Musings on Being the Artist of Your Day

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14 Tips from Wayne Freedman on Storytelling

The keynote speaker has won 51 Emmy Awards from the Northern California Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. That was plenty of endorsement for me to see Wayne Freedman as he led the first half of a workshop I attended where six San Francisco television journalists shared their tips on telling news stories.

The official event title of the day-long was 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.

The list of presenters included four video journalists:
-Wayne Freedman of KGO-TV
-Jeremy Carroll, photographer for NBC11
-Da Lin of KRON-TV
-Garvin Thomas of NBC Bay Area Proud

and television reporters:
-Julie Watts of KPIX (CBS)
-Noelle Walker of KTVU

Freedman’s book, It Takes More Than Good Looks To Succeed at Television News Reporting, is now in it’s second edition (2011), and required in many college journalism programs in the U.S., Canada and Europe. He shared some information on storytelling that’s worthy of sharing:

1) Feature writing techniques may work better for many television news stories than the traditional news story structure. Instead of putting the most important relevant facts first and the details later, tell the story with a beginning, middle, and end. And add an element of surprise or a big reveal.

Freedman gave several examples of how storytelling is strengthened by not going in chronological order of the actual event and moving elements around. For example, a story he did about a woman’s freeze-dried dog. The order of reveal is not chronological.

2) Storytelling is about structure and timelines. There’s not one timeline, there’s three:

a) the order of events;
b) the order which you shot those events; and
c) the order you put the timelines in the story.

Move the timelines around to add more interest, which changes the structure.

3) Set the Scene. This might be done with one line or ten lines. Don’t give away the story with the first line or begin with the punch line.

4) The viewer needs to have an emotional investment in the subject. Television is a visceral medium. “The road to the head goes through the gut,” said Freedman. Tell stories through people. Compelling stories are visceral stories. “Visceral” means appealing to our instincts more than our intellect.

If the viewer cares about the person they’ll care about the story. Find a person to tell a story. “Sometimes you can tell two or three stories through one person.”

Read more about this Wayne Freedman’s tips in my next post.

You might also like:
7 Elements to Include in Digital Storytelling
4 Simple Tools for Effective Storytelling
Where Do Opals Come From?

3 Reasons Letterpress Lives On

“Hatch Show Print takes me back to my early performance days. Lots of those great traditions have been lost, but I’m happy to see that Hatch still lives on.” – B.B. King, blues musician

If you need the name of a print shop to identify with letterpress Hatch Show Print (“HSP”), is the place. Established in 1879, it is one of the oldest letterpress shops in the United States and one of the reasons letterpress lives on.

“Advertising without posters is like fishing without worms.” – The Hatch Brothers

Over a hundred years ago this Nashville treasure produced posters for vaudeville, circus, and minstrel shows. Since then they’ve become part of the Country Music Hall of Fame and produced posters for Elvis Presley, Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, and ColdPlay and many more. Check out a book about Hatch Show Print on Amazon.

For more about Hatch Show Print check out The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service’s story on American Letterpress.

The second reason letterpress lives on is its tactile appeal. In this age of slick advertisements printed on glossy stock, letterpress embraces the look and feel of paper with grain and satisfies the human sensitivity to texture.

You can feel the debossing of the paper. Letterpress shops like Boxcar Press in Syracuse, NY embrace these techniques.

The third reason letterpress lives on is the use of the photopolymer plate. A line drawing can be photo-imaged to make it’s reverse image on film which is then burned onto a photopolymer plate. This process is described quite well in the Three Red Hens blog.

In a video under two minutes Matthew Wengerd of A Fine Press and Swan City Press shares a little about photopolymer plates.

Cody Langford of It’s Fancy Letterpress Studio in Missouri, shows the actual step-by-step process in his Youtube video.

It’s not accident that the resurgence vinyl records, slient movies, and letterpress are overlapping. We’re discovering all sorts of ways to take a break from the “high technology intoxication zone” (a term coined by author and social forecaster John Naisbitt), aren’t we?

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