Tag Archives: narrative

Storytelling 1 & 2 for Code

Storytelling comes so naturally to most of us (once we let it), that we can swiftly move on from a basic (Pixar) structure of a story into fun stuff about story arcs, mentors and animal archetypes.

Here are the worksheets and presentation decks from Week 1 and Week 2 sessions at Code.

Here’s the video reminding you why a good presentation is like a washing line:

I’m aware that lots of the archetypal fictional story characters are male, so as a counterbalance, try the Rejected Princesses website, which is full of female mythical and historical characters who are way too badass to be Disney-fied.

Picture credit: Rejected Princesses

Storytelling & Pitching – Hyper Island training day

These two videos show how Nike changed their approach to storytelling. Their first TV ad from 1982 is about the company. The people who MAKE the shoe are the hero of the story. The second video from Nike’s 2012 ad campaign makes the people who WEAR the shoe the hero of the story.

Version 1 is your “foundation” story, the story of how you/your company got to where you are today. Version two is your “mentor” story – how you are helping your customers get where they want to go.

Remember, you can only really tell your foundation story once. You can tell as many mentor stories as you have customers.

Here’s the presentation deck from Hyper Island’s training day on storytelling & pitching. And here, with commentary, the first half of the training:

PDF worksheets available here.

See also this range of presentation tools to help you sell your best ideas.

Beginning, middle & end – with a twist

Remember playing the game “Consequences” at school? Here’s a twist on the Brainwriting tool, inspired by that playground game. I designed it for TV drama producers but it works really well for any kind of imaginative storytellers.

Everyone starts with their own grid of nine boxes on a big piece of paper, but the first row is labelled “Beginning”, the middle row is called “Middle” and the last row is “End”.

Everyone starts silently writing three different beginnings for a character’s story.  These could be an accident, a lottery win, a death in the family – what writers call an “inciting incident” or trigger. When you’ve got three, you put your paper in the middle of the table and swap with someone else.

Pick up the new sheet and read someone else’s “Beginnings”. Now write down your ideas for how the character reacts. Finish all three “Middles” and pass the paper back, then pick up another.

Now you’re on the “Ends”. Read someone else’s Beginning and Middle – then work out how this mini story-arc could resolve? When everyone’s finished, get people to share their favourite story arcs with the group.

Horst Geschka invented Brainwriting to help engineers innovate their products. I gave it a twist for a colleague who makes TV soap opera – and guess what, it works well for both.

Happy endings all round!

(Over a hundred more techniques like this one in my new book Be Creative Now!)