Sometimes, It’s BEST To ‘Think Like’ A STORYTELLER…

If you want to have a shot at being a successful storyteller, you need to have a better grasp of how people actually tick than most other people.

Storytellers who don’t get human beings right are soon employed doing other things — storytelling being out of their range.

As any reader or audience member can tell you:  The instant a character behaves out-of-character?  The game’s over and the reader or audience member has already turned on you, hating you for wasting their time.

So storyteller HAVE TO get people right or they won’t be storytellers for long.

If you bore in on the PEOPLE in THIS story — who they really are, why they really do the awful things they do — it’s not hard at all to figure out what’s going on here.

Vladimir Putin isn’t a mystery.  He’s a professional spy — a SPY MASTER in fact, a conservative with a religious streak in him a mile wide.  What he WANTS isn’t a mystery either: He wants to restore Greater Russia to a place of ‘prominence’ and power.  Putin also wants more money (cos, apparently, he’s not nearly rich enough).

And Putin wants Russia to be a player.

Donald Trump isn’t a normal president, he’s an abomination.  He’s a liar.  He’s a TRAITOR and a thief.

Donald Trump’s family aren’t normal either.  They’re all corrupt.

Mitch McConnell & Paul Ryan aren’t patriots, they’re POISON.

 

As any storyteller will ‘tell you’ — real human beings almost never do whatever they do ‘just because’ or ‘for no reason’.  They may lie about why — even to themselves — but there is almost always a very real ‘WHY’ — and if you can bore down to that, you will understand virtually EVERYTHING there is TO understand about that character.

The natural progression from understanding how a character REALLY works is to see how they ACT & REACT while being part of a story.  Are they the protagonist or the antagonist?  Is the story theirs or someone else’s?  Or is this a story that will ‘become’ theirs as it gets told?

The process of telling a story is the process of revealing who a person or a group of people really are.  The whole point of telling a story is to follow a character arc that describes in incredible detail who a person really is — and why they really do what they do.

If the storyteller flubs any of those details, they’ll hear about it.  Audiences’s are just as attuned to how people really are as the storytellers; they want storytellers to remind them how people are, to reveal them in interesting new ways that play with storytelling conventions.  They want to see the world as they understand it — albeit with a few twists that expand their understanding of people and the world.

That’s what too many of our Journalists — storytellers all — continue to get terribly wrong.  They refuse to see all the characters in this piece for who they really are — falling into the trap of trying to describe non-normal characters in ‘normal’ terms instead.  The audience is starting to get antsy though…

We know the MSM storytellers are missing it right now.  They keep insisting on story elements and character details that just don’t ring true.  Because they don’t describe people (and characters) as we KNOW them.

 

The story of Donald Trump, the Republican Party & Election 2016 is only just beginning to get told correctly — with the perspective it demands.

Massive, Big stories are more complex, have more diverse characters with more diverse reasons for doing what they do.  It’s why hewing to storytelling basics are essential.  WHO are we talking about?  WHAT do they really want to accomplish within the context of both the larger story & the smaller one?  And, most importantly — WHY?

The Truth is, we already know WHY Donald Trump has done what he’s done.  He’s a narcissist and a fool.  He’s an egomaniac and a phony.  He’s a danger to everything we hold dear.

He’s the second worst thing to ever happen to America.  How he came to hold the reins of power in his tiny, orange hands — THAT’S the REAL story of our time…

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What Tribalism IS & ISN’T

Our illustrious, observant MSM points out a lot these days how TRIBAL we’ve all become (and how ‘it’s both sides’ fault that we HAVE become so tribal).

As I’m fond of saying on these pages here, if you start from a place of BULLSHIT, you will only ever see BULLSHIT in front of you.  And THAT is top shelf, Grade AAA BULLSHIT.

No, both sides don’t do it.  Both sides are tribal and experience tribalism but not all tribalism is created equal.

Allow me to throw down a metaphor to illustrate:  In my time I have been an ardent Lakers Fan.  During the Kobe Bryant Championship Years, my friends loved to watch the playoff games with me at my house because regardless of how entertaining (or not entertaining) the game itself might be — I was going to put on one hell of a show.  I’m passionate.  At the time, I lived and breathed Lakers.  There were Angelenos who shared my passion and Angelenos who didn’t give a shit and even Angelenos who supported that ‘other’ LA team — the Clippers (and this was during the Donald Sterling ownership days so the Clippers were easy to hate though they were perennial underdogs).

If a tragedy had befallen Los Angeles back then — an earthquake, say (we get those here) — my intense Lakers Tribalism would have been subsumed into Being An Angeleno.  My larger tribe would have taken precedence over my smaller, more local ‘allegiance’.  Logic (and survival instinct) would have dictated it.

