Learning & Creativity, Literacy, Post MA areas of interest

Andrew Stanton at TED on storytelling

WALL-E (2008) Directed by Andrew Stanton

Toy Stories and Wall-E – quality storytelling. Below is the writer, Andrew Stanton, at TED explaining his craft. I particularly like what he has to say about the need to seduce the audience into caring, the purity of stories without dialogue and also the importance of leaving gaps and withholding information. We create and listen to narratives all day long in business contexts, in academia, in education, in politics and more overtly in anecdotal chitchat and daily media interactions. Aspects of film education explicitly cater to our need to carve some cognitive sense out of everyday chaos and make it affective, so why not orchestrate more of that in the curriculum?

Here are a couple of transcriptions from his talk. (See full transcription here)

“The children’s television host Mr. Rogers always carried in his wallet a quote from a social worker that said, “Frankly there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you know their story.” And the way I like to interpret that is probably the greatest story commandment, “Make me care.”

Please, emotionally, intellectually, aesthetically… make me care.

We all know what it’s like to not care. You’ve gone through hundreds of TV channels, just switching, channel after channel. And suddenly you actually stop on one, it’s already halfway over, but something’s caught you and you’re drawn in. That’s not by chance, that’s by design.

“Storytelling without dialogue. It’s the purest form of cinematic storytelling. It’s the most inclusive approach you can take. It confirmed something I really had a hunch on, is that the audience actually wants to work for their meal. They just don’t want to know that they’re doing that. That’s your job as a storyteller, is to hide the fact that you’re making them work for their meal. We’re born problem solvers. We’re compelled to deduce and to deduct, because that’s what we do in real life. It’s this well-organized absence of information that draws us in. There’s a reason that we’re all attracted to an infant or a puppy. It’s not just that they’re damn cute; it’s because they can’t completely express what they’re thinking and what their intentions are. And it’s like a magnet. We can’t stop ourselves from wanting to complete the sentence and fill it in.”



3 thoughts on “Andrew Stanton at TED on storytelling

  1. Dear Michelle,
    Thanks for your work, words, ideas, research and kindness last Tuesday at Madrid (Espacio Telefonica) I Encuentro Cine y Educación. There are lots of things to do, come on!
    Best regards,

    Posted by Teresa Plana | September 8, 2012, 7:59 pm

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