Archive for storytelling

say what you see

“I learned about “iconography” from working with Rob Schrab for several years. In cartooning, you have to draw a certain combination of lines before the audience is going to universally recognize what you’ve drawn.

“If I draw a cylinder, I can tell you it’s a banana, but I can’t make you think “banana” on your own unless I make it yellow, taper the ends and give it some curvature. To further extend this metaphor: Sometimes bananas are green in real life. If I make a green, tapered, curved cylinder, does it look like a banana? It looks like a pepper. You can jump up and down and scream about how you just drew a perfectly good banana, because it looks just as much like a real banana as a yellow one (student filmmaker), but I’m telling you, dude, it’s a fucking pepper, UNTIL you put more time and energy into giving it OTHER recognizable banana qualities- for instance, drawing it half peeled. Okay, now it’s a green banana. You blew my mind.

Dan Harmon

When creating we like to be different, unique or ‘creative’, unless it can be recognized as a banana it can fall flat. We suffer from the curse of knowledge, we know if it is a banana but the player/audience doesn’t unless it looks like one.


Leave a Comment

how to tell an enchanting story

Mostly in the context of telling stories for children on the fly, good advice for general storytelling;

1. Begin with a provocative set-up
2. Explain how something happens, either to the main character or the environment
3. In one or two sentences, tell how the plot thickens. The stakes are raised when tension appears
4. Mentally analyze the reaction of the audience and adjust accordingly. If the listeners aren’t engaged by this time, strengthen the narrative
5. Build a vision of a scene that involves the senses: sight, sound, taste, vision, and touch
6. Weave a climax that produces an “aha” moment for the audience
7. End when the story is resolved
8. Record your story. To improve your storytelling abilities, record yourself reciting an original fable

Leave a Comment