Break Through The Noise: Exercises to Help You Share Your Personal Brand Effectively | Esteban Gast | Skillshare

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Break Through The Noise: Exercises to Help You Share Your Personal Brand Effectively

teacher avatar Esteban Gast, Writer, Host, and Speaker

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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

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Hero Journey


    • 4.



    • 5.

      Story Simplifying


    • 6.

      You Did It!


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About This Class

Do people sometimes get confused what you do for work? Are you having a hard time articulating your new project? Are you fundraising and can’t fight the right words or frame to stand out? Have no fear, this class is here.

If you want to communicate who you are and what you do in an effective, entertaining, and memorable way this class is for you. In this class, you’ll join comedian, writer, and producer Esteban Gast on a journey to think differently about how you communicate. 

The challenges in this class are tangible paradigm-shifting activities. The goal of the class is simple: help you communicate exactly what you do to the world. You will leave the class with actionable tools and activities and be inspired to have clearer marketing, conversations, and maybe even update your website.

This class will tackle topics such as:

  1. Hero’s Journey - and how most people think of it the wrong way
  2. User Centered Storytelling - and how to think of your audience first
  3. Effective templates - to see what others do right and wrong
  4. Uncovering Authentic Originality in your storytelling
  5. Creative self-reflection activity
  6. Building unique creative systems for yourself moving forward

Who is this class for? This class will be helpful for all types of creatives and entrepreneurs. If you’re someone who has a something to share with this world - this class is for you.

Meet Your Teacher

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Esteban Gast

Writer, Host, and Speaker

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Esteban Gast is an entertainer, educator, and entrepreneur.

