While storytelling is somehow a buzz word right now, the art of telling a good story is still not easy. And while I learn more about it everyday, I want to share with you five tips that helped me becoming better and more focused in my storytelling.
1. Know your story
The first and maybe most important part of every storytelling. Know the story, know the details, know the people involved. That is the only way to tell a good story. Fullstop. Research as much as you can before, be open as much as possible while you work on the story and try to keep as much flexibility when things develop in a different direction.
2. Keep it simple
The first tendency might be to try to fit in everything. Forget about that. To tell “everything” is impossible. Focus on some keyaspects and make sure to tell them right and powerful. How much you want to tell of course also depends of teh format you want to use afterwards. When it should be a photoessay of ten pictures, you will have a hard time to tell “everything”. When you want to create an interactive webdocumentary, there are way more possibilities to tell at least more aspects of the story with more depth.
3. Be clear about what you want to tell
The more you know what is important to your story, the more you can focus on this aspects in your visual storytelling. It gives you the flexibility to spot those moments that are mandatory for the story and bring things into correlation in your pictures. When you know what you need to communicate it’s much easier than when you have to figure it out solely on location. Developing a story on location or out of a pile of random material is tough business.
4. Story first, aesthetics second
You want to tell a story, not make an aesthetic picture. When it comes together and you tell the story with an aesthetic picture, even better. Aesthetics can help you reach people and communicate your story in a powerful way. Just don’t let aesthetics drive you storytelling. It’s the story that matters most.
5. Be close
And with close I’m not talking of physical closeness. This might come along with it, but most important is the connection you have with the people in your story, the trust and the relation. It’s easy: the more you can gain trust, the more access you will get and the more access you have, the more chances you have to tell the story in a decent way. Otherwise you story will always be in danger of being superficial and with the danger to work more with imagination and stereotypes than really telling something.
What are your tips for better visual storytelling? Let us know…