Julian Friedmann Talks About The Mystery of Storytelling on TEDx Ealing

by Barry Andersson1 Comment

This is an interesting TEDx talk about storytelling. With that said the main thrust of this video is aimed at those that want to write scripts. Not knowing what the overall universe of the readers of planet5D are screenwriters I wasn't sure it was worth posting this video.

However, after watching the video there are some great bits on story telling that can be applied to everyone.

Here are some of the highlights from the video:

* Storytelling's Primary Focus is on your audience not your characters.
This is more important now that ever. Storytelling in the video market today is every changing. The length and delivery of video no longer follows industry standards. We are all trying to find ways to capture an audience. So better understanding some of these techniques can help you try new things.

* Human behavior: Why do people do what they do?
This is very important since most videos still have people as subjects. The better we understand human behavior makes us better creators. We can help shape characters/subjects/actors or better understand how to show behaviors that will engage an audience.

* Human Motivation

* Why do millions of people want to write?
If the desire is that great to write- why do people do it? Especially people who write and don't get paid for it.

* George Orwell once stated the reasons “Why I write”
#1- Shear Egotisism
#2- Immortality
#3- Getting back at people who put you down.
#4- Trying to make the world a better place

* Samuel Johnson: “No man but a blockhead ever wrote but for money.”
How can you find ways to translate your writing into money. It is great to practice your craft but are there ways you can work on it while you are getting paid?

* Stories define us- not language
Animals have language- but they don't have stories.

This is one of the most interesting parts of the video. We feel that language units and divides us. However, if you think back to Charlie Chaplin or my favorite, Buster Keaton, they told stories and became world famous. It wasn't what they said that impacted the world- it is the stories they told. Have you ever thought about the difference? I hadn't until I watched this video.

* The three act structure is a function as to how the brain works
Again, this struck me big time. When he discussed formulas for stories and people who argue against formulas. It isn't necessarily a formula for stories but rather a function of the human brain. If you choice to ignore the three act structure you are fighting against the base function of the human brain.

Watch the video and don't focus on the screenwriting aspects (assuming you are not a screenwriter) and focus on the aspects that can help you become a better storyteller.

The Mystery of Storytelling: Julian Friedmann at TEDxEaling

Via Youtube Description:

How we tell stories seems to be a mysterious process that millions around the world want to be able to do, but 99.9% effectively fail. Why is it so hard for storyteller and audience to be one? What we communicate can change the lives of the writer and the audience. However, why stories matter and how to tell them better may not be as mysterious as it seems. Julian Friedmann has worked with writers for over 40 years; he believes understanding that storytelling is more about the audience than the writer will result in better storytelling.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

What did you think? Is he right about storytelling?

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. Barry, excellent blog and video.  Thanks for posting.  Julian’s message is both relevant and important to all filmmakers – not just writers.  We need to remember that cameras only record images – they don’t make stories.

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