He is Colombian, was raised in Puerto Rico and Illinois and currently lives in LA. He taught creativity and design thinking at the college level and co-authored a book on creativity while living in Central Illinois. Afterward, he worked as president of a sustainability-focused Institute in Panama. He was founding COO of Scriptd, a script database and story platform that elevates underrepresented creators. Most recently, he was the star of the TV show Jungletown, airing on VICELAND. He's been profiled in WBEZ talking about using his liberal arts degree to teach engineers how to be creative. He was co-writer of a feature film executive produced by Emmy nominated Kari Skolgand and 13 Reasons Why writer Nic Scheff that you ... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hey everyone. My name is Usman Gas. Welcome to break through the noise. How to tell your story. Here is my goal for this class. It is for you to better to tell your story. It's in the title, but here's what it means that if you are an artist, if you're an entrepreneur, if you're in marketing, if you are anyone who's engaging with the world and you want the world to understand what you do, this class is for you. It's going to be quick, okay? That's what I promise. It's going to be effective and it's going to be really hands on. You can even check out the templates below. You can see the way that we're thinking about this. We're talking about a hero's journey. We're talking about curiosity. We're talking about epiphanies and change. And we're talking about that relates to you, the way that you talk about yourself, either in a bio sense, like your biography, the way you think about your website, the way you think about fund raising, the way you think about sharing your next album, anything like that. I think this class will be relevant here is our goal in the class is these paradigm shifts, okay? That means that we're thinking about it this way and now we're going to be thinking about it this way. We're going to be doing that. It'll be a lot of fun. It'll be high energy. I'm standing, I'm going to be standing the whole time. Okay, so this is not a sleepy class, we're going to get through it. I hope you like it, I hope it's helpful, and genuinely hope it's helpful. Okay, let's do it. And if you're like, that's fun. Who are you? Great question. I am sort of from three worlds. Okay. I'm going to tell you from the world of education, I was a teacher. I even taught creativity at the college level. And I wrote a book on creativity. It's kind of fun. And then I went to Hollywood Baby, here, I've been making, helping make some movies, some TV shows and documentaries, things like that. Really versed in this storytelling, right? So a lot of what discuss will be from here. This is Hollywood and applying storytelling principles, I'll swear. And then I am also entrepreneur. A few years ago I had this business is venture funded. So we got money from really cool people like the New York most venture. And I did that for a while. And then I went back to Hollywood, teaching then Hollywood, then entrepreneurship, then back to Hollywood. Oh my gosh, it's perfect. So this course encompasses a lot of my experience. I will try to share my experience from that, but more importantly is that I hope it's relevant to you. So I will just share examples and then be like, what is your version of that? So that's who I am though. I'm happy you're here. I hope you take the course. And by taking the course, I mean continue to take the course. Don't leave, and I hope you have a good time. 2. Overview: Hey, let's go over what this class looks like and a little bit of the project overview. And then we will jump right into it. Okay, who is this class for? Our hope is that we use storytelling so people, others can better understand you. Your career, the products, the businesses that you are marketing, all that good stuff. Okay, So we're defining effective storytelling as other people. The general public can articulate what you do and what makes you different. Okay? That is it. There's a lot of ways to think about storytelling. Can it evokes emotion, things like that? Just for this class, we're going to really keep it very simple and keep it frankly a little like business of just saying, hey, can someone tell you who you are, what you do, and what makes you different? Okay, so that's the way we're going to think about it. The way we're going to do that is my favorite definition of learning is learning is practice plus feedback. What I'm going to do is I'm going to share a prompt, an idea. There's going to be some templates that you can actually, that you will have access to. What we're going to do is we're going to go through them, we're going to discuss them in this video. And then the hope is that you actually take the time to fill them out. I want this less to be like, hey, here's a lecture things, but rather me sharing an idea and then you actually pausing, perhaps going down to the resources and going through and practicing it. Learning is practice and feedback. The way that we can give feedback again is I hope that the comments and the discussion tabs is like the friendliest place on the Internet where we can all comment on each other's templates and stories in the way that we think about things. It's like we actually build this meaningful community. I encourage you to both show your work in the way that you show your template and the things that we're doing in terms of our cost product. Also, I encourage you to give feedback about being helpful and specific feedback to other people who've taken course. Cool. So that would be a wonderful expectation. Lastly, talking about the class project, there is a tell your story template that I've built that is built around this class that everyone will be shared with and it will be below you can find that. That will be the big class project. We'll be looking at the way that others and that you tell your story, right? Again, fitting this template, just this specific version of story time. That's it, let's get to it. Okay, three sentence and then now take one sentence and then from there we're going to do a two word bio. Right? So I told you at the beginning, I even told you a little bit of who I am. My two word bio might be educator and entertainer, right? So I'm cutting out entrepreneur like I'm just telling, trying to symp, educator and entertainer. And then one word bio educator. Okay, we're going to do a quick activity. Okay, like I said in the other videos, I'm basically going to share the activity. And then my hope is that you like literally pause and do it or you send the templates before. Okay, So this is going to be a short video because