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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tell To Win: Post #4--Story Elements

Story Elements: Guber offers early on a kind of screenwriting 101 course for the novice. First, good stories come from the heart, not the head (Thomas Jefferson would be proud…read his Head Heart Letter to Maria Cosway). Guber tells us that facts and logic can only take us so far. We need to use stories to transport the listener emotionally, or even the best data will fall flat. Audiences want a distinct hero, a decent struggle over something that matters both to the speaker and audience (he calls it a me-to-we factor), and an element of surprise. Guber describes Dan Siegel’s (a UCLA neuroscientist) theory that the critical requirement of a good story is surprise. Siegel breaks it down this way: surprise expectation + violation of expectation. It’s the uncertainty of the struggle that engages any audience. For example, the struggle uncertainty happens every year with March Madness. We get most involved when Ohio State and Duke get knocked off…not when they win! It’s the unexpected surprises we live for, which then are the stories we love to tell.

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