The short video below, The Evolution of Storytelling, tells a story about stories. However, pay attention to how it tells its story. Listen to it and pay attention.
You may have noticed pairs and sequences of threes. In fact, the opening sentence begins with a sequence of three that concludes with a pair:
“There is a revolution …
1) in the way that we think,
2) in the way that we share,
3) and in the way that we express
3-1) our stories,
3-2) our evolution.”
These pairs and sequences occur throughout the video. ( “Our story, our poetry, our romanticism,” and “How to live, and how to die.”) These patterns create the rhythm of storytelling because telling a story isn’t just about the story; it’s about how it’s told.
You’ll notice something else in the video: repetition. “People have been leaving behind footprints, footprints that are moments of self-expression.” This is another very common device, a mnemonic that emphasizes something and helps the audience to remember.
Now try watching the video with the sound off. I think you’ll find something interesting there about how stories are told.
Initially, it looks like a crazy, animated mind map. Words are flying around everywhere, chaotically — or so it seems. Quickly, however, out of the chaos ideas emerge because some words repeat. At the same time, the words have different fonts and font sizes emphasizing some over others.
Some are seen amid other words; some in isolation. And all are moving, but not randomly.
Visually, the story is being told and once again it is with a certain music — a rhythm — that helps communicate what it is about. Again, it isn’t just about the story; it’s about how it is told.
This is why it is called storytelling.
- I found this video via Story and Narrative, curated by Gregg Morris, @greggvm.
- This is reposted from January 23, 2011 (a period when I seemed to be on a roll.)