Storyteller Secrets

Hidden Stories

58b876ae0795aI came across an old newspaper from the 1920’s and was surveying the want ads when I spotted a business looking for a computer to help out in their accounting department.  A computer in the 1920s? A computer then was a human who had excellent math skills.  In fact, in the movie, “Hidden Figures,” the women working for NASA in calculating data were also called, “computers.”  Imagine, the original IBM 360 cost $5 billion dollars and had a processor that could perform 34,500 instructions per second.  Now compare that to today’s laptops that can cost a few thousand dollars and process two billion instructions per second?!

 

Farmer Sowing by HandBack in the 1700’s, a farmer sewing his fields had to take a handful of seeds from his pouch and then as hard as he could he would cast them out into his field as he walked —hence the word broad casting.  The word changed in the 1920’s, as radio towers began to cast out their radio waves to a broad area.  Today, broadcasting is used when you use your cell phone with an app like Google Live, Periscope, Streamup, YouNow, LivesStream and other App software.  Except your broadcast is no longer local but literally globally.

Periscope-broadcast

Building-a-Proper-Wood-Fire-in-Your-Home-FireplaceBack in the 1600’s, the backlog was quite literally “the largest log, located toward the back of the fire.”  It was a way to keep the fire burning.  A few centuries later the meaning came to be known for “something stored up for later use.”  Today, backlog has the meaning, “that things are being held up,” but it has started to evolve into a TODO app to help organize schedules, times, and orders.  So, maybe it’s still a way to keep the fire from burning out.

MV5BNzQzOTk3OTAtNDQ0Zi00ZTVkLWI0MTEtMDllZjNkYzNjNTc4L2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjU0OTQ0OTY@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_In the 1300’s, a matrix was a “pregnant animal” or “breeding female.”  The word later became known as the womb or enclosure.  This seems to be the strongest sense at play in the 1999 film, “The Matrix: humans trapped inside the ‘womb’ of the Matrix. . .their bodies forced to pump bio-electricity to generate its power.

 

 

 

avatar_movie_hindu_perspective         hqdefault

 

 

 

 

Thousands of years ago, Hindu mythology talked about their gods descending their world into ours and changed their spirit bodies into material forms called avatars.  Interesting enough James Cameron’s Avatar came from a game in the 1980’s called Habitat.  This was the first large-scale online role-playing game in history.  People interacted with others in this virtual world through their avatars.  Interesting enough the movie, ‘Ready Player One,’ almost seems to be a playoff of the 1980 Habitat.

An Egyptian boy writing. Scribe, hieroglyphs, symbols denoting meaning. Carving in stone or painting. System of sign language. Ancient Egypt.TB1X_x4RVXXXXX6aXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

 

 

 

In the 1300’s, before paper, tablets were made of clay, wax-covered wood, or a soft surface to write on.  One generally used a stylus to etch words into the clay or soft surface.  Interesting enough we still use a stylus to draw or write with on an electronic surface of light.  How does this differ from medicine tablet?  That’s another story.

I hope you found this reading interesting, it’s always fun to find hidden treasures that bring enlightenment and discovery.   Because, in the end, it’s still about the story.

Storyteller Secrets

Digital Storytelling-P2

Walt_Disney_storyboardsBetween 1931 and 1968, Walt Disney won 32 Academy Awards and still holds the record for most individual Academy Awards won.  Walt was known for pushing the envelope in storytelling and making animation an entertainment for both children and adults.

The storyboards that were created by Disney artists were more than just good artwork, they served another special purpose.  Walt used his storyboards to tell his story to his artists.  He used voices and body gestures to act out the whole story as it appeared on the storyboard.

sketching-painting-digital-animation-softwares-classes-in-delhi1You might be thinking, okay that sounds good, but I’m not making a movie or animation.  True, but you are telling a story and  digital storytelling  opens up a multitude of digital multimedia choices.  But it all starts with the storyboard.

 

spielberg-storyboardsA storyboard is a pre-production map showing your story beginning, middle and ending.  Steven Spielberg is known as being a great storyteller.  All you have to do is see any of his movies from E.T. to Jurassic Park.  Spielberg even has his storyboards out on location so that he can prepare and direct his shots.

As I stated in yesterday’s blog, a storyboard is like a cartoon strip showing a quick shot of a scene, its action, dialog, and what music or sound effects are going on.

Here is a simple student’s storyboard.  You can follow the story as you work through each frame from 1 – 14.

storyboard

 Putting these image together creates the story in action.  Like below.

