Entries in Storytelling (7)


#16: Bad Ideas Are People Too

Ever feel like brainstorming sessions are an idea killing field? This week we are breaking down brainstorming to help you make meetings more productive and to help you keep bad ideas from being killed before they can grow up to be good ones.

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Episode 13: Magic Carpet (Part 2)

Here to destroy the myth that creativity is an enemy of productivity! Again! In this episode we explain the Magic Carpet (sort of) and discuss in depth methods of being more productive and creative storytellers that we use every day.

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The Cosmonaut: Storytelling With Sound

We recently had an awesome conversation with audio nerds Dallas Taylor & John Benitez of Defacto Sound about their stellar work on the sound design of THE COSMONAUT! We hope you enjoy this special edition episode of The New American Storytellers Podcast!

Absence makes the heart grow fonder exclusive: You can watch the film minus sound effects and design below... (We have found that once you have seen it enough with sound effects your mind starts putting the sounds back in as you're watching. It's more than a little weird.)

Watch the film at TheCosmonaut.co

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Episode 6: Identity Crisis!

Every once in a while a movie comes along that has a case of amnesia. Along the way the filmmakers forgot what kind of movie they were making. This week we talk from our own experiences in the no mans land of filmmaking: The Identity Crisis!

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Walter Cronkite: "Find Your Voice"

Tip of the week from our podcast: "Find Your Voice" (download episode on iTunes)

If you are going to begin writing, speaking or directing film, or even just building relationships socially... the way you communicate is the primary key to gaining an audience, large or small. It can be tempting as young artists to see other filmmakers who are successful and to attempt to copy them. But as Michael Hartnett says in our podcast: "I don't want to be the RC Cola of filmmaking".

So if you want to tell stories (and we assume you do), and you are in a place of writing down your ideas, or wearing yourself out doing 48 hour filmmaking marathons with your friends, or even if you're an established professional looking to grow creatively; ask yourself this: "Am I being honest?"

If the stories you are trying to tell are shaping themselves into wannabe versions of "The Social Network" (but it's about the origins of Grooveshark!) maybe it's time to go deeper for inspiration. What can you do to find your unique voice, even as you expand your universe of influence?

A few starting points:

1) Don't be intimidated.

Take your favorite films, and go beyond infatuation. Get to know what the director's inspirations were, and read the earliest version of the script you can find. Chances are it wasn't spit onto paper quite as awesome as the cinematic masterpiece you just fell for.

2) Broaden your influences.

If you haven't watched a variety of types of films you are going to be narrow in your style and won't have a lot to pull from when attempting to solve problems with your script. You are still lean if you haven't surrounded yourself with stories and life experiences that give you a connection to what you want to communicate. Read classic literature. (And listen to our podcast, duh!)

3) Do what YOU like, or you will hate what you do.

The biggest setback in the creative process comes when you no longer like the story you are writing. That can happen for a variety of reasons, but the BIGGEST buzz kill for a creative comes when he/she tries to do something that isn't them. If you are trying to be exactly like someone else, no matter how inspired you are by their work you will only set yourself up to fail (or become a hack!) if you aren't being true to your own unique voice.



Ira Glass on Storytelling — Part 1

Here at the New American Storytellers, Ira Glass, creator of NPR's THIS AMERICAN LIFE, is one of our favorite storytellers.  Here, Ira shares what he's learned about storytelling over his twenty-plus year career in radio. Watch the video...and then go listen to THIS AMERICAN LIFE.  You won't regret either.


— David


Learn To Watch Movies: "The V.S."

Tip of the week from our podcast: "The V.S." (download episode on iTunes)

The idea behind "Learn To Watch Movies" seems simple enough right? It just takes time and a lot of popcorn. Well if you think that's all there is to it, you are WRONG. Sort of.

It will take time. It may take popcorn. It may cause you to be an antisocial basketcase (please don't), but for us a big part of the process of watching movies for more than entertainment value really comes down to what I in the podcast referred to as watching movies in "secession" by which I meant succession, as in "one after another" not "leaving the union". Anyway. Basically if you want to do this right you need to start comparing apples to apples.

One of our recommendations for what we are going to hitherto refer to as "The V.S." (or secession... whatever.) are these films:

UNITED 93 directed by Paul Greengrass v.s WORLD TRADE CENTER directed by Oliver Stone

So hop over to netflix and do your homework! Watch these films and compare the way they handle the telling of similar true events. Then come back and let us know what your opinions are!

And since I have never seen either of these films myself (woops.) I will be doing this homework right along with you. It will be the best assignment you've ever had. Like we are in a distance learning class together, except we are watching movies...

Have fun!