The guides we use
Design For Behaviours
What people do with stories is just as important as the story itself. Start by identifying the behaviours you want to see. Make a list and then prioritise. Understand what obstacles stand in the way of these behaviours. Design your story for the most important behaviours and help your audience by removing obstacles.
Protagonists Not Subjects
Protagonists should be active, not passive. Where possible allow them to tell their own story rather than being a subject in yours. Putting their voice at the centre will ensure their actions and decisions drive the story forward. Things shouldn’t just happen to them. Help the audience see themselves in the protagonist’s story, and make sure you include a range of perspectives.
Attention is a spectrum
Attention for stories used to be clearly defined. A sitcom or soap would generally be 30 minutes in length. A drama would be 60 minutes. And a film 90-120 minutes. Anything longer or shorter would be considered niche. Digital changed all this. Now audience attention sits on a spectrum. You now expect large audiences for 6-second stories as well as 10 separate stories designed to be binged in one or two sessions. Design for the context in which your audience engages with your stories.
There is no silver bullet
There is no silver bullet for storytelling. Great stories feel like they contain magical ingredients that keep people watching, listening or reading. But the truth is that great stories are built upon solid structures. The combination of narrative and structure is what makes good stories great. Getting this right takes time and effort. Do the work.
Don’t make comms, make culture
Stories should be pieces of culture that people choose to engage with. The difference between comms and culture is effort. Working hard on shaping stories people can become fans of will save you the effort needed to get people to listen to the communication messages you create.