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storyboard-template-screen-shot-2016-05-24-at-10-48-29-am

You can draw your own storyboard or pick up a template like the one above online.

To learn how a storyboard works study this 30-second commercial.

This 30-second commercial has only four scenes.  Sometimes it helps to turn off the sound and just watch the visual action.  What’s the message?

The message is water is essential for your health.  The majority of the commercial is on a young male who appears to quenching his thirst after a workout.  The commercial ends with a bottle of water.  This commercial does not sponsor any particular water company.

A storyboard is absolutely necessary if you want to make a good digital story.  A storyboard helps in the post-production stage; making sure the images have continuity; deciding which music selection best works;  if any sound effect needs to be added; choosing the best text font to communicate the story’s theme; and making sure your message is clear.

Every image must be able to tell the story without the help of words or sound.  Remember a good story is passed on while a poor story is passed by.  What changes would you make in the above water commercial?  Which image needs to be changed to drive the point that power drinks and sodas are not helping the body to quench its thirst?

Tomorrow and the next few days, we will discuss Timing in regards to how long each scene should be, and the supporting actors like color, music, and sound effects choices.  If you have any questions send me an email.

Storyteller Secrets

Digital Storytelling-P1

A_Story-teller_reciting_from_the_"Arabian_Nights."_(1911)_-_TIMEA

For thousands of years, storytellers passed down their stories orally.  Around 8,000 years ago, the first story was recorded on a clay tablet called a cuneiform.  That story was called, “The Epic of Gilgamesh.”  Oral tradition was the preferred method of telling stories until the 15th Century when the printing press was invented.   Today, the magic of digital technology has created a whole new reality in storytelling–digital storytelling.

fire

Digital Storytelling can combine: pictures, video, multimedia, audio, hypertext, 2D & 3D animation, music, sound effects, text, and narrations into an interactive and engaging format that can motivate and increase learning across the board.  In addition, the four learning styles: auditory, visual, reading, and kinesthetic are in full force in the majority of good digital stories.

So, what is Digital Storytelling?  Jerome Gratigny did a fine job of telling exactly what it is.

But at its core is still the message.  The rest of the digital storytelling elements are metaphors that keep supporting the message.  Therefore, the music must become a metaphor for the message, the colors, animation, images, dialog, whatever you are using becomes a metaphor  for the message.

Now, because of the wide array of digital elements available the old method of ‘writing it up’ needs to evolve.  It is best to use a storyboard.  So, what is a storyboard?

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A comic strip is a good example of a storyboard.  This is a four-panel storyboard from beginning to end reading left to right.  Every time I mention storyboard a hand goes up followed by, “I can’t draw!”  In truth, you don’t have to know how to draw.  You must just understand a storyboard is no more than a map showing where you start and finish.  We will go over in more detail tomorrow about how to put a storyboard together.

The next element is timing.  How long should your story be?  That depends on your message.  The commercials in Super bowl 2018 will cost over $5 million dollars for a 30-second ad.  Take a look at these 2017 Super Bowl ads, which cost only $166,667 dollars per second.  Can you identify the message?

When telling a story all you need is a little creativity and imagination.  When putting a digital story together you must think outside the box.  Don’t just think of still images anymore.  Think of images that actually move.

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There are thousands of ways to add digital media.  It is not about how much, but more what you need in order to move the story and the message forward.  The big difference between the 1951 and 2008 remake of, “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” was the 1951 had a message; whereas, the 2008 decided to concentrate on CGI and SFX.  That is why the 2008 remake movie bombed.  People go to the movies to be entertained with a story and to come out with a message.

A computer hooked up the Internet is a magic wand for you to deliver your message.  But it can also be Pandora’s box.   Tomorrow, we will explore the story-board.

NaaM

 

Strategic Story

Strategic Storytelling-Branding 2

After yesterday’s Story-branding, I decided to look for videos that could be critiqued and even possibly improved if they were changed to a story.  It didn’t take long for me to find one.  Before I say anymore, look at this Real Estate video.

 

 

The video was published on July 20, 2017.  The message for this video was to announce a First-Time Home-buyers Seminar that was scheduled for August 16, 2017.  The message took 10-seconds.  So, first let’s go over what’s wrong with this video.

First, it should have already been taken down after Aug. 16th.   This is out dated information.

Humor is a great attention grabber IF it makes a point–this one didn’t.  This group is hosting a First-Time Home-buyers Seminar.  What will be discussed?  What do I need to know in order to buy my first home?  What will I get out of this seminar when I leave?  Of course, none of these questions were asked.  What I observed were five well-dressed RE agents doing out-of-date 1980 dancing in the lobby of their office.  Here is an alternative for a one-minute story presentation.

