Chapter 1: Telling Stories
You Tell Stories All the Time
- Our own personal stories are real; they are nonfiction.
- Reality TV shows are highly orchestrated and often partially fictionalized pieces of
- Real stories reveal actual people living through the thrills and pitfalls of unadulterated
events in their lives without the interference of a script doctor.
STORYTELLING OR NEWS REPORT
- Traditional news stories use the inverted pyramid:
o Resolution details context reactions what’s next
- News articles and typical television reports are content to inform viewers.
- Storytelling not only informs viewers but also engages them emotionally.
- Your story evokes problems you yourself face.
- You might begin by exposing the problem. Then you might go on to explain what you did
about overcoming the problem.
- Your tale features a sensitive character (you) facing an obstacle to overcome.
The Rise and Fall of Freytag’s Pyramid
- Exposition rising action climax falling action resolution
- Exposition provides an introduction to the character(s), the conflict, and the basic setting.
- Rising action reveals the complication in more detail.
- The climax is the moment of greatest tension in a story, a turning point in addressing the
conflict or complication.
- Falling action is what unravels after the climax; the story is now heading toward its
- The resolution is where complications are resolved and the story comes to an end.
- You need to set up your story–characters, issues, location–in a way that allows events to
NARRATIVE VERSUS NEWS STORY
An Idea Is Not a Story
- Your first goal is to find the story in your idea: how to turn an idea into a story.
Good Storyteller or Bore?
- Good videojournalists do not just report facts. They employ classic storytelling
techniques to present accounts about real people. - Videojournalism applies the fictional storyteller’s techniques of character development
and story arc to relate real-life tales.
Kingsley’s Crossing: ACompelling Narrative
- “Kingsley’s Crossing” is about a poor young Cameroonian man who is driven to emigrate
to Europe to find a better life because he faces poverty and stagnation at home.
- Photojournalist Oliver Jobard was vividly aware of the wave ofAfrican immigrants
desperately seeking better lives and economic opportunities in Europe.
- Jobard decided to document on person making the treacherous, illegal journey from
Africa to Europe.
o The documentary combines Jobard’s still images with a videotaped interview of
- ACT I: Introduce your characters; give us a reason to care about them and introduce key
layers of conflict.
- ACT II: Reveal complication and how it layers and intensifies until the crisis.
- ACT III: Resolve the conflict/crisis, and finish the story in a satisfying way.
Complication and Resolution
- Good stories typically contain layers of complications.
- Complications can be good or bad:
o Complication is any problem that a person encounters.
o The problem must be basic enough and significant enough that most people can
relate to it.
o Any change in the character or situation that resolves the complication.
o Most daily problems don’t have resolutions and therefore don’t lend themselves to