I'm just going to explain the activity and then I hope you do it. This activity is all about simplifying, okay? It is simplifying. Simplifying, simplifying. So here's what we're going to do, okay? We're going to simplify. I'm going to encourage you to write, take some time and write a three sentence, three sentence biography of who you are and what you do. Try to keep that to three sentences. Try to communicate ideas, whatever. I'm an educator. Okay, so we're going three sentence bio one sentence bio, two words. Two or three words, and then one word, right? And that one word obviously symbolizes so much that one word can be a lot. Here's another way to look at it. A different activity is what is a metaphor for the job that you do. Okay, again, I'll explain this and then I'll sort of walk through it myself. But my hope is that you take some time to think about this, right? So what is a metaphor for the job that you do? That would be, I would encourage you to think about an object, or an animal, or something that is not tangible, totally not related to the job that you do, right? So I might say printing press, there's a lot of and I can help make that reach the masses. Right? You can say, oh, I am coffee. I give people energy and I get them excited, I get them awake, I get them ready for the day, right? You can even say, you can say something like, oh, I'm a musical instrument. I make you feel emotions, right? I sit down and it looks technical. And it is technical, but it sounds pretty and artistic. And you don't see the math of the piano playing. You just hear sadness, right? You hear joy, You hear happiness, right? Maybe if you're an advertising or something like that, you like there's a lot going on. But what you see is just emotion, right? So the challenge would be, what is a metaphor for a symbol of the job that you have or the business doing, right? Then here's a prompt that I have used a bunch and I think people really like, I really like, I genuinely do this all the time. If you write a fake news article about yourself, you can be like, it can be a profile on you. It can be a future project that you're working on. But the hope is if you think of it a little bit like a journalist and you see how profiles are written on other people. How would a journalist describe you in this newspaper article, even if you have had newspaper articles written about you? I would write the one that you hope to write. My lovely partner, Misha, She made this podcast, I'm telling my aunt shot up. And she wrote that she wanted it to be quietly revolutionary. Like revolutionary. And then what ended up happening is that she genuinely wrote this article and thought about this and was like, oh, that's the best way to describe this and they got rid of about in The New York Times and they said a version so close to quietly revolutionary, they're like, this is hypnotic listening. It's like revolutionary without even realizing things like that, right? So the way that we describe projects and ourselves to ourself, especially if we take the work to literally do that, I think really big real world ramifications. Okay, so those are three really quick activities and now let's talk storytelling in the next video. 3. Hero Journey: Hey, video four. We're talking about storytelling. My favorite storytelling principle, or the one that is used the most that we're going to talk about today is the hero's journey. You might be familiar with the hero's journey, but just stick with me on the way that we're going to think about it and the way that you and this class is totally centered in the hero's journey. Okay, if you're not familiar with the hero's journey, Joseph Campbell came up with the hero's journey. And here we have the hero who has a call to adventure, who often gets supernatural aid. Who crosses the threshold. In the threshold, he has helpers, has a mentor. Mentors really big. Goes through these challenges and temptations, right? The helpers there goes through this abyss, this death and rebirth. There's transformation, there is atonement. And then we returns to the known world, right? So you start in the known world and you go to the Unknown world. This is one of the frameworks for storytelling, hero's journey and the way to think about this, okay, this is big, that you either as an artist, as an entrepreneur, as someone in marketing or anything like that, you are not the hero. This is huge. Okay, you are not the hero. You are the guide, you are the person helping, but you are the guide that the hero meets on their journey. Let me explain that a little bit, okay, you like help the hero do hero things by what you are doing. Your offering to the world encourages the heroes to do hero things. Right? And I think that's a huge shift in the way that we think about stories. You are not the hero when we're talking about what you do or the businesses or anything like that, right? And I think those are the people that make it amazing. Bruce Springsteen is not sing up there saying, you know everyone. Look at how awesome I am. Bruce Springsteen is playing songs for the Forgotten Man, right? Bruce Springsteen is like, I help you play music so you can live a more authentic life, right? I hope that you're doing great. Listen to Born To Run. Oh, you're gonna keep doing great in your beautiful American life, right? That's Bruce Springsteen, and if you think about that, from artists to Apple, Apple is like you're an amazing creative, here's just our little Mac book. But keep doing amazing creative work. So that shift is that we are the guides. So here's what we need to clarify, and this is the most important video. Yeah, I'll say it, the most important video in this class. You need to clarify. What is your customer? What is your listener? What is your fan? What are they on a quest for? And then what are you offering them there? Right? Olivia Rodrigo sings songs for young women, largely young women, to like process anger and betrayal and break ups. She's helping them like process emotion and get through the break up, right? Her audience, her fans are on this quest, fight back about being a young woman in today's society, right? And when she does, she is a guide by offering words and some of the specifics and dancing and a community of people who feel similar. So this is how I would think about this. I thought this is the template. Okay, you help hero, that's the audience, That's the fans, those are your followers, those are your listeners. Do hero things with your support, your secret sauce, so they can achieve their hero goals. So I sometimes work with nonprofits and I really like climate nonprofits, right? So I've done some work with them because I like the environment, I