Storytelling in the Digital Age: 1HR Super Course - Presenting, writing, marketing, editing & more! | Matt Livadary | Skillshare

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Storytelling in the Digital Age: 1HR Super Course - Presenting, writing, marketing, editing & more!

teacher avatar Matt Livadary, Substance over content

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

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About This Class

My promise to you: if you give this course an hour of your time, you will become a better storyteller.

I work for a living as a storyteller. These are real, useful methods learned from years of hard-earned experience and countless helpful tips, classes, and books on storytelling -- all boiled down into three simple chapters designed to increase your engagement and connection to audiences of all sizes.  I don't waste time on history or pretentious theoretical musings, these are tools I use in my work every day, communicated swiftly and clearly. This is the course I wish I'd had.

Why is this course effective? 

Because I create stories for a living. I've made podcasts, documentaries, and overseen hundreds of branded projects for digital platforms. My work has been distributed on Netflix, Amazon, nominated for Emmys, won film festivals and more. I started my own storytelling company based largely on using these simple principles - you can find samples at my company site listed in my bio.

From Instagram to Facebook to Youtube, I've earned millions of views online through engaging online storytelling and have a deep understanding of how to convert stories most effectively into all shapes and sizes. I use these same principles to train former staff at digital media empire Uproxx and Pepperdine University. And I've used these tools to win numerous studio awards for excellence in story telling. 

It doesn't matter what storytelling medium you're trying to improve, if you aren't taking into account how digital media has compressed our consumption habits, then your skills may need an update.  And I fundamentally believe they shouldn't be expensive, time consuming or boring.

Why should I care about being a better storyteller? 

Being an effective storyteller increases your ability to connect with others. Whether among your friends, your coworkers, or those you want in your circle, you can inspire and draw the world in with a great story. It also shifts your perspective on how you experience and enjoy the world, creating rich memories that benefit you for the rest of your life. 

No matter where you're starting from and can help in the following storytelling mediums: 

  • Filmmaking & videography - editing, directing, screenwriting

  • Branded video content

  • Podcast creation

  • Creative writing & screenwriting

  • Pitching & selling ideas

  • Presenting

  • Toasts & Speeches

  • Public speaking

  • Interviewing & making a good first impression

  • This course is for anyone, no matter where you're starting from.

Who is this course for? 

Whether you work in digital media, are trying to write a book, finish a screenplay, or speak in public better, this course is designed to increase your engagement, help connect with audiences, and leave them captivated through your stories. 

My background is cinema, so many of my references stem from that world, but I believe the fundamental lessons in this course pertain to many avenues of storytelling. I've received 5-star reviews from product managers, tour guides, marketers, entrepreneurs and many more. I try to use an overview of relevant examples and lessons anyone can learn from and apply to their specific needs. 


This is a one hour course. My promise is this will make you a better storyteller in  an hour - it doesn't necessarily mean you'll immediately be able to go from zero to writing COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO after only an hour (If only!).  The fundamentals tuaght in this course are widely applicable across mediums. But applying these skills in your own time is essential. Storytelling is a muscle - the more you exercise it, the stronger you'll get.


I'm a passionate storyteller and my aim is to help improve your ability to connect and inspire in the quickest amount of time. Thank you for checking out the course!

Happy storytelling!