INT.  KITCHEN   {Wife hands a letter to her husband}

HUSBAND

                                                  What’s this?

WIFE

Our rent is being increased again

HUSBAND

[ANGRY AND FRUSTRATED]

{Reads the letter and then crumbles it up and throws it into the trash}

This is never going to stop.  If we owned a home, like our parents, we would be better off.  But I just don’t think we can afford it.

WIFE

I’m not sure if we could even qualify.  They go by credit scores and how much money you got in the bank.

HUSBAND

I’ve gone online, but there just too much information and education to figure it all out.  I just wish we knew someone we could talk to.

INT.  [CAMERA PANS TO RIGHT] TO RE AGENT BEHIND THE COUPLE.  CAMERA ZOOMS IN SLOWLY ON AGENT AS HE SPEAKS.

AGENT

Let us help you answer these and other questions you might have at our free First Time Home-buyers Seminar.  Come with your concerns and questions and you’ll leave not only with answers, but who knows, maybe with an idea where you might just buy your first home.  Let us be your guide and take you through the steps.  We’re here for you.

A window to click to reserve your free seats could have helped in getting customer information.  This group overlooked several opportunities to collect intel and future leads.

Now, let’s end with this advertisement for Ubiquity World Network.  Remember Hitchcock on the visuals setting the tone, communicating the message, and transferring the emotions.  You will find all three in this one-minute clip.  I especially enjoyed the transitions between scenes.  This is not hard to do, it just takes time to plan it out.  The story has a beginning with the architect designer, how the company differs from cable companies, and ends with a united family using the Net.

 

AfterEffects software can do both these transitions and animations.  Worth thinking about.

Strategic Story

What is Strategic Storytelling-Part 3

“The human species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.”

We think in Metaphors.  A metaphor is a form of figurative language which applies non-literal descriptions in order to draw comparisons between two otherwise unrelated things.  Neuroscience brain research has demonstrated that we think in pictures not in words.   Words are abstract like numbers.  Metaphors, on the other hand, create a vivid image that people immediately connect to emotionally.

SpicesA picture of spices with its wide range a vivid colors, textures, and tastes can add flavor to your brand, product or service.  Spices add  piquancy, and sometimes a little heat to a meal.  If you were given the above picture to describe your product or service how would you connect it?

KnightImages play instantly into the imagination of your viewer.  For example, in the above image, do you see just chess pieces, or do you see your company facing your competition and pausing to develop and craft your strategic story, which indicates your next strategic move.

RhinoAsk yourself what would happen if another animal like a cheetah, elephant or hippopotamus were used instead of the Rhino.  What does the Rhino stand for in this image?  What would the other three animals represent?  How would that change the metaphor for the car’s construction, comfort, strength, and durability?

Artwork

Metaphors help in giving your audience a different perspective on the benefits you offer.  Sometimes people only see the same product\service that can be bought through different companies.  For example, if you are a real estate agent.  You help people buy and sell houses.  But there are hundreds of agents doing the same thing (center object).  What separates you from the others is your story.  How does “The Thinker,” from Rodin differ from the statue of Venus De Milo?  The metaphor of the image is connected emotionally to your product or service.

ShoesTwo shoes one dressy the other relax.  They look about the same size so they represent one person’s life style.

What does the shoe on the left represent as oppose to the shoe on the right?  Did you notice that the dress shoe is on the left side and could represent the left brain:  Logical, abstract, linear thinking, business, facts, mathematics, and thinking in words?  On the other hand, the right side represents the right side of the brain:  Imagination, intuition, rhythm, day dreaming, holistic thinking, the Arts, and fun.  As you can see, there are many creative ways to interpret the images to your needs.

In the end, it is about bringing more visibility to your site or business and thereby increasing your leads for future sales.  It is also understanding how to add emotions through the use of metaphors.  Your task is now to review your sites and decide if the theme is being played throughout your marketing campaign.  Go back to the question, “Why?” your product or service is important, then ask, “Does this metaphor represent me, or who I want to be, or who people think I am?”

framing

 

Stories inside a Story

#Enough–The Story Continues

enough-national-school-walkout-protests-lawmakers-inaction-on-gun-violenceI had another article I was going to post today, but at noon I left my home office and drove to our neighborhood Starbucks for my birthday freebie.  While waiting for my drink to be made I stood by the newspaper stand.  The pictures of students protesting on the front page of the WSJ  caught my attention.  I bought the newspaper, grabbed my drink, and returned home.