like Earth. So here's the way I would frame it, instead of me being like, hey, you should work with me Because I'm amazed. I've gone through this hero's quest. I came nothing. Here's my personal story, here's why it matters, right? All of that, I push away and I go. You are doing amazing work at the environmental nonprofit you're doing, right? You are a hero doing hero things. I love the work you're doing. With my help of comedy and entertainment and these things, what we can do is you can make an even bigger impact, right? So all of a sudden it's not concerned about me and it's like, what are you doing? I'm here and I'm supporting the thing that you're doing. I help people do blank. I'm supporting heroes doing hero things with my secret sauce. So they can just keep doing amazing hero things. The biggest paradigm shift that we're going to think about the rest of the class and everything, and that's how I want us to think about everything, is we're using hero's journey. And sometimes people do that and they make these commercials or they do stories for their known world to Unknown world. But what matters is the people that we are speaking to. So take some time and fill in the hero statements in the template in the worksheet attached. So fill that out and be like, okay, great, what does it mean I'm going through the hero's journey. I'm recognizing and thinking through the hero's journey that my audience, my listener, my fans are going through and I'm there. I'm merely a mentor to help them in their amazing life. 4. Epiphany: Okay, video five. We're talking about epiphany moments. I know I just told you that you are not the hero, but if you are going to talk about your life as you should, I bet your life is fascinating. There is one way to do it that encompasses all the principles of storytelling, and that is the epiphany moment. Okay, So in storytelling, stories are basically conflict. All stories need conflict and change. So this thought that conflict and change are necessary in stories. So here is the way that I would encourage you to think about how you tell your story. What I would do is in your biography, I would include an epiphany moment. Before I get into it. This doesn't have to be like a real epiphany, right? We don't, this doesn't have to be like you and the moon and you're like, I will quit my job on Wall Street to start kayaking. You know, like it doesn't have to be that big, but what it does is it helps people understand what you were doing. A little bit of the context of who you are and what you are doing now, right? So I told you at the beginning, oh, I was a high school teacher or I taught high school and then I taught creativity at the University of Illinois. And then now I do this, right? So there's a little bit of, I used to do blank and now I do blank. I think that template to me is an incredible framework for a bio that includes a story. I used to do blank and now I do blank in. That is a story, right. I used to teach and now I work in Hollywood. Whoa, Okay. Now I understand a little bit about, so I'll give you my personal example. What I used to say. Hey, Esteban is a comedian and writer. That's me, a comedian and I'm a writer and I do this, now I go. Esteban is a former teacher who is now a comedian and writer. It's a longer bio, but what that does is it gives so much more context and you have a lot of places for follow up questions. Yeah, I'm actually a former teacher, now. I'm a comedian and writer. What did I teach? Yeah, thanks for asking. Here's the things I touch. What does it mean to do on writing? Do I think about those? How are those related? There's so many places that we can go. Now. Here's what I would encourage you. I used to do blank and now blank if you really want to go for it, the epiphany moment is you could go, I used to do blank, then blank happened, I do blank. Okay. There's so many ways to think about this, but I would just encourage you to know that stories about people and even if you've been in the same industry for a long time, that's totally okay. You can still find those moments of change, Those little epiphany moments. Yeah. I've actually been in the industry for a long time, but what I'm most excited about now is where it could go. Or I was in sales and then I thought, oh my goodness, You know what's more interesting is running the thing. Now I'm in operations, those small moments of change really drive and like get into our monkey brain that love stories. So that's the way I would talk about yourself. This could be on your website or this could be for parties or this could be anything like that. What I would encourage you to do is if you remember those one sentence bios, I would try to rewrite that and infuse these moments of epiphany. Again, good ways to do that is I used to blank, now I blank. I love when I see a bio that goes after ten years in blank. Now they do blank, right? So after blank is a wonderful template, is a former blank turned to blank, Wonderful template. So these words, these words that like give us this input into who you are are so huge for talking about what makes you different. And this can be anything, right? This could be a former high school varsity quarterback, is now a therapist. Great. That's so much more interesting than telling me therapist after seven years in finance, this person is now a therapist. I want that therapist, right? So those moments, conflict change, epiphany, you got it? Let's do it. 5. Story Simplifying: Hey, video six, we are talking again, all of us, we're thinking about stories in the most simple way possible. And here is a challenge for you. Here's the invitation to think about is when you are telling the story of who you are or what your business does or what your art does, or your new album or your new comedy special, whatever it is. I think giving as few details as possible, let me tell you why. Again, this is a little bit of that paradigm shift. This is a little bit of realizing there's a different way to tell our story, what we've been talking about this whole class. When you give a few details, and these are a few specific details, really specific character building details. This is actually just happened like a few days ago. I watched this movie, 50. 