Tribalism is natural to any sentient being who sees companionship in another sentient being.  What happens when you add a THIRD sentient being to the mix — that’s what determines how the future tribes in that grouping will play out.  Unless, of course, both sentient beings — and then their third — are all EXACTLY ALIKE.  If THAT’S the case then we’re talking less ‘a tribe’ and more ‘automatons’.  Or maybe just a ‘Tribe’ of ‘Automatons’

Republicans.

Because we live in a ‘Both Sides Do It’ media culture, the assumption is that BOTH KINDS OF ‘TRIBALISM’ ARE EXACTLY ALIKE.  But are they?  Let’s compare —

REPUBLICAN TRIBALISM:  Makeup of Tribe: White, Christian Men principally.  The tribe’s rules & regs are designed to keep White, Christian Male Culture front and center — to keep it as THE DOMINANT CULTURE regardless of the fact that it no longer represents THE MAJORITY of the people in the culture.  In other words, Republican Tribalism seems bent on imposing ITS dying, no longer relevant, completely EXCLUSIVE culture onto the LARGER Culture.

DEMOCRATIC TRIBALISM:  Makeup of Tribe:  Everyone Else.  White, black, brown, Asian, Native American, male, female, LGBTQ, rich, poor, American or willing-to-risk-your-life-to-BECOME-an-American.

When your ‘TRIBE’ is everyone who ISN’T WHITE, CHRISTIAN, MALE?  It means YOUR ‘tribalism’ isn’t quite the same as THE WHITE GUY’S ‘tribalism’.

If DIVERSITY is a ‘tribe’?  Include me in its numbers.  More importantly, where do I send my check so I can get my ‘Membership Card’?

 

 

Dear American News Media: Telling A Story Is Like ‘CLIMBING’ A Mountain – Not Just ‘LOOKING’ At One…

Mountains impress.  They wow you with their existence, their enormity, their majesty, their size.  On the one hand you want to revere it like a sentient creature, on the other, you want to climb it — not so much to master it as just to look it directly in the eye.

You want the mountain to know that you understand how to ‘tell ITS story’…

Because mountains are so big, to climb them, you have to prepare — get in shape, get the right gear — and (here’s the really important part) CHOOSE A PATH.  With a lot of mountains, attacking it directly — climbing straight up — will not work out well (no matter how experienced you are and how much your equipment cost).

So, the experienced mountain climber — having considered all the climbing conditions (which means they’ve familiarized themselves with every bit of the mountain — top to bottom) — will scope out and then plan for a particular ‘line of attack’ that will get them to the top safely and efficiently.

And then there are ‘tourists’ who love to look at mountains from afar.  The view is incredible — ‘comprehensive’ and complete in that we ‘see’ the whole mountain.  We know its shape and size and general ‘affability’ in the sunlight.

It looks ‘approachable’.

swiss-alps-day-trip-from

It’s not.  The picture doesn’t tell you anything specifically about ALTITUDE other than there might be some.  If you’re there, ON the mountain?  That unseen force will dictate a lot of your feelings about the mountain.  Distances, too (from this distance) get distorted; a lateral move across the mountain’s face that looks ‘relatively straightforward’ from way, way, way back here is nowhere near that straightforward when you’re actually clinging to the mountain’s icy face…

That wide shot of the mountain is lovely.  But it doesn’t actually convey a whole lot about the mountain.

 

The first time a story comes over you — over me anyway — there’s a rush of ‘awe’.  It is very much like the feeling I get when driving, say, up the PCH in Big Sur and you see THIS around every curve —

It can stagger you with its Big Picture Awesomeness.  And you could lose yourself forever in any number of its Small Picture Details.

But for all any story’s beauty — or absurdity — or tragedy — you cannot tell it from miles away.  You have to GET INSIDE IT in order to report it.  But (and here’s where the MSM falls down 90% of the time) — You have to report it from inside while always keeping THE WIDE SHOT in your mind’s eye.  You have to see every bit of detail in its larger context — The Big Picture.

And then you have to remind yourself constantly:  What COMPELLED you to tell THIS story in the first place?

When you find your way atop a story — when you look it in the eye and know you found the best possible way to ‘tell it’, there’s always one last challenge awaiting you…

valleeblanche

frenchalps-thumb

How the hell do you get down?

 

 

I Have To Be Honest: TrumpWorld Has My Creative Juices Flowing

A Universal Truth (well, Universal minus 30% of this country) – Donald Trump is the worst thing to happen to this country since the Civil War — and, before that, slavery.

But even Hell On Earth, turns out, has the itsy-bitsiest of silver linings.

Truth is a lot of us who ‘fancy ourselves’ as ‘creatives’ have been on a tear almost ever since Donald Trump declared his candidacy.  We smelled the bullshit wafting off that escalator ride right through our TV screens.  In response, first, we got angry.  Then — being ‘creatives’, we ‘got creative’.