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Matt Livadary

Substance over content

Level: All Levels

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1. 1A COURSE INTRODUCTION - WELCOME!: Welcome to storytelling fundamentals for all. The one, our super course. My name is Matt libertarian. I'm a documentary filmmaker and a creative director. And I'm going to make you a promise. If you give me one hour of your time, you can become a better storyteller. Now, why should we care about being better storytellers? I fundamentally believe that the better you are at storytelling, the more success you're going to have in your life. It will help you inspire to lead, to create. Whether you're writing a novel when you're trying to give a toast at your wedding, whether you're trying to pitch and sell ideas, or whether you're trying to just look better on a tinder date. Storytelling is the way to connect with others and actually make the biggest impact on someone. So who am I and why do I talk so fast? I'll start with the first question. The simplest way to describe it is I'm a storyteller. I'm grateful to get to tell stories for a living. And I've done it in a variety of mediums. For starters, I went to film school. I worked at one of the largest town agencies in the world. I've gone off to make my own documentaries that have been featured on Netflix. I've overseen a Digital Studio at a media publisher called, where we communicated stories to 50 million unique visitors a month. I've made Podcasts. I'd been nominated for Emmys and editing and producing. I've won awards for directing. And I've learned a lot going from feature-length documentary is too short bite-size stories that really compress the ideas of what are the sound fundamentals of story. And it's also something that I love teaching. And I'm grateful to get invited each semester to teach business students about how to be a better storyteller. And a lot of these business students tell me they never felt like they were creative enough to tell a story. This is something I really disagree with because I believe that everyone is creative. And the best part is that these are fundamentals that anyone can learn. So what are you going to learn in this class? You're going to learn about the fundamentals of telling a simple story. In really simple lessons, we're going to learn about how to inspire your audience early. How to create an increase engagement. Tips on how to start telling a great story. Practical tools for deepening authenticity and more. My background's pretty diverse. So the examples I give are going to be rooted in film and TV. But we'll also touch on podcasts and digital mediums like social videos and more. But an important disclaimer, this course isn't comprehensive. After all, it's only an hour long. But this course is full of some of the best lessons and tips I've found to give any storyteller a solid foundation and avoid some of the most common mistakes of unsuccessful stories. Because believe me, I have made every possible mistake out there. And disclaimer number two, if you haven't noticed, I talk fast, feel free to pause any lesson or go back at any point to take this at your own pace. And I do this because I understand that regardless of what medium you're telling your story in the digital generation has made it imperative to tell your stories swiftly inefficiently. And I want to be respectful of your time because these days everything online is fighting for your attention. So how do you cut through all the noise out there? By creating an engaging story? There's never been a better time to tell stories and the world needs to hear yours. As brilliant storyteller, Jordan Peel says, Storytelling is the most powerful weapon we have for creating change. Whether you're trying to be better in an interview, do it their story. If you're trying to sell ideas, do it through story. If you're trying to write poetry, do it through story. By the end of this course, you can have the knowledge that can make you a better storyteller. And it's going to take just one hour of your time. And to keep me honest, I'm literally going to have a I'm literally going to have a stopwatch going right now. And here it is right now. Thank you so much for checking out this course. I hope you stay with this. 2. 1B START WITH WHY: in 1984 Steve Jobs was going to air a commercial on the Super Bowl. Now this is 1984. No one's ever heard of Steve Jobs. They've never heard of Apple. This will be the first commercial that introduces the world. Toe apple. This was a commercial that failed all market research. People thought it was going to be a catastrophic failure, and they didn't want Steve tow launch it. His board of directors threatened to fire him. Steve Jobs said, If you don't launch this commercial, I will quit. Steve Jobs ultimately put his foot down, and his crazy commercial ended up launching in the middle of the Super Bowl. Now put yourself in someone shoes watching the Super Bowl, 1984 you're seeing like Triscuits commercials. You're seeing cats eat, Whisk us. You're seeing all sorts of brands that Toyota rammed 50 room. Your standard lab looks like communicate to you in the old fashioned way, and this was an old fashioned at the time. Yet now Steve Jobs then launches this commercial. The commercial features these prisoners and their shackled to their seats in a theatre, staring at a screen when all of a sudden, This woman in bright red shorts wielding a hammer, is chased through the theater by policemen and dogs, and she spends her hammer around and she breaks the screen, freeing the prisoners. And there's a famous tag. At the very end. On January 24 Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh and you'll see why 1984 won't be like 1984. Now you might have noticed something about this commercial that Steve Job board of directors noticed. A swell. What are we selling? Where's the product? Why didn't you show the computer again? No one's ever heard of Apple before. Why the hell are you not showing the computer? They couldn't understand it, and Steve Jobs said something famous that has lived on in infamy, he said, I'm not trying to sell a product. I'm trying to sell a philosophy. Analysts later figured out that that commercial generated $150 million of free advertising just because people were sharing it on their own. People didn't know what to make of this thing. Think about that, don't sell products, sell philosophies, sell ideas, and this really starts with the principal. Start with one Simon cynic coined this philosophy in his books. Start with Why it's about how great leaders inspire action by starting with Why not? How or what, But why now? Steve Jobs, Because he sold you a philosophy that evolved into think different was the idea that if you're someone who likes to think differently, Apple is the brand for you now. He doesn't need to sell you every single computer with a brand new commercial telling you exactly why it's different or exactly why it's better or what the features are. What do you do is he can not only to sell your computers, you can sell you iPods, phones, iTunes, music subscription services. He can sell you so many different things because he started with philosophy, and now you might have remembered at the top of this. I started with why I started with the idea that if you give me an hour of your time, you're going to become a better storyteller. That's a big why, that's a big promise. I now know why I'm here. I might be willing to let this crazy guy rant at me for one hour on storytelling. It's because you start with why you have to give people context that lets them know what they're in for, especially the shorter or medium. If you're someone who's trying to get into digital storytelling, are trying to do an elevator pitch or trying to get a story really condensed. Start with why start with your vision in Lay it into your story. It doesn't have to be so obvious, but you always want to give people why they're listening to you. Imagine just walking up to a friend in a busy street there in a hurry, and you just start launching into your day. Well, I started with this. I got to this and then I started doing this. You start laying this out and they're wondering what is going on now. Imagine if you instead approached your friend, and the first thing you said was starting with why or thesis That said, this is the most embarrassing thing I've ever witnessed in my life. Then you tell the exact same story I started here. I want to hear it woke up into that. Then all of a sudden your friend knows at least what they're doing in the conversation. They know what the punch line might be, and they can't wait to listen to that punch line. But you gave them context. You started with a pieces, and you might remember that I followed up that first. Why at the top of this whole Siri's with the idea of and that why I said, it's because I believe you're gonna be more successful, the better of a storyteller you are, which I fundamentally believe. So again, the more you can explain your why the more effective you're going to be at immediately gauge, engaging your audience. Now if you have an entire television, Siri's. If you have an entire long, long novel toe work with, you may not need to be quite so direct quite so quickly. But eventually you're going to need to understand that your audience wants to know why they're here. Attention spans have gotten shorter no matter what medium you're working in. Digital has changed our consumption habits, and it's only going to get more and more minute as millennials get older and older. So you really want to understand and uses a tool, the quickest possible way to get people to stop scrolling in their feet or to stop their busy commute, or to really just make sure they're focusing on what you're saying. Give them a why 3. 1C ALWAYS LIVE UP TO YOUR PROMISE: you have to live up to your promise. If you make me a promise, you better deliver. It needs to be honest and genuine. You can't just say doctors cure cancer in the headline of your article to get me to click on it. And then I show up and I say, Oh, well, they didn't actually cure cancer. They're just researching it. That feels like there's a classic term for its called click bait in Digital. Now, this exists through all storytelling. If you live up to your promise, your audience will trust you. If you don't, they drop off and they might never come back to you or listen to you ever again. I always think it's helpful to think about my stories visually. Stories are generally made up of sequence of actions. Generally, you might have an inciting incident, which leads to something unexpected, which ultimately reaches a point. If you're talking about a classic story arc, you're talking about it beginning a middle and an end. If you make a promise of beginning. In other words, you start with why your challenge and really your requirement as a storyteller is tell the best story you can by the end that pays off the original promise. Not only does this make for a great arc of a story, but it also increases your authenticity with your audience, which we'll talk about in the third chapter. But never try to trick your audience with the promise. Be real, because audiences are really smart these days. If you're making a promise and a big Y up top, you've got to live up to it. Now the pressure's on me. I made a promise, saying, I'm gonna make a better storyteller out of you no matter who you are in under an hour. I know I can live up to that, and I'm striving Do that every single moment. Speaking of which, how am I doing on time? We've got a little bit of time left. Okay, I better keep moving. But before I get to the second fundamental lesson of storytelling, have to take a quick aside and introduce you to a person who is responsible in my eyes, really honing in what elements of story are. Stay with me 4. 