On Friday last week I met a storyteller.

It was part of a research brief from one of my clients where I had to try to understand how stories get distilled and told over the years. What makes a good story great? What makes a story stick? What makes a story last and spread?

It was an interesting meeting – a 40 year old theatrical storyteller and me, in Brighton, as he brought his work to life. Throwing his arms up in the air, removing his shoes to illustrate a point, banging his feet on the floor and dancing with his hands. In any other situation I would have felt embarrassed by a companions behaviour but in this situation I felt captivated. A man who was so passionate about what he did he wanted to bring it to life for me and, for me an insight into where creative so often downfalls – practicality.

He retold my clients brand story without any thought for if it other than making it exciting – creating a cliff hanger and, for me, I was hooked! He didn’t consider if it would be politically correct to discuss the brand in the concept of fang eating vampires, he questioned it’s rodent origins, explored “creatures of the night” and did everything, in the real world, I would have a fit at our creative department for churning out but, it made me realise one thing. The constraints we place on ourselves as both agencies and stemming from client briefs do stiffle the imagination.

We need to start with total creative freedom and then reign ideas back in but thats an ideal world. In the real world ideas cost money and 1 week exploring an idea that you know wont get signed off is a waste of business time and resource but – the million dollar question – is that what’s stopping great work from coming forward and how do you make the client see worth in that exploratory time….?


Posted on October 5, 2008, in Masters. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Caroline Teunissen

    I met with story tellers too not so long ago researching for an elearning project. It was wonderful, so creative and I felt my mind jumping for joy to be let of the leash.

    Can you not persuade your company to set up a lab where you can test ideas and just be creative.
    The great thing is the accountant can off set the lab against tax – so its win win all round.

    Just a thought …

    Loving your work!

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