Before continuing on with the 14 tips I gathered from Wayne Freedman’s presentation on storytelling, I thought you might enjoy this video of him produced by Warren Mayer. In under 60 seconds hear what Freedman’s advice is to journalism students.

Below is the continuation of the previous post sharing tips I garnered from Freedman’s keynote at the day-long workshop, the “National Academy of Television and Academy Sciences (“NATAS”) Storytelling Workshop.” It was put together by video journalist and photographer Jeremy Carroll and held at the American Broadcasting Company-owned station, KGO-TV, in San Francisco.

5) Let the interviewee find his comfort zone in the interview. This could be by finding a comfortable place to sit. Move the subject around the room, like by the wall, by a window, etc.

6) Find a reason to make people want to talk.

7) Use keywords. When Freedman’s on-camera he said he doesn’t have his script written out, he uses keywords.

8) Throw in visual appeal. Change focal length and mix up your shots with long, medium, close, super close, super long. Shoot in different places. Add more people to the shot.

9) The news story should be able to stand on its own – have a beginning, middle and end. Introduce people by their name (since interest in a person brings interest in the story). Set the scene … “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Add a surprise reveal.

10) Use a Thesaurus! If you get writer’s block use a thesaurus to help you. A thesaurus can also help you identify themes and ways to open or close your story.

11) Bring your own wisdom to your work. Listen to things you say to yourself and put those observations into your story! Come up with simple truths. That add universal appeal to your story. “One small step for man, one giant leap for Mankind,” is an example.

12) Situate yourself for success. “Luck is only good when you’re ready for it and prepared to take care of it when it happens,” said Freedman. He tells the story of when he covered baseball player Cal Ripken, Jr. He didn’t get an interview in advance with Ripken but found a spot next to stand next to Rifken’s wife. When he came to be with his wife, Freedman was able to ask him a few questions. He got the story.

13) People usually have the ability to remember three facts. Three. There’s more to a story than the 5 W’s (where, what, when, why, who).

14) The final tip is a flip from what we’re used to hearing. “You’re only as good as your worst story,” said Freedman. “It’s about time, distance, and people management.”

You can find Freedman’s book at Amazon.

More helpful storytelling tips from other video journalists continued after lunch. Stay tuned and I’ll share those notes in the future.

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