If they had two brain cells (so it’s already a strawman), our news media would pull a lot more STORYTELLERS onto their Talking Head Panels.
Yeah, sure, journalists and other ‘doodlers’ are ‘storytellers’ in that they’re ‘trying’ to tell a story — but they always tell a story more like someone to whom stories get told.
What I mean is — they keep hanging their story on details that won’t hold the weight of the larger story — and the problem is — THERE’S ALWAYS A LARGER STORY. The pieces of a mosaic are each important — but you STILL have to see the mosaic as a whole (to appreciate the ‘story’ it’s telling) — and see how each of those little pieces fit in.
Storytellers — good ones get to be good ones because they learn the First Rule of Writing (when talking about characters): You have to KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THEM before you really start writing them. Otherwise you’ll be writing about some other character. And what’s the point of doing that?
So, storytellers (as I’m ‘defining’ them here) KNOW — as a matter of craft — that they must see a character from every conceivable angle.
That means the storyteller has to know absolutely what happened in their past — especially those specifics that brought them to their present — and will (within the boundaries of what the audience will accept — because of how the character has been laid out) can (or, at least could) happen in their future.
Everyone’s read or heard or watched a story where a character suddenly does something completely out of, well, character — and the story never works after that.
Or you get to the ending and the tied-with-a-bow last beat strains credulity because it just doesn’t smell, taste or feel, in any way, real. Yeesh!
So the reader puts down the book or the audience member heads out to their car feeling less impressed than they were or might have been. They might even walk away feeling like the storyteller wasted their time. If you can’t get the characters right, you can’t get the ending right. And a storyteller who can’t get the ending right ain’t much of a storyteller.
End of the day (the beginning of it too)? It’s all about characters. Nothing else matters. Everything flows from real, human characters — their problems and how they resolve them (believably). That’s what stories are. And we especially like it when we see a clear ‘arc’ for at least one of our key characters. We want to see them learn, or get revealed — or get punished.
Storytellers would have told the rest of the talking heads on the panel that their understanding of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Ivanka & Jared, Kellyanne, Paul Manafort, Mike Flynn, Mike Pence, Carter Page (the doofus who isn’t a doofus) — the whole rotten cast of Bond Villain rejects — was piss poor at best.
Any REAL examination of ANY of those characters — pulling them apart and getting down to the marrow in their bones so as to understand them — would have resulted in a far, FAR more thorough, detailed — AND ACCURATE — understanding of not just those characters ARE but how they fit in to the LARGER PICTURE AS A WHOLE.
I refer you back to my mosaic analogy.
If you start with Vlad Putin — the instigator of all this — and trace his motives, his FULL background details (including his deeply religious bent) you begin to see a ‘strategy’. A world view that begins to assume a kind of twisted awfulness when you realize how very much of it we’re now experiencing as REAL LIFE.
For instance — Syria isn’t a country to him — it’s a piece of real estate he needs to 1) PROJECT POWER into the Mediterranean (including a warm water port) and 2) ALLY with a Local Tribe Member (Assad) who will GIVE Putin that real estate he needs whilie also getting him closer to removinig The Infidels from Jerusalem. Yeah — Putin’s really THAT religious down deep.
A good storyteller would know that — and build that in to everything he or she thought and then said about the man.
Thanks to Donald Trump & The Republican Party And, if you track each and every character in THAT group — you begin to see how Putin could, would & DID spot them, play them & use them to get where we are — to what HE wants.
Nothing about this story should be shocking — to anyone. That it is shockng speaks more to the piss poor quality of the storytelling we’ve been getting than to us or the story.
Chrissakes! Any — okay — let’s open the club up — any half decent storyteller coulda told ya that.