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SparhafocPosts: 1106Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Storytelling

I'm not much of an artist in most respects.

I can draw bears and dragons, but most other animals I draw tend to look like genetically deformed dogs. I spent a year copying the Renaissance masterpieces, painted, sculpted etc., and learned a lot by doing it, but it was clear I was no master.

I can play several instruments to various degrees of proficiency, but I'd never be a master of any of them. I tend to play bizarre instruments I've picked up on my travels, because then people are more interested in the odd sound than whether you're playing it well.

There are many art forms, but I want to talk about storytelling.

To me, it's really what humans are, and all other art forms are ways of telling a story, or a moment thereof, but using something other than just words.

For me, I like words - I've always felt at home with them. They're reliable; they mostly do what you want them to do, just so long as you keep a watchful eye on them.

I have a class where I introduce humans as Homo narravitus (the first point of which is that my Latin is bloody awful) where we look back through material culture left by humans in pre-history, talk about the socio-ecology of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, what they were doing with their days, and how they saw the world. We journey through the early agricultural civilizations, where humans moved in to settlements and grew complex social stratifications and cultures, looking at their art, writing, and sacred architecture as clues into what they pondered, what was intriguing to them, and how they communicated these ideas. We pass through the Iron Age and Classical periods where great works were collated and recorded ideas that were interpreted far and wide, and held as vital to many and varied nations. And eventually we arrive at the modern world, where we have TV, books, Youtube and other devices where we entertain ourselves with stories.

There are many things universal to all humans, regardless of time or location, but to me, the most important in terms of the micro and macro, the individual and the species, is our impetus to tell stories; we simply do it all the time.

Our own lives are essentially long records of events in chronological order, edited when told for convenience, or to highlight an intriguing series of events. Psychologically, events that happen in our proximity, happen to us. When a car crashes and we see it, we say to our loved ones on returning home 'I saw a car crash' as if it's important that the I was there to observe it rather than the event of the crash happening, and the impact of that on another person unknown to our selfish recording device.

Nothing can be more compelling than a story because a story can change the way someone thinks, or encourage them to believe more strongly, or to act upon a feeling or narrated event. Stories hit us exactly where we're weakest, where we're worst at seeing the bigger picture. In film or TV, a successful show is one that makes you feel, where you walk out of the cinema and you feel that the world around you has changed. It's the projection of the story onto the mind of the audience, showing the individual that they can be more, can break the earthly bonds they labour under, and be free to explore a new world full of opportunities.

So if art is about making us feel, making us sense and renewing our senses, then story is the most potent art of all because there is no gap between the form of the art and the psyche - stories are how our brains work; the grammar and syntax of our cognition. While some other art forms make induce a feeling of the transcendent, stories can make you experience a thousand other peoples' feelings of transcendence. But no other art form can instill such breadth and depth of love, hatred, devotion, enmity, and most dangerously of all - belief - than a story.

Stories are very beautiful and dangerous things, and consequently we should hold them in much more respect.
Faith is not a desirable place to make claims from. It is belief in the absence or even contradiction of evidence. If you're going to do religion; learn how to do religion right.
Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:54 pm
AkamiaUser avatarPosts: 67Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:41 pmLocation: Alaska Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Storytelling

As a wannabe storyteller myself, I can relate to this.

I think there was a Star Trek TNG episode that explored the idea of an entire society whose language was nothing but stories.

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The very thing that gives us humans our advanced cognitive abilities can also be our greatest weakness.
Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:02 am
SparhafocPosts: 1106Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: Storytelling

I've been very lucky to be able to monetize this passion. I've worked as head of story on a few TV projects and animated films, and had the fortune to be involved creating quite a few story teams over the last few years.

I still prefer books as the medium, and that's not something I've had time to work on, but I will do one day with luck! :)
Faith is not a desirable place to make claims from. It is belief in the absence or even contradiction of evidence. If you're going to do religion; learn how to do religion right.
Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:19 am
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