1D THE HERO MASTER: So in this episode, we're gonna be talking a little bit about the master story teller, the person who figured out that there is a formula. Why is there a formula? This bothers a lot of people. They think it's a stigma to say art shouldn't have a formula. It should be creative Now, Aaron Sorkin's famous writer award winning screenwriter says. Those who don't use fundamentals are just finger painters, which I think is an amazing quote. But really, it all stems down from one person who took storytelling, and he figured out the formula that exists in all of us. This is Joseph Campbell. Joseph Campbell wrote many famous books. One of the most that I'd recommend is called Hero With 1000 Faces, and what Joseph Did was he studied culture all over the world. He went and studied folklore and myths and stories from all over the world. Throughout time, from the Middle East to China to South America to Native Americans. He went all over, and he looked at what the myths and folklore they passed down from generations were, and what he discovered is fascinating. We fundamentally, as humans have an innate desire to hear storytelling that has a hero's journey, and this is something he coined famously. A lot of us have heard about it. This is one example what the hero's journey is that you can find even more detailed analysis online. But the hero's journey basically follows a path of a hero that goes through an entire evolution to rediscover him or herself. By the end of it, you can look at any blockbuster movie, and you can find the hero's journey. If you look at The Matrix hero's journey, you look at Star Wars Hero's Journey. Fact. George Lucas famously said that if it weren't for just Campbell, he would have never finished Star Wars. And now let's analyze it. This is a simplified version of what the hero's journey is. You can find a more detailed one online, but for the sake of this discussion, let's analyze Star Wars from this perspective. Now Luke gets a call to adventure, and that's Princess Leia's message. At the very beginning, he refuses the call when he says he has to help with the harvest. Then a mentor comes in. It's Obi Wan Kenobi tells him. You've got to go find a sky. OTA. So what Luke Skywalker do? He has to escape tattooing and crosses the threshold. Over time, he's gonna end up going through an entire journey where he doubts himself, where he finds himself where he discovers who he is and will end up in the exact same place . He started being a completely transformed person. He's now a jet I. Now you can look at tons of stories from the hero's journey, and the better you understand it more easily. It will come to you to create arcs to create tensions, create stakes to create a journey that you can take your audience on us. It's proven that it is part of our DNA as humans that love hearing these types of stories. And while it may be depressing to hear that there might be a formula, just know again that the artistry isn't disguising that formula, and artists have been doing it throughout time, and I know you can, too. So how are we doing on time? I'm gonna move on to the next lesson 5. 1E BONUS: UNDERSTANDING YOUR PLATFORM: there are so many different platforms out there more than there were even a decade ago. So getting your story out there isn't the problem anymore. You can tell your story to as many people as you want and disseminate it immediately. But it's also opened up on even greater challenge of how to tell your story correctly on each platform. These days, more than ever, you have to consider where and how your stories are living. For example, say you have a story. You wouldn't necessarily tell that story the same way to a friend on the bus as you would to an audience of 400 people. For one, the buses more intimate, probably with a lot of noise, constant distractions. And you likely won't have the benefit of audio visual aids. And your audience is someone you know, and therefore you might not have to win them over. Keep their attention as closely. All of these reasons are enough to change the way you tell the same story to two different audiences. But the point remains that you have to understand your platform, or how and where your story is being told in order to know how to best tell it and digital thes air called platforms Disclaimer noted these air general guidelines at the time of recording this course, and they're changing all the time. So let's compare to currently popular platforms for video just to illustrate the importance of knowing your platform. Let's take Instagram and YouTube. Knowing a little bit about how each platform operates will help dictate how each audience consumes stories differently. For instance, take YouTube, which is a long standing, fairly traditional video publisher. People go to YouTube specifically toe watch videos, meaning they're generally considered more sedentary, even if they're watching on a phone. That means that people typically go to YouTube with the sound on. So videos that they're watching our listened to more on average than, say, Instagram. We'll talk about that more in a second. But watch times on YouTube are typically longer. You can tell more of your story to your audience. You also have a natively horizontal or 16 by nine orientation, which affects how you film your videos and what kinds of visual information you can convey and where seems pretty straightforward right now. Let's consider Instagram and for these purposes, just instagram feed it's cram. Audiences are mobile, meaning they're on the go and highly distracted. Getting their attention is much harder than on YouTube, and therefore you need to start videos quickly. And usually visuals are key. Currently, Instagram's main feed videos are limited to 60 seconds. It's also a mobile platform that supports orienting your phone the way that you hold it, mostly meaning vertical or at least square. If you put a 16 by nine video that you did on YouTube into an instagram frame, the viewer will have a harder time seeing it because of the way smaller. Typically, the year engagement increases when you frame it, your video to fill the frame on instagram. And if you weren't planning for that when you shot your video, you might crop out potentially critical information that you weren't planning to. Audiences go to Instagram not necessarily just to watch videos, but to visually see what their communities air doing. As a result, sound on videos is off by default on INSTAGRAM videos to start playing automatically with no sound on. It can be frustrating as a viewer to see someone talking but not knowing what they're saying, and while it's easy enough to turn the sound on. Note that most people don't they simply swipe on to the next video. So in order to make it easiest for your audience to consume an instagram feed, video captions or text are common. So you want to make it easy for your audience to consume your story on the platform that they're on, which means you gotta play by the rules of the platform. And again, these rules can all be broken. But these aren't just general best practices. That's just a brief comparison of two platforms. There's much deeper analytics. You can go on to both of those as well as so many more. You'll notice. I don't spend a lot of time talking about specific platforms and how you can cater to each of them. In this course, that would take way too long. And there are plenty of great resource is out there if you want to learn more Google best practices for and whatever platform trying to understand better. But you should definitely educate yourself on the platform you're considering and how it generally operates in order to best cater your story to that audience, because knowing your platform is critical to how you shape your story 6. 2A THE SECRET OF ENGAGEMENT: this chapter is gonna be devoted entirely to one of most important fundamental lessons that I've learned. And I think it's probably easier to start with this. This is a rubber band. It's an old, brittle, kind of terrible rubber band that I found at the bottom of my George's now, and it hasn't really been stretched in a long time. So what, I'm gonna dio because I'm gonna trust that this thing is not gonna snap. And I'm going to keep pulling and pulling and pulling and pray that I don't regret this. Okay, what was that? The second most fundamental lesson of storytelling is attention. What is tension? We use it in sentences all the time, but many of us can't really define it. Tension is the act of being stretched tight. In other words, you have to have two opposing forces, at least, so you're pulling on something. The act of being stretched tight tension really means any time you can create a question, Ah, hope and expectation or a doubt in your audience. In other words, it's any time they don't know the answer to a question that you do or another character does that creates tension. So, in other words, it creates the interest in knowing MAWR. It gets you excited about discovery about what will happen now. Why is tension important? The more attention you have, the higher your engagement will be, especially in digital storytelling. Engagement is everything, not just views, not just likes. But are people really engaging with your content? Are they sticking with it? Are they watching till the end? Are they staying in their seats in the theater? Are they reading till the last chapter? Engagement means we stay in it because we don't know the answers, and we can't wait to find out what happens. So if you want higher engagement, you need to manufacture tension into your story. It doesn't matter if it's a presentation or a toast or screenplay. It gives your audience no choice but to pay attention. When you've manufactured tension into your story. Attention means two opposing forces, right? So why is that compelling? Because any time you can create questions or hope or expectation or doubt in your audiences mind, you're hooking them into your story, whether they want to be or not. Now, if I say knock, not you inherently think who's there? You're now part of this job, whether you want to be or not, because you want to know what I'm going to say next cause you know the stupid format of this joke style. Now I might say interrupting cow and you say interrupting cow and I just they move now that's the whole joke. It's the dumbest drug of all time. But if I just started with interrupting cow Interesting. How what Inter cut blue and like it doesn't work. It doesn't work without the set up. Tension is anticipation. It's that question hope, expectation or doubt that you're creating in your audience. And that's why it works Now. Remember how I started with this entire, this