The Storytelling Formula

At Cognitive Films, even though we primarily concentrate on documentary video production, we do our best to apply storytelling principals in both the planning phase and the editing room after the shoot. By building to a resoultion (AKA Theme) and layering the information in logically, a documentary can edited to follow basic story structure. Even when relying on unscripted interviews, a skilled interviewer can craft questions that help the “characters” collectively tell the story in the editing room. If you examine award-winning documentaries, you will find that most of them are edited to allow events to unfold logically toward a resolution.

Digging deeper into storytelling:

I recently stumbled across this great little collection of video lectures from the Life, Universe, and Everything Symbosium, a conference for fantasy/science fiction writers in Utah. Although the content is geared toward writers, the content is useful in a multitude of storytelling scenario. Any filmmaker, presenter, or business owner that is interested in learning to tell better stories will consider these lectures very interesting. Warning: Long attention span zone ahead. These videos are lengthy and detailed…

Dan Wells on Story Structure

In this presentation, Dan Wells ties his simplistic storytelling formula to popular books and movies to prove that many of the best stories are based on a common structure.  To build a story using this formula, you have to start at the resolution, and build up from there.

How to Write a Story that Rocks

This is a great workshop where John Brown and Larry Correia, both horror writers, share their story-building process.  Check it out to get a nuts-and-bolts look into writing a story.  I’ve embedded part 2, because I recommend starting there to get going quickly.

Story Structure and Plot – Advanced Lessons

Bonus: If you have another hour to spare, dig into an advanced storytelling tutorial on story structure and plot. This 12 part youtube series by