Storytelling. Why was I so reluctant to give it a go?

The power of storytelling had always piqued my curiosity, but my fear of failure held me back from giving it ago.

Whilst researching for another project, this quote from ‘The Process is the Inspirition’ By House Industries, spoke deeply to this problem.

“There’s a reason to shuffle the deck between card games — knowing what's coming next makes the came boring and predictable — it’s the allure of uncertainty and risk that makes the experience worthwhile. Constantly re-shuffling new interests, techniques, relationships, and nuggets of knowledge usually throws a wrench in our best-laid plans. Our curiosity and short attention spans always seem to get the best of us, adding an almost daily element of chaos in the studio. While logic would have us seek comfort in predictability, we’ve learned that things get way more interesting when we embrace the chaos, wherever it leads. Is this approach good business? Probably not. But that’s where the magic is.”

In one of my recent projects (linked at the end of this post), I was set with the challenge of raising awareness and promoting a homeless charity in East London.

I experimented, iterated, and toiled with many different approaches.

But they all felt too safe.

Yes, it was a topic that required a lot of research, care, and proper intention.

But I didn’t want to produce something that I felt too comfortable in the process of making.

I’ve always wanted to include some element of story into my work but never knew where to start.

Films like La Haine, Your Name, Interstellar, and the best series ever made, Mr. Robot, have moved me in ways I can’t even explain unless you have experienced the stories yourself.

I set myself a brief within the project to find some way to change people’s perspectives on homelessness.

I saw this as an opportunity to use the story and took the risk.

I was entering a completely different world.

With a deadline creeping up and stress building, I felt so out of my depth.

I was attempting to make an outcome in a medium I had never tried before, looking for any help I picked up Lisa Cron’s book.

Story or Die.

The book perfectly broke down the power of storytelling, including easy tools to implement.

The main thing I took away from the book is that you can use a story to disguise hard facts that people would normally dodge or ignore and you can package them into a trojan horse that makes its way into the mind of your target audience potentially changing their world view.

Once I discovered this it was a game-changer.

It made me want to use storytelling in almost everything I do and learn the art of pulling people in.

What I took away from this project most wasn’t about storytelling itself.

It was more about taking on the challenge of feeling completely out of my depth, in a new way of working and embracing the chaos that came along with overcoming the learning curve with a deadline approaching.

It got me to confront this fear of failure that has stopped me from stepping into the unknown of learning a completely new skill within a live project.

Now, I’d rather have the results rejected for something I tried than feel the regret of not even attempting it in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong I haven’t got it all figured out, but I’m still here learning as I go along.

If you made it to the end of this post, have a think of that one thing that’s been on your mind that you really want to try but been reluctant to give a go and find a way to use in your work or just have a go at learning about it openly online.

Feel free to check out the project on my website.

https://www.joshhester.co.uk/all-work/999-club-comic-leaflet

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