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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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.

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.

Storyteller Secrets, Strategic Story

Strategic Storytelling-Branding 1

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Strategic Stories can be transmitted through a variety of presentation formats.  Today, we will look at Story Branding.  You find this format mostly on Websites to Social Media.  Digital Storytelling should be kept at the 1 – 3-minute mark, beyond three minutes takes more creativity to keep the viewer to the end.

The two stories that follow is a second level of Strategic Storytelling we call, “ Storytelling Branding.”

Patek Philippe’s one minute commercial creates both the brand and image by using visual metaphors.  The black and white photography creates an air of sophistication and drama.  The video highlights five major cities that represent the five major UTC Time Zones.   Each time zone is equal to 10-seconds of video time.  In each of the five segments an adult is wearing a Patek Philippe watch, and the adult is always paired with a son or daughter image.   The last ten seconds explains the whole message: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation.”  This is more than just a watch to tell time, it is an investment in technology and fine art.  The music is soft, classical, and subtle.   It ends with, “Begin your own tradition.”  The Brand is set like a museum piece of fine art and the whole video plays into this concept.

 

 

The second commercial says absolutely nothing about the product, “Red Bull Stratos.”  The video was edited down to 1:30 minutes.   It is the historical documented highest free-fall jump ever done—24 miles in altitude.  The video went viral and has been seen more than 41,500,000 million times. The only brand icon visible was on top of the parachute.  Brilliant!  Red Bull, in the past has spent over $75 million per year advertising and marketing its product in the U.S.  However, the viral video, “Red Bull Stratos,” rose sales 17% to $1.6 billion dollars in the United States. Globally the company sold 5.2 billion cans, which was a 13% increase.  Red Bull’s slogan: ‘Red Bull gives you wings’.

 

Storytelling Branding has a beginning, middle, and end.  It differs from Strategic Storytelling, which is more of a persuasive argument.  The purpose of branding is to identify your product-service customer’s values.  If done correctly, the story will do most of the work.  Story Branding must build trust, confidence, and inspire emotion.  Without the emotional element, the story will end when the video ends.  Shut the sound off and see the video again, and then think about what Alfred Hitchcock once told his apprentice.  He said, “Even if they shut off the sound to my movies, the images will still deliver the message and emotions.”  This is good advice when developing your video storyboard.

Images must convey meaning through their actions and expected emotional response.  Background music should never over power, but act more as a supporting actor.  The story must lead the viewer to a conclusion on your Brand’s strength: Trust, Confidence, Reliability, or Leadership.  Which of these two videos would you use as your branding template?

 

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?”

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genealogy

Finding the Hidden Story-Photographs

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, which might be true, if interpreted correctly!

eyck5When I have shown this painting called, “The Wedding of Arnolfini,” by Jan van Eyck, (1434), to my students and would ask what is this painting about?  What’s the story behind it?  Several students would reply that this is a shot-gun marriage because the woman is pregnant.

First, the woman was not pregnant.  In fact, she never would have any children.  It was painted in with the hope she would bear children.  The dog is a symbol of fidelity, the shoes on the floor, the mirror, rosary on the wall, a lit candle above them all indicate symbols of marriage that took place legally in a church with all its blessings–This is a 15th Century Marriage Certificate.

oldfotoNow, What about the picture to the right?  What are your initial thoughts?  What impressions and emotions are you feeling?  Do you think you have the story down?

What objects can you identify?  What do the objects in the picture tell you?  Every object in this picture has a story to tell, if you can remove yourself from 21st Century prejudices and bias.

When I talk of prejudices and bias I’m not talking about race but cultural boundaries that separate us through time.

I found this picture on a Facebook page that hosts old photos.  The question on this photo was, “What can we learn from the little girl who lives in a cabin with newspaper as wall coverings and smiles?”  “Why does she smile considering her living conditions?

When I did my research, I found out that the picture was made by Carl Mydans in 1936.  Carl Mydans was a photographer who documented the depression years.

The newspaper was valuable because that zeroed in where this little girl lived.  She lived in the Ozarks of Missouri.  The nearest town newspaper was the, “St. Clair County Republic.”  The newspaper indicates ads for the New Year.  So, this was probably either a December 1935 or January 1936 newspaper. The cabin has no running water or electricity.  The stove is the main source for cooking and heating.  There is a kerosene can next to her.  I would expect the bed to be behind the photographer.

It is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, but I have chosen to write only 500 words\blog.  A photograph, on the other hand, has many stories to tell, which are frozen in time for eternity, in a fraction of a second, in a person’s life.

Sherlock Holmes once said, “The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”  In this 1936 picture, the initial question was, “Why is this poor little girl smiling?”  Of all the objects in the picture, the one obvious thing that would make this little girl smile is a new pair of shoes.  Compared to the little girl’s hat and dress, the shoes show no wear or dirt.  Observe the obvious.