Storytelling from Glass.

I watched Ira Glass on Storytelling again last night after posting yesterday’s bonus post earlier in the day. The guy is totally genuine and sincere in his advice. Mr. Glass who runs the show This American Life really shares from the heart and the advice is terrific.

Here are my notes but I’d watch all 4 parts if I were you…

Glass on Storytelling:

Understand the building blocks of Storytelling (not like high school with introduction argument & conclusion).

1. The anecdote – a short & amusing story about a real person or incident. A sequence of actions/events. …this happened followed by this. One thing leads to another. A feeling of a destination. Bait – constantly raise questions & it’s implied you’ll answer them. Start with action.

2. A moment of reflection – Why the hell you’re watching the story? Say something new & it has to be compelling.

*Understand you need to look back & know you have a story!

Flip back and forth between the building blocks 1. & 2.. It should make something larger than the sum of it’s parts.

The difficulty of finding a story – takes more time to look. Set the time aside. Don’t be afraid to KILL it. By killing bad stories you’ll allow something better to live.

All media is trying to be crap. It’s trying to be unstructured, digressive & boring. You have to constantly prop it up at every stage of the way. If it’s going to be any good be ruthless!

Failure is part of the equation. It is part of getting super lucky. Schedule a lot of things and you’ll eventually stumble on something great. Don’t make mediocre stuff.

(Watch the link from yesterday’s post – I’m serious!)

Bottom-line: your work won’t match your ambitions for a long time…

Two common pitfalls:

1. Try not to act or sound like people on TV. It’s more compelling the more you talk like a human being.

2. It isn’t about you. Be interested. Make sure your subject is interested & talk about others. Otherwise there is no drama.

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About B Roll


2 responses to “Storytelling from Glass.

  • Margaret Hill

    LIstened to the 4 parts, very good advice from Ira, most programs on
    PBS usually have good quality !

  • B Roll

    He’s based out of Chicago I believe and it’s actually NPR (National Public Radio in the USA)… He reluctantly did two seasons on television. From what I’ve seen they are fantastic!

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