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Metadata of Note

Type: 🍃 Leaf [Nomenclature present here.]

Source: Ted Talk by Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story

Tags: #storytelling #movies #stories

Date: October 3rd, 2021


I watched this ted talk of Andrew’s with Rajesh at his house in the afternoon of October 3rd, 2021. It was a powerful talk delivered by someone who has produced a lot, artistically. I learned that Andrew is the guy behind Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Wall-E, and more.

The following were the elements he talked about, that equates to a great story:

Pauses and punch lines

He began with a great story with just the right amount of pauses and punch lines.

  • A tourist is backpacking through the highlands of Scotland, and he stops at a pub to get a drink. And the only people in there are a bartender and an old man nursing a beer. And he orders a pint, and they sit in silence for a while. And suddenly the old man turns to him and goes, “You see this bar? I built this bar with my bare hands from the finest wood in the county. Gave it more love and care than my own child. But do they call me MacGregor the bar builder? No.” Points out the window. “You see that stone wall out there? I built that stone wall with my bare hands. Found every stone, and placed them just so through the rain and the cold. But do they call me MacGregor the stone wall builder? No.” Points out the window. “You see that pier on the lake out there? I built that pier with my bare hands. Drove the pilings against the tide of the sand, plank by plank. But do they call me MacGregor the pier builder? No. But you fuck one goat … “

Having an ultimate goal

Every story should have an ultimate goal, a converging point. E.g. Finding Nemo is all about finding Nemo. And it should be clear from the beginning that there is a goal, causing anticipation.

“Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty”

Make them care

Make people care about the story enough to make them pause and listen attentively. We all know what it’s like to not care: we flip through so many things every day.

  • This is also true for products and books and courses

Unifying theory of 2+2

“Make them work for the meal, but don’t let them know that you’re doing it.” Don’t give away everything in the story. Make people do some work in figuring it out.

“We’re born problem solvers. We’re compelled to deduce and deduct because that’s what we do in real life. It’s this well-organized absence of information that draws us in. There’s a reason that we’re all attracted to an infant or a puppy. It’s not just that they’re damn cute; it’s because they can’t completely express what they’re thinking and what their intentions are. And it’s like a magnet. We can’t stop ourselves from wanting to complete the sentence and fill it in.”

Instill wonder

The feeling of being completely absorbed even if for a few moments.

“Wonder is honest, it’s completely innocent. It can’t be artificially evoked. For me, there’s no greater ability than the gift of another human being giving you that feeling — to hold them still just for a brief moment in their day and have them surrender to wonder”