To that effect, my creative juices have led me to what I’m SURE will be a money-making ‘Bonanza’ — The perfect TV series that captures that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ of chaos that marks All Things Trumpian.  Here are some proposed new TV Series:

“THE ODD COUPLE: TRUMPWORLD VERSION”

Jared Kushner & Steve Bannon are forced to share a Federal Prison Cell.

Problem is — Jared’s a neat freak while Steve’s a pig.  As my non-writing producer friends always say – ‘It writes itself’.  In this case, they may be right.  Say the word — and I’ll start typing.  No matter what’s on the page, COMEDY WILL ENSUE…

“THE SECRET AGENT OF F*E*C*K*L*E*S*S”

Ivanka Trump stars as the top dog secret agent at a new quasi-governmental, quasi-legit, quasi-treasonous SPY AGENCY – FECKLESS (The letters don’t ‘stand for’ anything; the agency is just FECKLESS.

Ivanka selfies

Whatever else you can say about Ivanka — she does make Treason look good at least…

“LOLITA-VANKA”

Another show for Ivanka.  Do I really have to go into ‘detail’ about what this show’s about?

Alternative title:  “FATHER KNOWS BEST (IN THE BIBLICAL SENSE)”.

 

More to follow…

 

Is Jeff Sessions Too Stupid For Christianity?

Our ‘sistah-sight’ Mulligan Jesus (which, biased-biased-biased I highly recommend) asks what I think is a very provocative question:  Is THIS MAN — Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions — too stupid for Christianity?

We know already he’s TOO STUPID FOR JESUS… But,, who am I — a very humble atheist — to judge.  That’s I leave it to those better qualified…

Clearly Christianity Is ‘Too Hard’ For Some People (Talking To YOU, Lil Jeff Sessions…)

Spoiler Alert:

Sessions

The answer is YES — DAMN RIGHT!  Jess Sessions IS too stupid for Christianity…

Storming The Bastille — Or Something Like It…

As the screws turn ever tighter on Donald Trump and his Criminal Enterprise — and as they behave in ways that shock more and more Americans to the point of doing something — an ‘Old World’ Battle Cry will be heard:  “Storming the Bastille”.

bastille

It’s come to mean ‘The People Seizing Power’.  But that’s not really what happened.  It did — sort of — just not that simple or uncomplicated.  It’s French, ya know?

A good, snack-sized version of the Whole Story is here —

https://bonjourparis.com/history/real-story-sacking-bastille/

So, please, by all means — check my work!

The short version.  It’s JULY 14, 1789.  France’s economy is in the shitter.  King Louis XVI calls for a new Estates General — the country’s ‘brain trust’:  in addition to the Monarchy, the CLERGY is repped, THE NOBILITY is repped, landed gentry are repped & ‘the people’ are repped.  Except ‘the people’ are unruly.  They want things — a little fairness for starters.  At the meeting called in Versaille for all these groups to hash out France’s future, the People get ‘uppity’ and get locked out of the Estates General.

The People form their own government.  They create their own constitution.  The standoff between The Government and those it governs grows icier.  And then a ‘shot gets fired’ — we don’t who or why — just that it blew everything up.

When Louis XVI surrounded Paris with his army — a show of force meant to cow the people into submission, The People got angry.  But they were afraid too:  The King’s Army had guns.  The People had nothing. But they knew where the King kept his weapons…

At one cafe, a journalist from the sticks got up on a table and shouted:  “Aux armes, Citoyen!‘ (now part of ‘La Marseillaise’) — meaning ‘Let’s get the guns from Les Invalides!’

They did that.  With no resistance, the People stole cannons and muskets.  But, turned out, the King did not keep his GUNPOWDER with the munitions.  Gunpowder, it turned out, was kept AT THE BASTILLE.

And that’s what the mob went to the Bastille looking for.  Gun Powder.  They also killed the guard outside the walls (after a long stand-off), STORMED THE BASTILLE and found a mere 7 prisoners (all rich guys) and all the gunpowder they needed.

Now — here’s the ironic part.  Or, should I say, the more ironic part… Those now ‘weaponized’ weapons became the catalyst for all the extreme violence that followed.  The French Revolution was far bloodier than the American Revolution.  It was dirtier, nastier, all-in-all more ugly and disconnected from its core values.  It was about revenge first, everything else a distant second.

The American People need to capture the spirit of ‘Storming The Bastille’ without getting any of the bullshit into their mouths.  It’s do-able.

In our case, the gunpowder we’re seeking is THE TRUTH.  I have a feeling that when we find it — put it out for all to see and hear — we like it.  A lot.