Our first tryst with something we love is always a playful endeavour. We discover how much we love something through hours of what feels like effortless play – be it writing a blog or learning to code or mastering the art of storytelling. But building an expertise requires hours and years of what psychologists call “deliberate practice”, where you work on specific aspects of a skill that you would like to improve, putting in a conscious effort that will not feel like play, but more like hard work. Reading up on the fundamental principles of what you are building an expertise on is a good way to learn more, as well as understand yourself better. Here are some great works that will help you learn more about the art of telling stories with video.
MacArthur Genius Award-winning psychologist Angela Duckworth shows how people achieve remarkable things by practising what she calls grit. It is a wonderful read to go along with your journey to master your craft. it gives you a clear picture of the path ahead for you, the psychological road blocks and how to face them. She does not fall back on the mundane refrain of “Success is about hardwork”, but breaks down into understandable components the different aspects of what it takes to become a master at your craft.
If there was one sentence to describe what Robert Cialdini’s masterwork is about, it would be “What makes people say ‘yes’ “. We live in a time where people’s attention is currency, so how do you persuade people to invest their time in what you make? How do you convince another YouTuber to do a collaboration? How do you negotiate a fair deal with an MCN? Robert Cialdini covers it all, teaching you the basic rules of human nature that can be used wisely to get what you want.
Want to understand more about how persuasion works? Here’s Dilbert creator Scott Adam’s on how persuasion won the election for Trump.
Going to a film school should probably be the last thing on your list as a new age storyteller. But, since cinema as a medium has existed for over a 100 years, its always good to know what works and what doesn’t work when telling stories that move (literally and figuratively). This book gives you a crash course on all that’s thought in film school with a $16 investment.
Watching a Pixar movie is life affirming. It is a paragon of modern storytelling – engaging and entertaining stories that have immense depth and meaning. Up was voted the number one movie in many places across the USA, as one example of their reach and storytelling power. The author breaks down the structure and components that make a Pixar movie great. A marvellous book to get inspired and write your own mesmerising tales.
Pixar also has a free set of classes in Khan Academy that takes you deeper into the process of doing what they do.
Your YouTube channel is the product that people are investing their valuable time on. So how do you make your content memorable enough for people to come back again? How do you get them hooked? Nir Eyal gives you a framework that he calls the Hook model – A four-step process to getting people back, again and again, to consume what you are creating, without using ads or expensive PR.
Are there any other books you would recommend to someone learning the art of telling stories with moving images? Let us know in the comments below.