5 Storytelling tips from professionals

Posted by Naomi Linford on August 30, 2022
Naomi Linford

If you're looking to level up your storytelling powers then turn to the professionals. There's so much to be learned from the way storytelling masters take their audience on a journey and today, we're taking an inside look at just how they do it...

Read on to discover 5 killer pieces of advice for capturing an audience's attention with stories ✨

P.S. Remember, if you want to put any of these techniques into practice with your next animation, you can get started with VideoScribe for free for 7 days 👇


Tip 1: Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it. - Emma Coats, Pixar

If you're not sure where to start with your next story then as the team at Pixar say, find a little inspiration. There are certain stories that stick with all of us for different reasons. Maybe you felt yourself reflected in the main character, maybe it struck a chord with you emotionally, or maybe you couldn't tear yourself away from the plot. 

Whatever you loved about the story, make a note and see if you can incorporate that idea into your own storytelling. 

Tip 2: Use a fool-proof structure: Setup, Confrontation, Resolution - Steve Jobs

When it comes to brand storytelling, few did it better than Apple's Steve Jobs. Holding the attention of millions of viewers around the world, Jobs used the tried and tested 3-act storytelling structure to launch each of their latest tech products from their first Mac computer to iPods and iPhones. 

Now this structure might seem too simple but that's where it's strength lies. You don't have to overcomplicate things - most Hollywood movies have been based on this simple formula. Let's break it down:

Setup - in act one we get to know the hero and their world that exists before the adventure starts. Think of this as the scene setting portion of the story before their world gets turned upside down...

Confrontation - in act two everything we know gets questioned as a dramatic incident occurs and our hero has to overcome a series of obstacles to achieve their goal. 

Resolution - the ending we crave is good defeating evil and in this final act we see the hero conquer the villain to make the world a better place. 

Tip 3: “An honest tale speeds best being plainly told.” - Shakespeare in Richard III

We love that even Shakespeare is hinting at us to drop the jargon. We all know it to be true but when you're passionate about your topic, it's easy for overcomplicated ideas, language and terminology to slip in. 

So take regular breaks to review your story and consider if it could be easily understood even by a child. That's the true benchmark for simplicity - have you broken the topic down enough or is it still a little confusing.

Tip 4: “The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” - Maya Angelou 

This is an important reminder from the incredibly powerful poet Maya Angelou. We know that for a message to stick it has to evoke an emotion - whether that's compassion, sadness, happiness or even anger. So consider how you can tie your story back to people or ideas that are important to your audience to build that emotional connection. 

Tip 5: “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” - Stephen King

We love this final piece of wisdom from one of the most famous thriller writers of all time. The hardest part is often getting started. Once you start getting your ideas down you'll soon get over the blank page/screen fear!

So there we have it - 5 top storytelling tips from 5 masters of the craft. Giving you a helping hand for every step of your storytelling journey ✨ Which tip was your favorite?

Topics: Storytelling


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