I wrote a piece that addressed the Florida massacre back in February (“To Change Reality-Change the Story P3”).  I knew then this story was just unfolding and the story would gain momentum, and it has.   As of today,  the story is far from dying out, it was front page news on the Wall Street Journal, “Students Protest Gun Violence.”

Since the Douglas High School massacre, suggestions on how to deal with gun violence in schools has been discussed from arming teachers to passing a Stop School Violence Act.  I’m an educator, and have worked for 25 years in high schools.  As far as arming teachers, let’s just say, there are some teachers I wouldn’t want to see armed.  No, arming teachers is moving in the wrong direction.  There have been mass killings in churches, what would you say to a pastor or deacon holstering a gun?

980xOn the other hand, increasing the age, or making it harder to purchase a gun, is not the answer either. Cigarette Laws were passed to increase the age from 16 to 18, and now many state laws have 21 as the legal age to purchase a pack of cigarettes.  Under age children still are able to get a hold of a pack of smokes.

Increasing the price of guns won’t help.  When I was a kid, cigarettes cost .25 cents a pack.  Today a pack of cigarettes varies with Los Angeles and New York state pricing their smokes at around $4.35 a pack.  The laws and costs won’t detour smokers.  You must get rid of the product.

This is where the students have focused their movement on—removing the weapons.  According to the Wall Street article, “the students are demanding the ban on semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity magazines, and the expansion of background checks to all gun sales.”

ThompsonSubmachineAdInteresting enough, this was a similar argument used back in 1929.  Except the gun that the public wanted removed was the Thompson Submachine gun, and in 1934, the United States government enacted the National Firearms Act of 1934.  This made the sale of The Thompson Submachine Gun illegal for public sale, but could still be sold to the military.

The old adage, “Children should be seen and not heard,” is being shoved aside.  These are our future citizens and they are already becoming involved in our political process, and their voice is coming through Social Media as the tool for change, and it’s working.  The last generation to do this were the Baby Boomers, who became activists and politically active with everything from Civil Rights to United States involvement in Vietnam.  We kids couldn’t vote back then either!WT_May7_1970

Stories inside a Story

The Story Within the Story-Black Panther

Whenever I go out to see a movie, I don’t go because of the special effects, actors, cinematography, or great musical score; these are important elements that help tell a story.  But, what I must have when I leave my seat, in the end, is a good story.  The rest just enhances the story enjoyment.

250px-Black_Panther_OS_Vol_1_2I went out today to see Marvel’s newest release, “The Black Panther.”  I’m not going to critique the movie or actors, nor talk about the special effects or the music.  What I’m interested in–is the story.

The movie begins with a night scene of stars and a child voice asking someone to tell him a story.  I thought, alright that’s a good start.  As the narrator continues to tell the story, I began thinking to myself, “There is something familiar here. Where have I heard this story before?”

who-created-humansAccording to Sumerian legends, Enki, a son of Anu, king on another planet called Nibiru, lands on Earth, on what today we call Africa, to mine for gold to take back to save his planet.  There is something wrong with the Anunnaki’s planet’s atmosphere and gold is needed to repair it.  The Anunnaki are quite advanced in science and technology, and establish themselves on Earth mining the gold.

According to Sumerian tradition, it was the Anunnaki that genetically bred man into Cro-Magnon, which is who we are today.  The Anunnaki story is over 6,000 years old.

The Black Panther movie, on the other hand, seems to borrow segments from this ancient story.  It tells a story with advanced beings, living in Africa, who possess advance science and technology.  Don’t worry if you haven’t seen this movie yet I’m not giving anything away.  Story cannibalism is natural in the storytelling world.

Cs0FU66VMAAqBU_ “Black Panther,” is a new movie, but not a new story.  The first Black Panther story   originated back in 1966. It was part of Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966) during the Silver Age of comic Books.  Like Batman, T’Challa (Black Panther hero) has no super powers and must rely on his proficiency in physical training, science, and technology to battle his opposition.

the-black-panther-party-wishum-gregoryInteresting enough, another Black Panther story began in 1966. It was formed by two men, Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. The original purpose of this organization was to make sure African-American citizens were armed like militia.  In time, the FBI got involve and soon discredited the organization.  The Black Panthers received too much negative media and political attention, and  by the 1980’s, the organization was gone, and so was the name, “Black Panther.”

It was Michael Margolis who said, “The stories we tell literally make the world.  If you want to change the world, you need to change the story.”  I think the writers of the Black Panther are on that path.  Brandon Sanderson wrote, “The purpose of a storyteller is not tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”  I also think this story has the potential to make its audience do just that.