entire thing up top? I said, I promise you, you're going to have a better storyteller if you give me one hour of your time. That creates an expectation or hope in your mind that you may be willing to give me an hour of your time in order to become a better storyteller. That's tension that's making a promise that you then again, as we learned in the last chapter, have to live up to. So I'm actually dangling a carrot in front of your face. But I'm not just giving it all away. I'm not letting you grab it the carrot and run with it. I'm gonna string out little bits of information that make you have to stick with me and wherever I can, I'm gonna try to re proposition you every single time to promise that the next chapter or the next lesson or the thing I'm gonna do 15 minutes is going to be worth your time. I'll get to that in 15 minutes. Now you have something to look forward to. It's It's the same reason you come back from commercial breaks. You know, they always they always end just before the commercial would like. Someone opens the door on. They have this big reaction and they cut to commercial You like, Ah, Who the hell did they see Who did they like? What is going on? And now you're like, damn it. Now I have to come back, and after the commercial, I'm gonna come back and see who opened the door. Now they always come back from the commercial end. What do they do? They don't just open the door again. And show who it was. They go to the B story and they tell the B story for about 10 minutes, and then they finally get back to who was at the door. That's how they keep you and just know that tension. Yes, two opposing forces, at least. But if you create a B story or you want to pull it your character and another way, you can create multiple points of tension that keep people really engaged in your story. And that's the entire point. How long you can withhold that and not payoff. Who's at the door without dissatisfying your audience? You're gonna really have people engaged in your story. Award winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has a great philosophy where, he says, every dramatic story has to start with intention and obstacle. That is the clothes line you have to hang every story off of, and every storyline in that major story. Haas to somehow support that main tension. And so if you look at any of his stories, you get any screenplays. Every first seen usually sets that tone of what that intention is. So if you've seen the social network at highly recommend seeing it, mark Zuckerberg starts that see now with breaking up with his girlfriend or rather, his girlfriend breaks up with him, and the intention is clear that Mark Zuckerberg wants to be popular now. What is Mark Zuckerberg doing at the end of that movie? He's refreshing his Facebook page to find out if his ex has accepted his friend request. Is he popular? Yet? Is he cool? So remember, tension is everything, and the sooner you can set at least one hook in your audience pulling them this way, the more you can start off with. The race is going that way, and it's setting that hook really well. That keeps your audience needing to Nome, or you have to make sure you don't just give away the punch line right away. Now, on the next lesson, I'm gonna talk about the secret of attention. Now that you know what it is, it's important that you don't break the rule of tension. Here comes yeah, 7. 2B THE #1 RULE OF TENSION: attention is the act of being stretched tight, and the fundamental truth of tension is this. The longer you can withhold that tension without dissatisfying your audience in other ways , the MAWR engagement you'll have. It doesn't matter if it's a presentation or a toast or a screenplay. You give the audience no choice but to pay attention. Toe what you've manufactured when you put tension into your story, really pay attention to that second part without dissatisfying your audience in other ways . What does that mean? Well, imagine the time span that I'm making a promise. Like I did it up top, I said, You know, if you give me an hour of your time, you will become a better storyteller for the rest of your life. Now that might be a compelling argument to make, and it's something I believe in. But imagine if I said, if you give me five years of your time to become a better storyteller, you like I screw this guy, I don't have that kind of time. That's ridiculous. That's dissatisfying my audience. It's not taking your time seriously. You know we don't have enough time to sit through 40 Our storytelling lessons. We don't have time to sit through all of the amazing things that are out there, which is why I'm going so quickly through this. I want to be clear, but I also want to be really respectful of your time. Make the audience worth less, make people work less, make it really easy. And not just easy but impossible. Not tow watch. Listen, read what you've made. Remember what I mentioned earlier in the example is, if I open the door and I have a huge reaction on my face and then cut to commercial when we come back from commercial, you might be willing to get away with a scene or two from some other side character. But you can withhold just a little bit of time and tell you reveal who was finally at the door. But if you give 10 scenes, 12 scenes, 15 scenes, 20 scenes, depending on the type of story you're trying to tell, you might actually to satisfy your audience who just like says, Screw this, it's not worth it. I don't even care who's at the door so again, with whole tension, as long as you can to create maximum engagement and pay it off only when you need to. And really use your own medium, your own style and what you're writing for what your goals are. To really understand what is going to to satisfy the audience. How soon do I need to really pay this off and work backwards from there? So how do we create tension now? If I just blurted it out to you right now, I'd kill all opportunities retention. So for the spirit of learning, I'm gonna put this in other videos. Over the next couple chapters, you're gonna learn exactly how to manufacture tension. 8. 2C TENSION IS EVERYWHERE: attention is everywhere. Once you start dissecting tension and really start analyzing it, you'll notice it everywhere. It's in headlines that you click on online. It's in sports. Think of two opposing forces going against each other. It's why we watch the Super Bowl. It's tense. What will happen by the end of these 4/4? Who will have more points on the board? Lis tickles. If you ever seen a list ical online, you know that it's designed for tension. It's like, you know the five ways to burn belly fat and number four will surprise you right now. I gotta click on this, and I wasn't interested in this, but now they not only don't wanna lose weight, but now they double tension me because now I want to know what number four is. They say it's surprising again these are promises these air creating an expectation, hope or or doubt in your head. But then you want to satisfy by clicking on that link. That's how they get you. Instagram stories use tension. I think about the top. Think about that little bar at the top of the window that says exactly how much time is left imagine if you didn't know how much time was in someone's story, you probably not watch it. Headlines have tension paintings, framing music, the amount of time you wait for your Gmail toe load. Now this is all designed to have tension, and it's intentional Now think about the time when you scroll down on Gmail. Software developers have admitted that they use what's called the jackpot effect. Now when you pull a jackpot lever that time while you're waiting for the numbers to show up . Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding and revealing if you're a winner or not, is what makes gambling addictive. So they've actually programmed this slight delay, and it's used on Instagram. It's used on Gmail. It's used on Facebook so that when you know you have a message or you're trying to find out if you have a message, you scroll down to refresh the page, and it just takes a second toe load. Now they could easily program instantaneous response. A lot of people think it's my WiFi is just slow. That's not true. It's actually designed this way. It's the jackpot effect, and what it's doing is it's taking advantage attention to keep you engaged and actually to keep you addicted and keep you coming back. Now, what types of tension do you recognize? I'd love to hear from you. I'm always trying to find and discover cool and creative ways that people have noticed tension. So please feel free to write me if you find any. 9. 2D HOW TO CREATE TENSION: So how do we develop tension? It's important to understand the different types of tension there are. There are four main types of tension. The 1st 1 I just did, and it's called anticipation, and I actually just lied for this example. There's actually way more than four types of tension, but just for the sake of this argument, I just wanted to do that for the sake of the discussion. Now what did I do? I said, There's four main types. Attention. The 1st 1 is anticipation. I didn't just immediately tell you it's anticipation. I waited. I waited. I let a pause happen after my question or my promise that there are four main types of tension. And what did that do? It gave you space to become engaged. It gave you space to form a question in your mind. What are the four main types of tension? Can I think of what they are? What's he gonna say? Oh God, he's actually going on a long time. He's been silent for more than I've ever seen him. Has he forgotten it? Has he gone crazy? Is it Is he losing it? That's all designed in the tension Now if I just said there's four main types of tension in the first ones anticipation. I've just ruined an opportunity for tension and just inserting the briefest of pauses. And it could be much shorter than the exaggerated one I was doing. For the sake of argument. If you leave, just a brief pause where your audience can say, Oh, what what is types? Attention? What are these gonna be? What's he gonna say? You naturally create engagement and whether or not you want to pay attention, you've now just become part of my presentation because now your head is spinning with what the possibilities might be again. Knock, knock. There's a lot of different ways you can create tension. A plan or a promise is a type of tension. Remember the top of this entire thing. I promised you you'd be better storyteller. By the end of it. That is tension. Any time you can create that, promising your audience, that gives them something to look forward to. I also hope and anticipation. I hope the Rams win the Super Bowl this year. There's a lot of open ended question that's not even the best example, but again when you can create a hope or an expectation in your audience, you've just formed tension again. Don't pay it off right away. Try to withhold it as much as you can. Struggle and obstacles. If I'm gonna run the marathon tomorrow and I break my leg tonight and I decide I'm still gonna run it, that's tension. That's an obstacle. I'm gonna have to work through what will happen any time you can create a question or doubt in your audience. A ticking clock classic form of tension. Look at this ticking clock right