Storytelling 101 (1:59)
“When you’re thinking about creating a great story, it’s really thinking about how will someone connect with the story that you’re creating? How will they connect with the world? Do they understand it? Is there something that helps them ground what they know in the world that you’re creating? And most importantly, who are the characters in that world? And how do you have that player or viewer feel like they’re part of it?”
Role models in order of appearance: Kiki Wolfkill, Julie Dash, Kim Williams, Nandi Bowe, Lauren Gunderson, Caryn G. Mathes, and Lois Vossen.
1) Good stories teach us about life, ourselves, and others. Multiple role models mentioned the power of stories to transform people. What have you learned from stories? Have you ever read a story that transformed you or your opinions about something? Explain your answer.
2) You learned in the video that good stories have a climax or peak event where “it’s all on the line and you can’t turn back.” Think of stories you have recently read or heard. What are some of the peak events from these stories? How did you feel during that part of the story? Why?
3) You heard someone in the video say, “A good story has conflict because stories are about getting past something or through something or around something.” Stories often mimic our lives, which are also often about overcoming challenges. What conflicts have you recently read or heard about in stories? Have you had similar conflicts or challenges in your life? Explain your answer
4) The video explains that a compelling story is “something that touches everyone.” This means that the viewers can relate to the story or the characters through their own experiences or worldview. What are some examples of stories or topics that everyone in the world could relate to? What events are common to all people?
5) In the video, listeners learn that great storytellers allow the audience to connect with the world and characters that they are creating. This lets the viewer feel as if they are a part of the story. Think about your favorite book or movie. Were you able to connect with the world and characters? What did the author or director do to help you feel as if you were a part of the story? How can you apply these ideas to your own work?
6) The more you understand your own emotions and feelings during the events in a story, the better you can apply this knowledge to your own stories. Think of a recent story you were told or read. Can you think of some of the events and how each event made you feel? Remember to think about why you felt that way!
When you’re thinking about creating a great story, it’s really thinking about how will someone connect with the story that you’re creating? How will they connect with the world? Do they understand it? Is there something that helps them ground what they know in the world that you’re creating? And most importantly, who are the characters in that world? And how do you have that player or viewer feel like they’re part of it?
A compelling story is something that I think touches everyone. It’s something that shows people at the moment of change, of pivotal moments. It’s a story that engages us in ways that helps to transform us.
If you start with complex characters and authentic characters, they really drive your story, because as people, we’re complex.
Good story, in my opinion, has conflict. Because stories are about getting past something or through something or around something.
What are these elements? The kind of rising action, the risk our hero needs to to to be able to take? What are the things she has to challenge herself to overcome to achieve this? What kind of thing must she want, and how much must she want it for us to be really invested? And then of course there’s this big peak, the climax of of any story, where it’s all on the line. You can’t turn back.
What’s the, “Well, what’s going to happen next?” question that you have in your head? Your viewers, your audience will have those same questions. So try to take them logically through the story and answer the questions that come up in your head.
We have all these platforms available where young people are telling their story. So I encourage you to do that. And if you have any interest in making storytelling your career or something you want to do, start now.
Independent Learning Guide: This all-purpose guide can be used by educators, parents, and mentors to jumpstart a lively discussion about storytelling.
Stories are powerful tools that can teach us about ourselves, life, and others. Role models in this video share their advice for creating and telling compelling stories for fun or as a future career.
Classroom Lesson Plan: This step-by-step lesson plan is available to guide a more in-depth “before, during, and after” learning experience when viewing the video with students. This lesson plan is also suitable for use in after-school programs and other educational settings.
Use Empowerment Activities as a fun way to reinforce the video topic and build community with your students.
Related Empowerment Lessons:
Fun Page Activity: In this “Story Writing Challenge”, you select from lots of funny options and then practice creating your own story. Remember to think about the qualities of a good story while you are writing!