Story

This week I am in Newcastle at the #ThinkingDigital conference.  I am spending the first two days on the Robert Mckee Story seminar, this is a condensed version of his famous 4 day course.  Robert is a Hollywood Story Doctor, until today I did not know that was something that even existed.  Essentially, he is a god of Story telling.  So far, his seminar is fantastic, he makes a complex subject quite digestible and entertaining.  Largely my fellow attendees are writers, I would guess that I am probably the only digital media person there, more should come, they might just learn something useful.

Whatever your chosen career I think there is something we can all learn from this course, at best the art telling stories well could change your life and worst understanding the character that you play in your own life is worth some thought.  At some points I forgot whether he was speaking about real life or film, the fact when we watch good films we connect with them and understand them on a personal level, so the truths in characters are reflections of real behaviour and emotions.  He talks about Story being the organising principle of the mind, it is how we remember things and make sense of the past and future.  My favourite quote of the day ‘What lies on the surface lies’ this about people showing you the character that they want you to see, not actually who they are, this is something we see every day in our lives, especially at work i would think!.

Throughout the day I was thinking about how I could apply what I was learning to what I do at Mindshare. I think there are paralels between the process a writer users and the process a media planner could use to do better work.  When we plan media we plan how a consumer will come into contact with our clients story, having a clear structure and understanding of this process makes the communication more powerful.  To plan well the planner must have real insight into life, into brands and into media.  They must have an intense knowledge of the consumer and be able to imagine how they will react and respond to the communications story we share with them.  They must understand the conflict and value change that the communication is trying to achieve.  Finally to be the best the planner must have deep passion for what they are doing and be in pursuit of perfection.

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