How To Get Started On a Story

April 14, 2021
Temecula CA Video Pros Talk Story

Story is powerful. It can move us to understand in a way that simple empirical data cannot. Most cultures even use narratives and stories to give meaning in life. They may not know they are even doing this but it’s happening. That’s how important story is in how we think and communicate.

And so that brings us to us. How do we all tell stories to define day to day things like the useful products we sell? Or the tales of men and women who’ve gone before us? Or the novel or film story on the tip of our pen (heh, or keyboard)?

Here are a few thoughts from our team of video pros at Waves to keep in mind when ‘writing’ your story. Enjoy!

Three Acts

It may be helpful to think of your story in 3 parts, or ‘acts’. The set up or laying the foundation (beginning), the conflict or tension (middle), and the resolution (ending). This is a very very basic way of describing what almost every story has: three acts.

Let’s say you are writing an ad for you brand that sells baby snack containers. Here’s how you might use the three act sequence to help bring out your story in a cohesive way.

  1. We open on a baby in car seat while dad is driving (setting)
  2. This little girl is throwing food everywhere (tension/problem)
  3. Same child now has a container with a lid and access for her to get the food (ending – true happy ever after right there!)

Highlight the Tension

Every good or meaningful tale has tension or conflict. Without the narrative is pretty much meaningless. And no one will be interested. You need to work on communicating the tension.

In one case, the conflict may be blatant and bluntly stated such as an earthquake that is about to erupt under a house with a July 4th party going on in it. Or it may be more subtle like the inner ‘demons’ of a protagonist trying to rebuild her life. Highlight it.

I like to even think of songs that are written in this way. Is there an interesting tension in the storyline of your music or lyrics that is trying to resolve? This can make that piece of music really exciting!

Cut Out the Unnecessary!

This may be a step in the process of writing that comes later on or along the way. But it’s never too early to edit or cut out things that just don’t add to your narrative. So cut it out! That unnecessary stuff. Useless dialogue or a scene that makes no difference to the plot. Hit delete.

For more on this please read “Story” by the famed Robert McKee – well worth your time.