50. It's got Jesse Gordon Lovett and Seth Rogan. I just randomly watch it, honestly. This is the first scene. Tell me what you learn. It's a guy and he's going for a run, and then he stops because the crosswalk says you can't cross, and there's no one around. And he's sitting there still going for a run. And he's looking and there's no one. And a runner runs by him and he still waits. And then finally the light turns green and he crosses. That's the first scene of the movie. I know everything about it. He's going for a run. He's healthy. He's cautious. Cautious to the point that even when he can break the rules that hurt, no one that do nothing, he still doesn't break the rules. That tells me everything we need to know about that person. Hollywood is really good at giving you a few of those character details that tell you everything you need to know about someone, right? You only have 2 hours, sometimes you have less than that to get to know someone. So every specific action, if it's a good movie and if it's well written, points to this larger life behind it. And I want us to think about that. Here's the challenge. Can you think about something? And it can be very small that you have done that kind of perfectly encapsulates what makes you unique. And I think what is most interesting is what is the most. Even when we think prestige, I'm often like sure if press has been written about you, what is the most relevant place that press exists? Right? As a few years ago I was like on ABC night line about some of the climate comedy work. And I'm like, oh that's fun. But is that relevant? Because more interesting is grist. Grist is the small, very cool, very like B Environmental publication that I love, like that. I go, oh, let me lead with that. As opposed to Nightline, which every week features stories and doesn't really have to unifying threat. But if I say, oh, I'm really proud of the time that this indie nonprofit, environmental artsy magazine wrote about me, you're like, wait a minute, now I'm starting to get a sense of who you are, right? So what is that for you? It doesn't have to be press, but what are those defining moments? What press makes the most sense for you? What photos make the most sense for you? What projects that you share with people make the most sense for you? Looking into my life as well. I can tell you a few years ago I had this show on Vice Land, It's Vices TV network, and the show was, okay. I didn't love it. I don't, I'm not going to tell you the name of it because I don't love it. But what feels way more me is that a few years before that, after I got out of college, I wrote this musical about Pluto the Planet. It's a comedy musical. Okay. It does not like if I showed it to you. Now You. Yeah. The songs are pretty good. I'm now ten years out of college. This was ten years ago. But it is such a relevant, it feels very me. Estaba me. It's a comedy musical about Pluto the planet. It's like kind of nerdy, it's educational, it's kind of entertaining, right? It's all the things. So rather than saying hey, I was on a TV show, okay, You're like great, okay, Saying hey, this one time I did this one specific project that is thinking about you, your life as a story. And thinking about the people you're interacting with as an audience who they just want to as quickly as they can understand you. We're just making it as easy as possible for people to understand by taking the intentional time to think about what are a few details that capture who you are, and this relates to everything we've talked about. So if I know that an epiphany moment is good, I can tell you, oh, I'm Esteban. I actually taught creativity to engineers at the University of Illinois. It's interesting, specific facts. I did a lot of other. I wrote a book. But that doesn't matter, right? Well, whatever, whatever. I talk creativity to engineers at a university and then I worked, a few years later, I worked on this project. There was this documentary series, but these people, and it was really beautiful and inspiring. I went from this to this, you're like, wait a minute, How does that relate? The projects that we do, the businesses that we run are the things that we need to market our goal in that is for people to be engaged, right? So giving specific details, literally building exchanges and websites and releases and PR and everything about building curiosity, People having questions, having meaningful questions, people wanting to engage more people, getting a sense of who you are. I think that's really, really good. 6. You Did It!: Hey, that is the course I told you'd be short. I hope it is helpful. Here's the big paradigm shifts that I want us to think about, okay? And the hero's journey to proper storytelling, especially when it comes to other people, as an artist, as an entrepreneur or anything like that, is that you are not the hero. The people you are serving, your customers, your fans, they are the hero. You are the guide helping them do hero things. Another fun paradigm shift is the way that you talk about yourself, the way you describe your work, your bio, Instead of just saying what you do. Let's infuse that with storytelling, which means that we go blank and now blank. It has these epiphany moments built in. I'm a former blank who now does blank. I used to do this and then this happened, and now I do this. Hey, after years of this, now I do this, okay? This storytelling principles help people understand who you are faster. And they just like feel more active. They feel more engaging. They break through the noise. Do I just want to hire a tax accountants? Or do I want a tax accountant who became a tax accountant after this moment? So they actually have a background in music and improv and theater. Oh my goodness, that's amazing very quickly telling people who we are. Also another thing to think about, simplifying less details. Those details encompass, encapsulate who we are as people and then people are curious. Again, storytelling, what we are here to do is to engage people. Have people engage with the material we're putting out, the projects we're working on with the business, what we're doing with the art we're putting out. And the way for people to do that is to let people fill in and connect some of those dots, some of those circles. The way to do that is be thoughtful and intentional. And remember the biggest rule of allocate the story, the story we're telling about ourselves. It is not for us, but it's rather for people to understand story we're serving. The story that we're doing is rather than like making us look good, is for other people to understand who we are. That is it. I hope you learned something. There are worksheets and templates attached. Hopefully you've been using them. Let's use that discussion tab. I will jump in there, but I also encourage you to jump in for other people. I think the more that we workshop and the more that we're down there, I think would be really, really wonderful. That is it. That is the course. If you're curious, I've got a bunch of other share courses, you can check them out. Thank you so much. Thanks for your time. I really appreciate it.