here. How much time do I have? Dear God, I need to keep going. If football didn't have 4/4 would you ever watch it? Dear God, the Super Bowl would be so boring if it was un ending. If it was just unlimited quarters time create stakes. It's running against the clock. Finally have 4/4 to score more points than you. That's tension. If I have the rest of my life to do it, then I guess there's tension in like when I'm gonna die and when it's gonna be time for me to retire from football. But there's really no tension in like there is in four limited quarters surprises and redirects Sam trying to go to the airport. I've only got 20 minutes to do it in l a x on a Friday afternoon. First of all, that will never happen. You can't get to l a X if you're standing at l A X in 20 minutes. But just for the sake of this argument, it's 20 minutes. I gotta run to the car and of a sudden I open the door and suddenly my ex girlfriends there and she wants to talk Surprise. She's suddenly there now. Surprises and redirects can be so fun, especially when you know your character is on a mission and suddenly they get pulled in another direction again. That Goodfellas example is really worth checking out. A little link for it. Pacing, pacing is a huge and important part of tension. How fast I'm going in this presentation, I've taken a consideration who my audience might be. People who are probably used to digital consumption rates probably have watched video online may have taken other courses in the past. I'm speaking at a rate at which I think you're going to consume and understand what I'm saying. I'm also trying to live up to my promise and value your time by doing this whole thing in under an hour. If you were a convalescent home and I was trying to teach you better soaring there, I'd probably speak way slower. I'd probably make the text way bigger, and I would probably take a lot more pauses and speak a little louder. Uh, you have to know your audience to understand your pacing, but really you're pacing Con's suddenly literally affect your heart rate. If I'm gonna talk faster, I can physiologically effect and communicate different heart rate into your body because of the energy I'm using. How fast I'm going, how fast I want to take this. You could decide how you want to pace your stories by when you wanna wake the audience up with a jolt or when you want to really let things rest and give them a chance to breathe and really soak it all in. Pacing is critical. Another form of tension music. When you decide to use music is really important, it can create entire atmosphere of really contemplating what was just said. It helps you think about it. It puts an accent on what was just pointed out. Music can be really expertly used. And again check out that Ray Liotta clip from Goodfellas. It's awesome. Music is used so well in that, and just as important is music. His silence, the times in which I decide to stop talking the times in which I decide to ask you a question and then leave it there. That is where tension exists. Silence is really critical to tension, and it's really important when you decide to use it, so use it powerfully. It can be really meaningful. When someone decides not to say something, you can also leave things unanswered. If a character asks another character a question, it doesn't have to be answered. In fact, it might be more interesting if it's not, and it might be more telling about who they are as a person. If they pivot to something else, think about that 10. 2E CASE STUDY: KING OF KONG: talk about a case study of a movie called King of Kong, one of my favorite documentaries of all time. It's an underdog story. Underdog stories. Our attention. It's David vs Goliath. That's why we like underdog stories. And in this scene I'm gonna introduce you to without doing any spoilers. I'm only gonna play scenes from the first act of the movie. It's about the world's greatest Donkey Kong champion, and he's getting challenged by a guy who's never competed in his life. You first get introduced to a character named Billy Mitchell, and he's the villain of the story. He's the greatest Donkey Kong player that's ever lived. And check out how characters described him, says I. So called debuted on the scene at Life magazine in 1982. There hasn't been anybody who's played even close. When Billy Mitchell walks into an arcade, you know, everything stops. There's electricity around Billy Mitchell. Everybody wants to crowd around him. Everybody wants to see him. You know. Everything about him is perfect. You know, Billy is just that person you know he wants to represent. You could hack into the machine and program it to play itself. You couldn't even program it that well. There's a glamour to Billy. There's a specialist ability. He was the first. He was the first great great player. The fact of the matter is, Bill is the best classic arcade gamer of our era. Billy Mitchell primo Joystick Dude Amazing in the Maze E and Gonna Lose Blue Men in the Corridors singing the blues. A perfect game goes down, Billy's on. If I have all this good fortune, if everything's rolling my way, all these balls have bounced in my favor. There's some poor bastard out there who is getting the screws put toe. So who is Billy Mitchell? He is the greatest that's ever played, and I even cut out a ton of this. But he's a guy who was, like, built an empire out of his success of video gaming, where he's started a salsa company. He's got this perfect coughed hair, and he's got this attitude in this confidence in this kind of arrogance, and he's kind of a book. But the main takeaways that Billy Mitchell is a winner, and how did they end that seen this line is critical because it leaves on anticipation in your head. It leaves tension to form, he says. If I've had all this luck, if all these balls have bounced in my favor, there's some poor bastard out there who's really had the screws put to him. Then they queue music. They leave some space for you to ruminate on that idea, and it makes you wonder who could they possibly be introducing. Now pay attention to the very first lines that get introduced when we meet the counterpart , the challenger, Steve, we be, you know, right away who Steve we be is by the very first lines that come out of his mouth. Check it out. Some poor bastard out there who is getting the screws put toe. When I got laid off and I had time on my hands, I was thinking, What can I do to to kind of feel like I have control of something? So I looked at twin Galaxies, just typed in Donkey Kong road record and some spread. She came up and I saw what the score waas It was held by Billy Mitchell. It was like 874,000. Hey, I can beat that. Okay, almost there. I mean, I'm not the kind of like that's needy that I need him sitting on the couch with me every night. I don't need that. What I need is him in the house helping me. Kids are need him being with the kids, so he would want to come out here and flight, and that would drive me crazy because he is definitely o c D. When he is obsessed on something he is so focused on, I have to be, like new. So then I just said, You have to do it. Yeah, it's pretty I dreamed of, you know, being a musician for living. That's what my dream. He was brought up TV that he was smart. He was an athlete. He was talented, and for whatever reason, he could never get those to fit. Steve was one of the original starving grunge bands here in Seattle, just starving. The only people came to see him was us with his music. It's almost like you didn't want people to know he was doing. He's a total paradox that way. He has maybe a little social hang ups here and there that that haven't allowed him to be a successful on one end, as in other ends, I got to the state finals and Dave couldn't pitch. I've probably seen Steve with tears in his eyes, more than any other guy I know because of the frustration that would build them in half the time it was on the pictures. He never has quite reached that pinnacle, and never quite in any of his endeavours was regale Daz, the number one guy, the guy that was better than the rest and was on top of the mountain. Oh, he's just come up short in a lot of things in his leg, and I just think, you know, nobody wants to do that. They've just created Billy Mitchell, who is the biggest winner ever, and now they're going to create Steve Levy, whose never won anything in his life. He's also never competed a Donkey Kong. It's kind of crazy that he would do this, but then they give you reasons to root for him. They give you reasons to hope. They give you bits of tension. They say he's a genius. He plays all these songs on piano. He was a famous athlete that couldn't actually make it past the junior round of college. He's a guy who's cried more times and I've ever seen, and they keep layering on that pout. The possibility that this guy might actually have the tools to do this he might be a savant might be a weirdo, but they also leave doubt and say that he's a guy was never figured it out. He's never gotten it all together and cries all the time has never won anything. This is how they create the basis for an underdog story that is so fun to watch. Notice any story that you find who is going against whom or what are people up against. You'll notice the tension in everything and also want to point out something else. We talked about it earlier. The idea of tension is the opposite. Supposing so. It's the act of being stretched tight. You have to have at least two opposing forces. Remember when I said you can pull at the rubber band in other ways? Think about what Steve with his wife, said. I mean, I'm not the kind of like that's needy, that I need him sitting on the couch with me every night. I don't need that I need is him in the house. Helping kids are need him being with the kids. Steve leaves on a mission, and now this is pulling him in another direction, needing to be a good father. On top of it all, that's another thin layer of subtle tension that they're layering in That makes it even more engaging. It makes you want him to win even more. There's a great scene. I'm not gonna show it here. But Goodfellas. It uses just about every element of tension in the scene where Ray Liotta has to pick up the drugs, get the guns. Also make the pasta in time for tonight, and he thinks he's being chased by the cops the entire time. Check out the CNN, leave a link to it. It is so expertly done and edited. 11. 