This is not just a story about storytelling.
Because it’s about your storytelling.
A Difficult Truth.
The way that you tell your business’s story is very likely to be nowhere near good enough.
This is a difficult truth.
It’s because most business leaders don’t value storytelling enough.
So they don’t invest in storytelling enough.
Which is strange.
Because it is one of the single biggest reasons that businesses don’t maximise.
I am fascinated by how world-class storytelling actually works.
And I want to drag you into my world.
Just for a moment.
I want to expose you to my curiosity around world-class storytelling.
So I have explored one of the most sophisticated and difficult kind of storytelling possible.
Storytelling without words.
TV and film Scriptwriter (and ANGELFYSH team member) Debbie Owen is currently (amongst other things) creating stories and scripts for BBC flagship, CASUALTY.
I have listened to Debbie talk about her TV and film scriptwriting experience for years.
And I know that Debbie has worked on lengthy scenes and sometimes entire productions – as a scriptwriter – that have no words at all.
I wanted to find out more.
Scriptwriting is storytelling. And story doesn’t have to be told verbally.
Every story will have characters who need a journey, with actions, motivations, purpose, emotions. Whether those characters speak or not doesn’t matter. We must still feel for them and care what happens to them.
As a scriptwriter, I write the words the actors say… but I also write how they deliver those words. I write the pace, the pauses, the tone, the emotion. I write how they feel, where they move, what they wear. I write the atmosphere, the style of the space, day or night.
I visualise every aspect of the scene on the page, so that the director and the actors know exactly what I have in mind. Then they can accurately interpret my script onto the screen.
A script without dialogue, is still storytelling. And it still has to relay all of the above.
Here’s an example:
ACT ONE – PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL WARD. DAYROOM. DAY
A sparsely decorated room. No ornaments, the pictures are screwed to the wall and have Perspex fronts, the TV is housed inside a wooden box with a Perspex front. Chairs, too heavy to throw, are arranged in social groups.
At the back of the room are 2 doors: 1 internal, with a spy hole, leading to the rest of the ward. 1 external, with a small window, leading to a courtyard.
Around the outside of the room, a track is worn in the carpet – someone walks the same path, over and over.
DOUG sits, nervous. He stands, he sits, he doesn’t know what to do. This is all new to him.
He moves to the internal door and tries the handle – locked. He looks through the spy hole, but he’s on the wrong aside to see anything. He knocks. Listens. Nothing.
He moves to the external door – locked. The outside world is so near and yet so far.
OFF: from beyond the internal door, a scuffle can be heard getting closer. Heavy breathing and fighting coming from unseen, unknown people. DOUG’s terrified. Are they coming in here?! He backs as far away from the door as he can… and waits.
Your business has a story.
Or if it doesn’t.
It bloody well should have.
And you need to find it.
Then tell it.
Because an impressive story told badly.
Or a bad story told impressively.
Is just as bad as no story at all.
In all these circumstances.
Your business is treading water.
Debbie shows that it is possible to connect and evoke deep emotion and connection without one word being spoken.
So what a shame it is that almost every business I see is not maximising as a business because they are not connecting.
They’re just using (normally far too many) words to tell me what they do.
And there’s no story.
They sound the same as everyone else in their category.
And the business owner is surprised when nothing changes.
There is a really important reason that I have taken the time to write this story.
It’s because great storytelling is transformational.
It is endlessly rewarding for your business.
And everybody in it.
Focus on and invest in beautiful storytelling.
And if you cannot do it yourself.