The Force of “Story” Awakens

When we first watched the original Star Wars movie when it was released in the 70’s, my peers and I were just kids. The tables have since turned and it feels rather nostalgic on the eve of the release of the 7th movie to have our own kids who want to watch the movie now.

Given the hype with the premiere of The Force Awakens this week and its official opening in theatres by the end of this week, the blockbuster Star Wars’ epic reminds us of one powerful element that continues to engage, captivate, and awaken the human spirit–that is, the power of story.

Through film, book, presentation, article, poem, or song–good stories through the ages continue to grip us, focus our attention, immerse us in plot, make us laugh, and make us cry.

The power of story even translates across mediums and genre. Elements of story can even be applied to online video. For example, as you design your shots and scripts, consider how you might share your message with elements of story. As legendary film director Steven Spielberg once said about himself, “I’m a storyteller.” Films and stories like Star Wars are rich with conflict and scenes, action and emotion, heroes and villains, and mounting tension and resolution–all of which capture our hearts again and again. How else could something which began through oral culture still work its magic across media, genres, and generations?

As you work on your online videos, consider incorporating elements of story–appropriate to your content–through some of the following ways:

  • Show different camera angles and contextual shots to establish a sense of place.
  • Set up a problem or challenge to be resolved.
  • Introduce different personalities to us in your videos to grow your cast of “characters.”
  • Include emotional appeal in your scripting and delivery.
  • Show mounting tension as you are attempting to resolve an initial challenge or problem.
  • Briefly walk through the consequences of making incorrect choices in the content about which you’re informing, instructing, or marketing to us.
  • End with a satisfying resolution of the conflict.

If you have your Star Wars ticket already, enjoy the show! Just remember . . . that the art of story and its captivating magic is not just for film. The power of story offers us lessons widely applicable to much more than just a two hour experience in a theatre seat.

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