2F TO RELEASE OR NOT TO RELEASE: okay, It's a time out from the main lesson for a second. And yes, that means I'll talk a little slower. You're welcome. I want to take a moment to just say, Why does tension actually work? Well, the thing that you love intention is you're waiting for the release. That's what it's all about. So the longer you can withhold that again. We're talking all about this in the main lesson. But really, the release is everything you can also choose to not release. You can choose to not ever release the rubber band. If I ask a question and my main character doesn't answer it, we move on to the next scene. That's an open ended thing. That's tension that's not been released, and it might not ever be released. And that's OK. The thing that comes to mind is the end of inception. You'll notice that not this is spoiling anything that that top just keeps spinning. And if you haven't actually seen inception, don't worry. That really doesn't spoil anything. It's probably just confusing the god of you. So yes, spinning top. But that's an idea of never ending tension, and that's okay. Think about where you plant information, and when you pay it off, there should be rubber bands throughout your entire script writing process. If you're writing a script or if you're writing a novel or something dramatic, you should be understanding when and how you're going to pay off your tension, or will you or you will you just keep elongating the tension? One thing Alfred Hitchcock was so good at was he prolonged his releases with humor, and that was something that was really unique to him at the time was the idea that you could be so scared for someone in the middle of a scene? But then something funny happens like it makes me think about the beginning of the movie Sabotage that he did in 1936 where there is a kid who has something. He has to deliveries, delivering some film canisters, and he's on a bus. He doesn't realize the film canisters actually have a bomb inside of them, but 1 45 the bomb is going to go off, and they've made this very clear. But while this kid is sitting on this bus totally oblivious to the fact that he's carrying a bomb, a little dog starts biting him and he starts playing with the dog, and it's It's adorable scene, but there's a bomb in next to him, and it makes it even scarier. It makes this rubber band pull even tighter and tighter and tighter. It's just making it about a polar opposite from blowing up, which is about to happen. If he doesn't pay attention that you could get Teoh, it's playing with a puppy. So again, thes release points is really where tension is interesting. It's when you want to know something you want to know. When will this snap? What will happen to my hand when it does? What's gonna happen in general? What will I use for a visual aid when this breaks and speaking about never releasing the movie Dunkirk. I don't know if people have seen it. I think it's the most underrated movie that's come out in a while. It's brilliant, and the reason why I think it's brilliant is because of something tense about it. There's actually something that Christopher Nolan designed around Dunkirk that I think is so brilliant it makes me love the movie even more so. Dunkirk is notorious for being very, very tense, and I'm not gonna spoil anything about the story for those who haven't seen it. But it uses something called the Shepard tone and the Shepard tone is this crescendoing audio. I'm gonna play it right now. It just keeps getting higher and higher and higher and higher, and the octaves keep going up and up and up. But it never resolves and never tips over. It just keeps rising with the singularity on and as a background. Dunkirk has this going on throughout the movie theater. Theo, for Nolan said he designed the entire movie and wrote the movie just according to the idea of a Shepard tone. The idea of a never ending, unresolved pitch that keeps going louder and louder letter and what that is is never release it. It's just wound up tension and Dunkirk. You may not be in the mood for that much anxiety, but it's so brilliantly done. Watch that the next time we're doing it and think about the release 12. 2G TENSION IN PRESENTING: tension in presenting. If you're trying to pitch an idea or sell it or just present to your board. Or maybe you're even having to give an interview or a presentation, you have to start by knowing your audience. Who are they? Where are they consuming this? Are they sitting in a theater seat? Are they unable to go anywhere? You might have a little more time to communicate with them. Are they sitting on the bathroom scrolling through your feed to find your story buried in an echo chamber of other feeds? Well, then you're gonna need to start really fast. You've gotta know your audience, knowing your audience. You also have to know your media. If you're making something that's going to be featured on YouTube, for instance, that's gonna be a very different story than you might tell if it was on instagram or in a theater, playing for a festival crowd, really knowing your audience and also the consumption habits of the medium, you're telling what people are used to. You don't want to make an eight hour film that people have to sit through in a theater that would be so painful for people to sit through. You could make a 90 minute film. You might even be able to make a two hour film 2.5, maybe depending on how good that is again. By not dissatisfying your audience in other ways, that's the secret. So as long as it's engaging making as long as it needs to be so a lot of times and presentations, people talk about the idea. Tell me what you're gonna tell me. Tell me and tell me what you told me. That's an old adage of presentations, and I actually really believe in it. But the art is in how and what you really reveal. So again, tell me what you're gonna tell me is really Start with why it's your thesis. But don't tell me everything. Don't tell me the punch line. Don't tell me. Don't give it all away. But tell me kind of what you're gonna tell me. I'm gonna tell you a story about an embarrassing thing that happened to me. Great. Then you're gonna tell me you're gonna tell me that embarrassing story and then at the end , you're going to wrap it up and tell me what you just told me within context. So you're gonna say, and that's why it was the most embarrassing it's ever happened to me. And I'm someone who has done some pretty embarrassing through my life, and you're gonna really wrap it up. And that's gonna make a complete three act story again. When you're presenting, you want to tell them you're gonna tell them. Tell them and then tell them what you told them. This keeps people engaged, keeps them something to look forward to, and it makes them feel complete at the end. You want to make people feel when you create tension, you connect me to you, you control the show. When you're doing a presentation like I'm doing right now, I'm walking you through the exact rate at which I want you to see a presentation. One of the biggest pet peeves I have is people who make a presentation, and they just leave all the words up in PowerPoint. They just do this. This is the worst thing you can do. This is the quickest way to tune your audience out if you're giving a presentation. So if you're giving a presentation, don't give away all your words, right away. Your audience will try to jump ahead of you to try to read it ahead of you. They'll try to get out of there fast. They get on their lunch break very quickly. What you want to do is you want to lay it out exactly at the pace and speed at which you want them to understand. It will also let the concepts land so much more. You'll keep control, will keep engagement and keep focused on what you're wanting them to again. Don't just blurt it all out. Lay things out, give them things to look forward to. Even the empty space of a presentation can be tense. It's like Do what they can do or they're gonna fill in the rest of this It looks like Oh, sure enough they are. I got to find out what's going to show up at the bottom there. Waas. Make them feel control the show. Leave no escape routes. Some of the worst things you can do, especially in digital, is by leaving an escape route, where it gives the audience time to tune out. Maybe you've gone on a tangent or you've led a shot. Take too long or you let a long take go on far too long more than it should. And now your audience is disengaged. They don't want to pay attention to it anymore. These are called escape routes, and in digital they happen all the time for just about anything. And you can tell in the metrics, when your audience tuned out, it's like, Oh, well, the 12 seconds and we went to the mom's story instead of his story or instead of her story use, decided to go on a tangent. And now your audience. Ding, do you buy tuning out? Keep your engagement, no escape routes. 13. 2H INTERVIEWING: I've hired a lot of people in my career, and I found a common element in people who apply for jobs. So many people don't tell stories in their interviews, which baffles me. So the job description might say something in a bunch of things. And in there it says, we need someone with perseverance. And yet I got a bunch of other qualities and that perseverance, things someone will latch onto that in an interview will be sitting across from someone and they'll say, I'm a person who loves to persevere. I love to go above and beyond, and they're giving me a bunch of buzzwords that, like, basically were taken out of the description. It makes no impression on me whatsoever except to show me that you're either uncreative or don't know who you are. Now imagine if that person, instead of just saying the buzzwords to me and telling me there's someone who perseveres, actually went into a story. If they actually said, well, this last job I had, it was a crazy experience. I was working for this election and I had to make these posters that had to be done by 6 a.m. And I realize I need their 48 inch plotter, and I didn't even know what a plotter was. And then I realized you can't print posters unless you have a plotter. So I was trying to find the only left plotter in all of Los Angeles, ended up trying to go to war D. And I found this dude who had won. But my car broke down. And so then what did I do? I had to get uber get to his house is 2 a.m. We printed out posters and I over back to the office at 5:55 a.m. In time to deliver these posters. Now that might be a ridiculous example, but it's something that totally applies. It's like, Wow, you're someone who likes to persevere. You just showed me rather than told me, and you told me this story and this story. I now remember you forever. Story telling can be really powerful, and it's a tool that should be used all the time. If you're trying to make a connection, like in an interview, where you have very minimal time with someone who's very used to seeing candidates were very qualified, you need to make an impact on them. The more you can tell a story about who you are, that illustrates something that is applicable to the job you're applying for. Wow, that's powerful. And it really sticks with you. Remember that the next time you go in for an interview. 14. 