How To Tell Great Stories — the MOST important thing you need to know!

If you want to be good at telling stories, there’s ONE thing you need to know above all else, and it’s what I talk about in this video.

Also, I dress up as Rocky, a hacky Parisian tourist and as everyone in The Graduate. So if you’d like to see (no exaggeration) the MOST IMPORTANT VIDEO I’VE EVER MADE (or read the transcription), you’re in luck! Click on the play button here:

Fun fact: the “beer” I was drinking was made from cold tea and dish soap suds. Mmmmmm.

Thank you so much for watching. I would love — LOVE!!! — to know what you think of this short but essential lesson. Or tell me this: what’s your favourite movie scene? And is it voice-over, montage or action? Let me know in the comments below!

If you know someone who could really get better at telling stories, you can share it with them using one of those round buttons below, or click here to share on Facebook.

You rule!

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha

PS Credit to my storytelling teacher Sage Tyrtle for being the first person to tell me that “telling a story is like making a movie in your listener’s head” — a sentence on which I could then hang almost all of my teaching!

PPS if you want even more tips and advice plus stories and secrets I won’t put on the internet AND my free guide for the magic bullet for how to tell any story powerfully, come over and join the Yes Yes Family by popping your details in below:

*you can unsubscribe whenever you like — but you almost certainly won’t want to.

Transcript:

D’you wanna hear the most important thing you need to know when it comes to telling a good story?

I’m Marsha from Yes Yes Marsha.com — and I’m going to tell you right now!

When you’re telling a story, you’re making a movie inside your listener or readers brain.

I’m going to say that again:

When you’re telling a story, you’re making a movie, inside your reader, or listeners brain.

So, if you think about movies, there are three different kinds of scenes. You have voice-over. This is disembodied voice from the future, giving context or philosophy.

[Marsha as Dreyfuss] I was twelve going on thirteen the first time I saw a dead human being

Then there’s montage, which is real time scenes cut together with music over the top, usually done to show passage of time or something changing.

So, if you think about romantic comedy getting-to-know-you montage, or Dirty Dancing learning-the-steps Hungry Eyes montage, or the Rocky Training Montage.

[Theme From Rocky plays]

Then there are action scenes, where you’re seeing things happen in real time, usually from the perspective of one or a couple of the characters.

[Marsha as Hoffman] Mrs Robinson you’re trying to seduce me…
[Marsha as Hoffman] …Aren’t you?

With storytelling, it’s the same. The difference between those three kinds of scenes in a story you tell is the level of granular detail.

So say I tell you about this trip I once took to Europe, voiceover would be overarching narrative:

When I was 19. I went to Europe for a month with a friend. We visited nine different countries.

Montage would be little flashbulbs of pictures:
When I was 19. I went to Europe for a month I ate pasta in Rome, I drank beer in Prague, I looked at the Eiffel Tower in Paris

And action scene is really granular detail:
So I’m standing by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, when I see this woman walking towards me, and I start to panic because — I don’t speak French! But then in perfect English, she says, “I’m terribly sorry, you seem to have dropped your 200 Franc note.”

Action scenes like that are where all of the story magic happens. Those are where your listener or reader’s brains think that they are inside your story.

But if your story spans any length of time, you can’t tell the entire thing in action scenes because a nobody has six years to listen to your story and be a lot of the action is kind of boring.

Then I went to bed, then I lay down then I close my eyes and fell asleep. Then I breathe in. Then I breathe out. Then I breathe in.

So you use voiceover and montage to bridge from one action scene to the next:

After Paris. I went to Rome and then Prague. One morning in Prague I woke to a strange sound. 

To review: When you’re telling a story. You’re making a movie inside your listener or readers brain. So make sure that you make most of your story action scenes, not voiceover or montage.

Now over to you. I want to know — what’s your favorite scene from your favorite movie? And is it voiceover, montage or action? Let me know over in the comments below!

Thank you so much for reading! If you know someone who could really get better at telling stories, you can share it with them using one of those round buttons below, or click here to share on Facebook

You rule!

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha

PS if you want even more tips and advice plus stories and secrets I won’t put on the internet AND my free guide for the magic bullet for how to tell any story powerfully, come over and join the Yes Yes Family by popping your details in below:

*you can unsubscribe whenever you like — but you almost certainly won’t want to.

 

Credits:
Videographer: Ben Soper
https://vimeo.com/bensoper
Outro music: ‘George Square’, by the amazing David Berkeley:
http://www.davidberkeley.com
Mural by the very talented Pam Lostracco of
http://www.pamlostracco.com
Virtual Assistant brilliance by Patti Meyer of
http://bizmagic.co

4 Comments

  • Gloria Wadzinski

    Reply Reply October 7, 2020

    My favorite movie scene is definitely action. In Pulp Fiction, John Travolta gives Uma Thurman an adrenaline shot to prevent her from dying of a drug overdose. The chaos of finding the syringe, learning how to bring the needle down with enough force to breach the sternum and then Ulm’s gasp of a reaction is hypnotic – you can’t look away.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      AND it contains the lead actor from my favourite movie, Desperately Seeking Susan! (Rosanna Arquette)

      Thanks, Gloria! What a great reminder :)

  • Dana Bowman

    Reply Reply October 7, 2020

    Ok, I am a movie addict so asking for my favorite scene is… tough. BUT. Just recently re-watched the Untouchables w/ my husband so HE could watch MY FAVORITE SCENE (Da Palma, the railway station, midnight, poor mother w/ baby in carriage, bad gangsters w/ guns, Andy Garcia’s foot, tension up the whazoo). I basically watched my husband while scene ensued, nodding like, SEE? Is this not amazing?? and he said, “Yea. That was neat.”

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      To my great embarrassment, I have NEVER SEEN The Untouchables! But let this be my inspiration!

      Thanks, Dana!

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