I heard Nick Nanton speak at last in Orlando about his book Story Selling. What’s super-cool about Nick is how real he is. He used his own concepts to give us pieces of his life story to start out his talk and then to add color and depth throughout. He has a law degree, but only so he can understand legal concepts in order to make his mark in the entertainment industry. He advises celebrities and creates branded videos to highlight how awesome someone is. He took us through the 4 main types of archetypical plots: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, The Quest, Rebirth. He showed us how Hollywood comes back to these over and over because audiences love them.
My takeaway is to figure out which parts of my life history make sense us use to craft a narrative about myself and what I do. For example, the summer before my senior year in college, studying electrical engineering, I had an internship trying to teach math and science at a day camp in Trenton, New Jersey in a neighborhood with very little economic opportunity. One morning I arrived early and watched the breakfast process. The littlest kids were about 5 years old and had a really hard time standing still and in a straight line. The junior counselors (maybe 13 years old) were yelling at the little ones and the adults were yelling at the junior counsellors to try to keep order. I was moved to tears by the differences between their lives and mine. My decision in that moment was that designing smaller, cheaper, faster computer chips wasn’t for me, that I needed to use my human skills to make a difference for people. I changed my class schedule for my senior year to minimize the technical and instead of focus on sociology, women’s studies, politics and education and then spent more than 15 years working in non-profits and government, trying to make a difference directly with those who needed help.
I look forward to honing this skill over time. I’d love to hear your comments on this. Ted@TedSarvata.com
See also: More Story Selling