much more. (A couple of my favourite movies.)

He shares his story on how storytelling should be done.

(For my Dutch friends - a version with Dutch subtitles)

A few of his ideas:
- Make your audience care!
- The unifying theorie of 2 + 2 (don't tell your audience it is 4, let them find it out by themselves).
- "Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty." Does your audience want to know what is going to happen next, and added a bit of doubt, if all will end well?
- Know what the theme of your story is. What is the spine of your main character.
- Can you evoke wonder for your audience?
- Use what you know, capture from you own experience, express values you believe in.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Transmedia storytelling

First let me explain what Transmedia storytelling is. It is telling a story using multiple platforms and formats to tell a story. Usually using digital media. But it can also use more traditional media, like books.

Since we are still in the Christmas spirit, I'm going to use a very Christmassy example to explain Transmedia storytelling. 

The Elf on the Shelf.

It started out in 2005 with a book about a little elf. Who comes to the home of children to help Santa with checking who is naughty or nice. He musn't be touched, because he carries Christmas magic, that is very fragile. And during the night, he returns to the North Pole to report to Santa. Returning in the morning for a new day among the family.

Shortly after the book there was an animated movie about the Elf.

And now, you can adopt your own Elf. Who lives in your home. And returns in the night to the North Pole. So you never know where he will show up the next morning.

Some Elfs tend to make a mess out of their home. Others just move around the home to see what is going on.

Through internet you can write to Santa, where he might also reply.

And there is a very lively community on Pinterest, where all the mums are sharing the trouble they have with the elf. Because he himself can be very naughty.

So in terms of storytelling the Elf has a book, an animated movie, a website, stores, the elf himself and a big community of fans (and haters) who share their stories. Those are a lot of various platform to tell a story.

And with the digital media, it is really easy to share the story. I came across it on Pinterest, never heard about it before or even having seen the elf himself. But the story did come to me and now I'm sharing it with you.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas stories

First of all, a very merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

Christmas is of course a wonderful time for storytelling. There are so many stories involving Christmas. The ancient stories, the religous stories, the commercial stories.

Let's mention a few.

The stories surrounding the longest night in the Northern Hemisphere, which is on December 21st. After that the nights get shorter and the days longer. Celebrating the return of light with using lights everywhere. Like in trees (hello Christmas tree) and burning the Yule-log.

The birth of Jesus Christ
Telling the story of the birth of a little baby boy on December 25th 0. Born in a manger in Bethlehem because the inns didn't have place for his mother Mary and father Joseph. Heralded by angels and welcomed by the shepherds and their sheep. Getting visits from 3 Kings following a star. And being hunted by a mad king. Now that is a story! After Easter the biggest holiday in Christianity. 

Commercial Christmas
The stories involving lots of presents, lots of eating and being together with friends and family. The story of Santa Claus. He comes from various cultures, also from the Dutch Sinterklaas. Bringing gifts to children. Coca Cola used him very smart to boost their sales. Winter is of course downtime for cold drinks. But with introducing Santa in their commercials around Christmas time in the 1930s, the got a a big boost to their sales and setting a tradition of Coca Cola being a partner in Christmas with their distinct description of the jolly fat guy and nowadays their lighted Coca Cola Trucks.
With loads of songs, singing about family, being together and snow. A fact I find very funny, since most people in the world won't see snow on Christmas. But by now it is so common to associate snow with Christmas, that when I was traveling to New Zealand with a stop-over in Kuala Lumpur, the hotel lobby was decorated with snow flakes, while outside it was 30C.

No matter what you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful day. Share the story of this day with your friends and family.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Corporate Christmas storytelling

Christmas time is known as the season of giving. The season where we take a little closer look at the people around us. Those who can use a little extra help. Or those who have helped you, to thank them for it.

WestJet Airlines made one of their flights unforgetable for their customers. When leaving from the Hamilton Airport on their flight to Toronto the passengers were greeted by a Santa who asked them what they would like to have for Christmas.

A big surprise waited for them when the arrived in Toronto!

Of course it is "just" a marketing stunt. But this video has been watched 32 million times (talking about going viral!). What a great way to tell your corporate story. And they do more things like this. When you watch it on YouTube, on the right side there are also April Fools from WestJet and other Christmas specials.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Singing into Christmas

Christmas songs (or Christmas Carols, what a lovely word) are probably as old as the celebration of Christmas is.

All tell you the story of Christmas and, hopefully, you'll sing a long.

Silent Night, one of the songs that belongs to Christmas for me, dates back to 1818, when it was first sung in an Austrian village (but of course in German, Stille Nacht). This refers to the Catholic believes around Christmas.
St Thomas Boys Choir - Stille Nacht

A little more modern day songs tell more about the joys of Christmas. Being together with your loved ones, enjoying time together, good food and presents.
Nat King Cole - Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

And than there are the songs that try to persuade you to do some good for the world around Christmas time. It is of course the time for caring. Usually for friends and family. But why not for a complete stranger in another part of the world, who is having a really hard time.
Band Aid - Do they know it is Christmas

It already dates back from 1984, has had an update in 2000, but this remains for me the best. A song with a message for Christmas time.

And the next song, I just love! They only play it on the radio during Christmas time. And while the song isn't really about Christmas. It does reflect for me the spirit of Christmas. Being together, doing things together.
Paul McCartney - We all stand together

What's your favourite Christmas song?

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Once upon a time

Earlier this week I wrote about fairy tales. And mostly talking about the books.

But fairy tales of course also come to the screen. Either movies or tv series.

ABC has been broadcasting Once Upon A Time.

A wonderful series if you love fairy tales, exciting storytelling and being surprised. They show you what would happen if all the beloved fairy tale characters would be banned from their magic kingdom and brought into the world as we know it. Where they don't know who they really are, just ordinary people living together in a small city, Storybrooke. But the audience is also shown what happened in their original world. When they still were fairy tale characters. What happened that brought them into our world? And what do they have to do, to be together as the fairy tales have always put them together. Because, as always, true love concurs all.

A wonderful parade of all well known characters is brought to the screen. And as a viewer fun to watch and guess who is who. And how they will safe their world.

This is the trailer for the first series. In the mean time they are already at season 3 and making a spin off Once Upon A Time In Wonderland.

If you like fairy tales and good tv series, try it! I'm a fan!