Friday, April 20, 2012

Should A Good Brand Story Chart Like A Good Movie?

We owe this beautiful visualization of the story of "Pulp Fiction" to Robert McKee, the creative writing instructor known for his popular "Story Seminar". McKee is the author of Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting

Rather than simply handling mechanical aspects of fiction technique such as plot or dialogue taken individually, McKee examines the narrative structure of a work and what makes the story compelling or not. This could work equally as well as an analysis of any other genre or form of narrative, whether in screenplay or any other form, and could also encompass nonfiction works as long as they attempt to tell a story.

Much more about his approach and how it relates to charting a story through the visualization technique above -- simply called "Story Charting" -- can be found here:

I have absolutely fallen in love with Story Charting. And I can't help wonder if a brand's story can be visualized in the same way.

Some obvious questions arise when one tries apply Story Charting to brand work. For instance, good stories rely heavily on creative tension and while planned failures are okay for a movie storyline, not so much for a brand. What, then, is an acceptable substitution for the "Negative" space on the chart? And does a brand really aim to culminate in a climax, as plots in the Story Chart do? And does it really make sense for a brand have multiple plots operating at the same time? 

Stay tuned. I don't have answers yet, but this certainly is a worthwhile and fun venture to tackle.