4 frank talks on the practice of storytelling

Well-told stories – in the right formats – can move people to action on important social issues.

In this frank playlist, we have gathered the talks of several expert practitioners who share their tips for telling compelling stories well.


The Filmmakers
Kristina Robbins & Marg Safinia: Getting Beyond the Choir.

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Robbins and Safinia believe movies can grow your cause and help you reach the audience you want – not just the audience you already have. Nobody wants to be preached to; rather, Robbins and Safini say that if you want people to listen to you, you need to make a movie. Movies evoke deeper feelings, and make us question in ways that other storytelling strategies cannot. In their talk, Robbins and Safinia outline what it takes to make an effective movie that will highlight your cause and get your desired audience to act.


The Social Marketing Strategist
Elizabeth Carger: Metaphors We Give By

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Elizabeth Carger shares the neuroscience behind strategic storytelling. Carter says that people think in images, not words. So to reach people, you need to translate ideas into images through metaphorical storytelling to make neurological connections. Doing so will create deep connections between your message and your audience and even move them to action.


The Journalist
David Bornstein: Problems Shout, Solutions Whisper

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David Bornstein explains that traditional journalism only tells people what’s going wrong. This gloom and doom approach leaves people overwhelmed. Bornstein says that people need a sense of efficacy to engage with a clear call to action. Journalists need to show the bright spots and an aspirational path to change. Doing so not only makes people feel like they can be successful, but also increases the chances that your story will go viral.


The Documentarian:
Ross Kauffman: finding the heart of social change

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Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker Ross Kauffman talks about his experience producing “Born into Brothels”—a film that follows documentary photographer Zana Briski who teaches photography to eight children born into Calcutta brothels. The children use photography to document their experiences on the streets, and improve their lives. Kauffman emphasizes “inviting people to emotion” rather than calling them to action. His advice to anyone trying to achieve social impact: “…just try to reach out to people and let them feel. Once people feel, then they will come together.”

I want more frank talks!

Posted: October 15, 2015