2I TENSION IN CHARACTERS AND SETTING: tension and character and setting. Great characters are obviously excellent, but if they don't have tension inherently built into who they are, you might have a really boring story. Think about a fancy buzzword. People like Talk about complex characters. Walter White is a complex, fascinating character because he's a high school science teacher. Ah, father and a drug kingpin. That's tension. Those things don't usually coexist. How is that gonna all unfold? Conflict is another buzzword of storytelling, and it's great. Conflict is awesome, but it can often be misconstrued to be taken literally like Oh, I need a battle scene. I need a confrontation and to blow up or a set piece or whatever can just create a huge splash. Attention Council. Barely subtle. It can be the desire to want that piece of cake in the middle of that meeting, and that's what consumes you. But you have to pay attention to the spreadsheets and the job reports. You really want to manufacture tension as easily and suddenly as you can. What tension does is it creates active characters. Now they need to make decisions. Really, you're setting up scenarios in which your character has to make a choice. Those are the best types of stories. So many poor screenplays are written with things happening around characters. But if your character actually gets put into a situation where they have a choice of at least one or two things, that's tension. So I go to the ball game with my buddies, or do I celebrate my anniversary like I was supposed to? These questions put onto your characters are going to make richer characters and stories that people want to watch. You don't want passive characters, you want active characters, and what active characters do is they leave us wanting to know how they're going to react to a certain decision. That's where magic happens in your characters. Tension can be in your setting as well, if it's important where your story is set and it's important that your story is set in a place that has tension. Fargo has tension. It's freezing there, and this comes to play throughout the story. How cold it is. There comes into play with every murder that happens that setting in rear window works in the same way Jimmy Stewart is confined to a wheelchair stuck inside of his apartment with a camera, and what did you find? He finds that someone may have just committed a murder. This is where the story happens, and it's based on the setting, and it's so contained. It also ratchets up the stakes and the tension throughout the story when he's contained in his apartment with a broken leg. 15. 2J LUBITSCH TOUCH: There's an amazing lesson from one of my favorite storytellers, Billy Wilder, and it's only three minutes long. It's really worth watching a link to it at the end, but it's about something called the Lubitsch Touch, which is essentially tension that the audience knows. But the characters don't necessarily. It's a really subtle form of tension that's brilliant, and it also leaves Ah, lot to the imagination. It doesn't just show you everything a lot of tension that happens in Lubitsch. Touch it happens, implied. Or it happens behind a closed door. Watch this clip at the end of this. It's really worth watching. There's other forms of that, like in Shaun of the Dead. When Sean is the only character seemingly in the world who doesn't know that there's John, the apocalypse happening and he's even slipping in blood. But he's completely preoccupied with his own life, and he's tired, hungover. But yet jobs were walking around all around him. That's tension. It's like, when is he going to wake up and realize that his life is actually in danger? Check these out. I'm gonna link these in this chapter as well, and it's going to be really worth your time to check those out 16. 2K BONUS HOW DO I START : Okay, so bonus lesson time. You guys were all about to benefit from one reviewer. Paul from Germany left a five star review and left this great comment. We're gonna go a little bit more into this idea of How do I start? I'm taking a moment out of the timer to talk about this story for just a second about how to start. So how to start is really important, Especially when you're on a deadline. Deadlines can up the pressure of trying to come up with a creative idea. I'm gonna talk for a moment about a personal story. I have to just set this up very quickly, which is this idea that in Los Angeles there's a radio station. It's called KCRW. It's an incredible radio station. People tuned into it from all over the world and highly recommend it. One of the best things about Los Angeles and one great thing that they do is every September they do something called the 24 hour radio race. They have competitors from all over the world submit to the hundreds of people submit to this, and on Saturday at noon they give you a topic, and on Sunday at noon. You have to deliver a up to four minute podcast on that topic. Sounds pretty simple. People stay up all night going all over town recording these wild stories that just happened on the fly and you have to deliver it. No matter how good or bad it is. You got to deliver it by noon the next day or you're disqualified. So the topic that year 2018 my first podcast I've ever made I've never made a podcast in my life. Up to this point, the topic is the new normal, the new normal. I have toe make this in 24 hours and I got to do entirely solo. I'm on a tight deadline. Pressure is on. What do I do again? I take a breath and I say, How do I make a question form in my audiences mind? That's the first question. So I got this topic and I immediately thought, There's a There's a world in which I think coming apply to this. I don't know if the story is yet, but it's this concept and I'm in a border for just a second with the idea of it and the concept is something called the Sandwich Generation. So what that's doing is it's making aging parents. Our parents are now becoming older to us than they were 25 years ago. So my dad is older than most of my friend's dads. He unfortunately, also has Alzheimers. There's a 1,000,000 ways you can start this story. You can talk about the sandwich generation. You could talk about Alzheimer's. I don't like those ideas because I think that's immediately off putting. I don't think anyone willingly wants to hear a story about Alzheimer's. It's a really depressing subject, and for anyone out there who's dealing with any sort of dementia related disabilities, I'm so sorry. I know what it's like and my heart goes out to you guys. I also think immediately trying to educate your audience about the sandwich generation is really preachy and probably boring. So you have to do something. What's called putting the medicine in the pudding. You have to get someone interested in the story. They may not be on board for initially, but you have to put the medicine in the pudding. So again, back to the premise you're sitting in front of a blank page. You got 24 hours to come up with a podcast. What do you do? Start with a question. How do you get a question to form in the audience's mind as fast as possible? And again, it's a four minute podcast, so it's It's something that you have to really go quickly into. You don't get a lot of time to really lullaby your way into a story or make it really abstract or cinematic. You have to start. People want to listen to this, and they need to stay engaged quickly. So how do you get a question to form in the audience's mind? I'm not gonna play the entire podcast here. I'm gonna leave a link for it in your workbooks. You can listen to it on your own. It's only four minutes. You also don't have to listen to it in this lesson. I'm just gonna play the beginning. That's all I want to talk about. How do you start something? So as I got started and thinking about how to make a question form in the audience's mind, this is the 1st 30 seconds of that podcast doing. I have come over to my dad's house today in West L. A. With one mission. I need him to record a song on the piano. So what? Your thoughts on today and not just any song? Um, this is the song that's going to be my first dance at my wedding. The weddings in February in Mexico and my dad won't be able to come. So the plan is to video record him playing the song and have it projected on a screen during my fiance, Christina's in my first dance as newlyweds. My dad hasn't been on a plane in over eight years, ever since we found out he was displaying signs of Alzheimer's. His memory's been slipping ever since, and as of late he's been having a particularly hard time tracking with new thoughts the time or what incomes around in February, it's very likely that my dad will have lost most of not all of his coherence. So today I'm here to try to preserve what might be the best chance I have at attribute before it's too late. So what's the very first line of this thing? I've come over to my dad's on a mission immediately. There's an intention it's in the very first sentence, and that intention is designed to create a question in your head. What's the question? What's the mission? My next sentence. I need to keep creating tension. And again, where's my little rubber band? Here is? I'm stretching it. I need him. I need him to record a song on the piano. OK, I've now kind of released it in one way, I've answered the question he needs to record a song. Okay, what's the song? And I follow up with this idea because I just paid off attention, Essentially just released it. I told you the answer, but I tell you right away, not just any song right away. You're like, OK, there's something important and special about this song. I'm interested. Maybe so. I then have another sentence to try to keep this rubber band going, but instead of I actually released it by saying This is the song that's going to be my first dance at my wedding. It's the song that's gonna be my first dance at my wedding. So on one hand you could say I definitely released it. I I told you what my mission is, I told you. I'm recording a song. It's a song that's going to my dancing, my wedding. Maybe you're uninterested now because I've released that tension. But I'm hoping that a question sticks in your mind. Why isn't your dad gonna be at your wedding? Is the question I'm hoping forms in my audiences mind Why does need to record this on What's What's the point of all this thing? That's when it really opens the door to talk about the fact my dad can't travel anymore because unfortunately, he has Alzheimers. So I think I end up getting to that point around 45 seconds for minute in. And that's how I get into the story that's really about ageing and in Alzheimer's and sandwich generation. So that's how I got into it. I didn't start by saying this is an Alzheimer story. I didn't start by saying like what you should know about the sandwich generation and try to preach it. People know I want to tell a personal story that leaves me vulnerable, and I wanted to make it something that has tension designed into it, so that before you know it, you're listening to how this outcome is going to go, and while you're at it, you're gonna get a little bit of a lesson about the sandwich generation again. This podcast is not perfect by any stretch. But it's how I designed this in 24 hours on a deadline and had to create something from start to finish and that fast. And so every time you're sitting down at the page or trying to come up with a story, or when you're trying to think about, how do I make this thing again? Just thinking about how to start. How do you make a question form in the audience's mind? How do you get them thinking for themselves as quickly as you can, and you'll start to find that the words Dysart to come more easily. Anyway, I don't know who this helped, but I hope it was helpful to hear a personal story. Let's get back to the main lesson 17. 