Telling a good story

I listened to a talk by Ira Glass on how to tell a good story.

I feel like most of the writing done in middle and high school are all analysis papers with a rigid structure. It was always about having a thesis, and topic sentences that connected to the thesis. There was always an introduction (say what you’re going to say), three body paragraphs (say it), and a conclusion (say what you just said). We never really learned how to captivate readers and tell a truly interesting story. I think this skill is way more important than writing literary analysis because in the “real world”, you are often paid based on if people actually read your writing, and if you can captivate your audience.

I agree with Glass about how Anecdotes are interesting. I also agree that an anecdote is not enough, but there has to be a purpose for it – or a moment of reflection. I love it when someone uses a silly story to illustrate an important life lesson. I will read the story and wonder “how could this possible mean anything, and why are they telling this?” and then when they reveal their reason for telling the story, it all makes sense.

From my experience with video editing, I completely agree with the part about how you have to get a lot of content before finally finding the right story, or in my case, the right shots. Another video editor told me that when you are really cutting a video to just the essentials, it needs to hurt. It has to be hard to cut out certain parts, because you have to be ruthless. It is hard because you put the effort into getting all your content, but in the end, only a small percentage is used. It is important to only include what is necessary and great content, and not just put in a bunch of “filler”. For example, when I make snowboard edits, I often have hours of film, but generally, I like to keep my edits under five minutes so people will watch them.


Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 3.23.53 PM

Finally, I like his point about how you will suck at the beginning, but yo need to carry on. If you know the content you put out at the beginning is not good, that means you have developed a taste for what is great and what is not. That is a good sign. Push through the suckiness and you will eventually achieve greatness. I look back at my first snowboarding edit and it is terrible. I realized that if I look at a video I made four years ago and I think it is good, it means I have not improved. My hope is that in the future, I will look at my current favorite video I have made, and I will laugh at how bad it is.

But one can only dream…Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 3.23.53 PM

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