What is it about stories, anyway?
Here's what author Frank Rose wrote in 2013:
Just as the brain detects patterns in the visual forms of nature—a a face, a figure, a flower—and in sound, so too it detects patterns in information. Stories are recognizable patterns, and in those patterns we find meaning. We use stories to make sense of our world and to share that understanding with others. They are the signal within the noise.
I've been working on a new film, another one about birds. This time, though, there isn't a species as charismatic as the Piping Plover. It's going to take a different approach to make this story as compelling. It's going to take a different way of tapping into those recognizable patterns. My current thinking is that I'll feature a few powerful stories from the people tracking the sandpipers, while doing my best to get close-ups of the birds to show their behavior and personalities. These species may sometimes come off as nondescript, but combined with the visual forms above and a few human patterns there will be added meaning and something that truly stands out.
One could shout from the rooftops about something interesting, but without a story there's often nothing substantial there, little that will resonate with the viewer. Little that's memorable. I hearken back to a long-ago job at a large nonprofit organization. We could write at length about why our mission was important, and about our programs and services, as most organizations do, but we struggled to create memorable content that told a story. It was a missed opportunity and often left our audiences wanting more.
The neat thing is, with storytelling, one can be creative and entertaining, too. It means we can have a little fun, and in this line of work there is indeed quite a bit of self-seriousness.
Anthropologists love to state that storytelling is central to human existence, common to every known culture. Storytelling's an art as old as the first cave paintings and a skill set that every organization should possess. And here's why: Because a distinctive narrative can make most any subject matter meaningful to everyone, even a few sandpipers.
The blog is a space for stories of the natural world and the occasional post about communications and strategy.