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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lessons In Storytelling from a Three-Minute Viral Video

I've seen this video around a lot the last few days, but usually when I'm checking out social media, I'm popping in for a minute or two. I scan statuses, tweets, whatnot, but I don't always watch the great videos people post. This one was absolutely worth is. Watch it. Then let's discuss how it shows excellent storytelling in three short minutes. (Don't worry. It's in Thai, but there are subtitles. Not that you'd need them actually...)

This video is three-minutes long and tells an excellent story. Why?

1. No long explanations
In three minutes, the makers of the video didn't have time for long-winded back story--there is still back story and setup, but we're shown exactly what we need and no more. The little boy needed medicine. The man paid for it and the boy runs away. We see by his giving the homeless man food too that this man regularly gives back to others.

2. The characters are relatable
The storytelling makes us care about the characters--about the little boy who's so desperate to help his mom he will steal medicine; a kind man and the daughter who would do anything for him. Two and a half minutes with them is all it took to make me cry.

3. The story has a familiar structure
First we have the brief set-up, followed by the catalyst (the father's illness) that moves the story into the second act (how will the daughter pay for the bills?). It seems like she will lose everything to save her father (conflict, something to fight for). Then the story resolves as the twist is revealed--the doctor is the little boy the kind man helped out all those years ago.

In three minutes. Stories don't have to be long, sweeping tales to be epic. This video proves it.

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About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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