3A YOUR MOST IMPORTANT ASSET...: this'll. Last lesson is one of most fundamental of the three lessons and storytelling, and it came by way of an old boss I used to have. His name is Brad Simpson. He's an Emmy winning producer, and he's brilliant. One of the best pieces of advice he ever told me is that your taste is the most important asset. You have to think about that again. Your taste is the most important asset you have, especially if you're working in a creative medium. You need to have taste and your taste is demonstrated all the time it's demonstrated and the work that you pass along to another. It demonstrated in the movies that you recommend to someone else the music you recommended someone else. Now it doesn't matter what your taste is. It literally doesn't If you're in a Scandinavian horror or you're in the British sink. Documentary and realism, it doesn't matter. What matters is your ability to justify why it matters to you. People that don't have taste. Unfortunately, I'm probably never going to learn these lessons. You've got to start with a solid foundation of what you like, what's meaningful to you, and it's actually kind of a liberating thought. It's not about your ability, Redway. Your ability will evolve and develop and improve over time. But your taste, which will also do the same, is really where your foundation starts. I don't want to waste ability on someone who has no taste. Taste has to be there, and it has to be something that you strive to improve all the time. So whether you're writing or directing, you can still have excellent taste. It doesn't matter, but no the landscape. And even if you like that Scandinavian horror film, maybe learn about Japanese horror as well, and the differences between them and why you don't necessarily like Japanese horror film. But you, like Scandinavian, really understand why. Okay, practice. What's one movie you love that everyone hates? You don't want to use a movie. You can use a book or work of art or artist. Anything really pick something in the genre that you're interested in. Point is about one thing you love, that you might be an outlier with, If your stump you could reverse it. What's one movie you hate that everyone loves? And if you can't think of anything, perhaps you're not thinking critically enough about the things you're consuming or you simply like everything that you read, see and hear, in which case you're definitely not thinking critically enough because there's a whole lot of out there. I love this question so much for a lot of reasons, and it has a lot to say about taste. 18. 3B REFLECTION ON TASTE TEST: name one movie that you love that everyone hates. I got this question posed to me years ago in a job interview. What a great question. And it didn't matter what I said. It didn't matter what the movie was that I loved that everyone seems to hate. But what it really made me do is force me to tell him why. When I explain why I like something that someone didn't fundamentally causes me to have to explain what makes people happy or sad about something thistles, a really revealing question. And it really shows exactly what you know about your landscape for your industry. And it's a really good way to test how you can justify your own taste. Sitting in the interview chair and immediately, the movie that came to mind and still does is the movie The Fall by the brilliant tar. Sensing. The movie is incredible, and I also know it's not good. It's just not a good movie. I'm so sorry, but it's just not well written. Well acted. It's not even particularly well plotted out, but still Tarsem has this vision, and it's a vision that I don't think I've seen it. Anyone It's these images and they could hang on your wall there. So beautiful, that's part of it. It's also the back story of how this movie was created. I won't bore you with that now, but you should Google that it's really fascinating. Hey, took like 26 years to make this movie or something like that and however many years to discover the little girl. Anyway, The thing that grabbed me about this movie was the 1st 2 minutes. So many frames have reaction or effort or struggle those air, all tension. You have this look, What is this? Look, you have this people looking and fighting. You have someone yelling off screen. You don't know what's happening off screen, and it's just like it's chaos That's beautiful. And it's like what is happening? What's going on and then, like, what are they all doing? And they're hoisting and they're all working for something. They're working against gravity, and at the end it's just this horse that comes out of the water and it's incredible. It's like, What is this? It doesn't explain it. It's just still leaving you with questions. But when you end up learning, there's a stunt man and that he's been injured. It comes to you and you're like, Oh, my God, that's actually brilliant. Everything reveals your taste, the style, the syntax, the pace that you're using, the clothes you wear on the day of your presentation, the thought that you use in your presentation. Now just a side note. If you're ever using that calibri font that comes standard on Microsoft office, just kill it immediately. Never, ever use the default font and m s where that shows me You're busy and it shows me you may not have wanted to present. It's something that actually showed your style over your taste. So just because you asked a question beginning of your presentation and it created a big question in your audiences mind, it doesn't mean that was a good question. Not all questions are created equally, and not all questions apply to the audience you're speaking to. You have to be able to understand your audience again, but more so you have to have taste. That question has to be meaningful to the people you're talking to, or you have to make away very quickly where you suddenly make it 19. 3C INCREASING AUTHENTICITY: Okay, so now the next listen and taste. I want to talk about something that's really important, and especially in digital storytelling. If you're making something on social media or on YouTube or something or, you know Instagram, you really need authenticity. Great. What is authenticity? Authenticity is being yourself, and it's talking like a real person talks. It's saying the F word like I just said completely spontaneously five seconds ago because I cuss a lot. That's kind of what I dio. So if I'm offending you, I'm sorry, but point remains. You have to be authentic, and not that swearing makes you super real or anything. But I think the more you could be authentic. And if you're making something socially or digitally, uh, you really want to showcase who you are, the more you could be genuine and be a real human and really let yourself go. You don't have to, but that's a lot of the ways that people find people are more authentic. So one big tip about authenticity is vulnerability, being able to talk and share about things that you maybe don't want to. And in fact, when you're looking for stories to tell the ones you should be telling are the ones you're terrified. One thing I think it's helpful is to think about things that I would never want anyone to know about. Maybe it's just a journal entry. Or maybe it's a you know, a short story. And maybe I put a different character as my character. That's all fine. I think we're all sort of in everything that we write and that everything that we create. But how can you be vulnerable? How can you showcase something about yourself and let your guard down? If you have not seen Bernet Brown's incredible Ted talk, it's only 20 minutes long. It might change your life. It's incredible. I'll leave a link for it in your workbook. But really burn. A Brown is incredible because she really has shined a light on this idea of vulnerability and what makes us vulnerable. But I want to talk about what I've learned. There's two things that I've learned in the last year. The first is vulnerability is not weakness, and that myth is profoundly dangerous, and I have come to the belief this is my 12th year doing this research. That vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage to be vulnerable to let ourselves be seen. To be honest, the more we can share those things openly, more vulnerable will become, and, I think vulnerabilities a muscle. I think the more you exercise it even little by little by little sharing yourself, sharing your real feelings, sharing who you are, maybe even talking about things that make you uncomfortable because those things we gotta talk about most honestly. So those are things that I find make the best stories, especially things that are really, really embarrassing. I had a thing happened in the last year s o the 24 hour radio raise happened, and I did earlier in the lesson. I talked about that. I did it again last year, and the topic was where the sun don't shine now in the U. S. It's a pretty common saying it usually means up your ass Everyone in everyone around the world. I don't know if that saying means anything to you, but it basically just means shove it up your ass. And so the story had to be something with that theme where the sun don't shine. I immediately unfortunately had this unfortunate yet to do a story about, uh, I'm not. I'm going to say here, I'm gonna make you look for it. I'll put a link for it, but it was something along those themes that I would never have thought I'd ever talk about in a story in my life. I never want anyone to know about it, but it happened to be the perfect and really only thing I could talk about. And I'm really proud of the bees. It's four minutes was created in 24 hours, but I think it was fun to do. And actually it was pretty cathartic as well. And I think that people find that about vulnerability, that once you start pouring shirt flowing out, get it out of you and it's out of you. You don't be afraid of it anymore. And you realize that fear is a complete illusion that we succumb to, and you can actually to start creating openly, honestly from the heart without any fear. And that's what I hope for everyone. And that's really what taste is in a nutshell. 20. 3D COURSE RECAP: Whoa, That was a fast course. We just made it. I'm sweating and I think we might have just snuck in under our time of what I promise. And a recap again to tell you what I told you, you're gonna start with why, in all your stories you need to understand your audience is really busy. You need to get to the point very quickly with giving them context at least to start with why they're gonna listen to you. And you can change that. Why? Throughout the story, you can pivot, but give them a Y to start so they don't just scratch their heads saying why you are watching this? Give them the why start that way you learn that the more attention you could manufacture of your story, the higher your engagement will be. And tension is really just creating a question, hope and expectation or a doubt in your audience. Leave them excited toe learn more. And at the end we talked about taste and why taste is critical. All of the lessons in the world on storytelling it mean nothing. If you don't have taste so really understand, hone your taste by questioning. Why and everything that you watch and really be responsive to your own emotion, of how you're reacting to something and use storytelling any time you need to make a connection and a connection quickly. Anyway, I hope to hear from you, and I hope you found value in the Siri's. If you like this, I really appreciate a rating. It helps me a lot, and I'll end on just a question for you. What's your story? Thank you so much for watching storytelling additional age.