Week 1 - Storytelling
January 6 - Introduction
January 7 - Why we like stories
January 8 - Why we tell stories
January 9 - Your perspective
January 10 - Worlds/Characters
🔒January 11 - Responsibilities
Week 2 - Characters
January 13 - Warming up
🔒 Week 4
🔒 Week 5
🔒 Week 6
🔒 Week 7
🔒 Week 8
🔒 Week 9
🔒 Week 10
🔒 Week 11
🔒 Week 12
Hour 216-240 | Warming Up
Alright, we have set some ground work for your series. Now it's really time to start developing things. This week we will build the characters of your series.
I think if you're looking for what kind of story you want to tell, you should try doing something I did when I was in film school. Before I would start making a film, I would just ask myself, if I could understand anything, what would I want to know? And who would I like to teach me that?
You know I'd like to understand loyalty, and learning it in a medieval castle would be neat. Oh, that'd be a cool story to tell. So, you don't even have to necessarily start from a theme or a conflict, just jump into something interesting you want to know and then start thinking of the characters, and what do they want? In this story, maybe things have gotten so boring in this castle they they've go hire a dragon to come attack them. And so we're going to do a talent scout for a dragon. And then you just go from there.
So, you know, when in doubt just let your mind go exploring.
Through storytelling (and especially in series) you can go anywhere that your mind can take you. Sometimes it's fun to just think about what you would like to see, what you would you like to hear a story about? What is something that, for you personally, you would say, oh, I'd love to see a story like that, and then make it. And even if it's not perfect, it's great to just have things out in the world that are personal to you. And it's good to look at other stories for ideas, and inspiration, and structure, and how they work things out, problems that they may have, but always try to stay true to your story, and go with something that is important to you.
I went to Watkins College of Art in Nashville and I studied character development there. And one of the things you learn at a privet art school like that is that even though you have your professors (which are great professionals in the field) the people you're really learning from are your fellow students.
They're the people that you are spending every day with, telling jokes to, and learning when you're not funny from. If you're pitching your stories and you realize oh, you know what, they aren't getting it. That's when you think, maybe I should make this story a little better. Even to this day, when I pitch ideas to my friends sometimes we forget that we're going to be showing those ideas to other people all around the world, and we're just trying to entertain each other. Because, at the end of the day, we're just people telling stories to other people.
What happens when I tell the story to my friend is that all these other things start coming to my mind while I'm telling them that end up making the story better. The story starts to come alive. The characters start to come alive. Also the person you tell the story to will tell you what they thought of it...and that kind of advice is priceless. They actually are helping you make your story and your character better. So that's why I encourage everybody, if you're crafting a story, and you want it to get better, keep telling your story, over and over again. And you'd be surprised how good those characters and those stories become over a short period of time. Plus, when you tell your stories to your friends, you don't have to sit alone in a room with a blank page, not knowing if your story is really good or bad or whatever, because somebody can actually tell you.
So, another important thing that I'm coming to learn (the more I'm working in the industry) is that it's filled with really amazing artists, and you're kind of always struggling to figure out how to stand out. And I think the best way to do that is to worry less about what you think people want from you, and to just do what God calls you to as best as possible.
When I truly stop and follow God's leading, people often ask, "how did you come up with that?" And I'll be like, "you know, I didn't come up with it, I read it the same as you...I just happened to be writing it at the same time I was reading."
So I think that's the biggest advice I could give is to just be willing to let go of everything a follow God's leading. After all, the story was never yours in the first place.
So I think a big thing to remember, is if you're trying to tell a story, don't, the story is God's let Him tell it. I know it sounds cliche, but it really is important. There's a lot of failure of course. There's a lot of times when you're wrong. There's a lot of times when you think that something is working and it's not. But those moments are actually the most important things that could happen to you as a storyteller, is when things are not working. And when things are kind of only slightly working. That forces you to turn to others for help and to look to God. You always want to get better, and the only way you're going to get better is if you keep falling on your face, and let God use others to pick you back up again.
Exercise 5: Characters & Elevators
Step 1: Pick a character from one of your favorite stories. How would they respond to being trapped in an elevator? Draw or write a single page about what happens.
Step 2: Return to a character you are in the process of creating and do the same thing.
You can submit your ideas in the Comments section below, or write them down in your story journal.