«We all love to be told stories. […] They affirm us who we are. We all want affirmations that our lives have meaning. And nothing does a greater affirmation than when we connect through stories. It can cross the barriers of time and allow us to experience the similarities between ourselves and the others, real and imagined».
These words are part of Andrew Stanton TED talk opening, in which the filmmaker (Toy Story, Finding Nemo, WALL-E) shares his point of view regarding storytelling. The talk (which has more than 2 milion views on TED web) stands out some of the most important clues to a successful story.
The first suggestion Stanton shares with the audience is, according to the writer, the greatest story commandment: «Make me care. Emotionally, intellectually, aesthetically, just make me care. We all know what it’s like to not care. You’ve gone through hundreds of TV channels, just switching channel after channel, and then suddenly you actually stop on one. Something’s caught you and you’re drawn in and you care. That’s not by chance, that’s by design».
A good starting when telling a story needs drawing the audience attention by «making a promise to them that this story will lead somewhere that’s worth their time. You could do it an infinite amount of ways. Sometimes it’s as simple as “Once upon a time … […] It’s like a guy inviting you around the campfire, or somebody in a bar saying, “Here, let me tell you a story. It didn’t happen to me, it happened to somebody else, but it’s going to be worth your time.” A well told promise is like a pebble being pulled back in a slingshot and propels you forward through the story to the end.
We don’t want to be spoilers in this story, so we strongly recommend you to listen to this outstanding writer and director’s talk, which is a whole stroytelling example by itself!