Storytelling Mistakes | Why you Should be Telling Stories with your Podcast

Storytelling Mistakes | Why you Should be Telling Stories with your Podcast


Well, hey, and welcome back to our channel.
Or if this is your first time here at the Pod Sound School, we help entrepreneurs, brands,
content creators, and artists to plan and produce and promote high quality podcasts. Today we are continuing our quest through
storytelling by taking a look at common storytelling mistakes that could be keeping your stories
from resonating or catching attention from your intended audience. The power of storytelling
is unquestionable, which is why countless brands, businesses, web designers, and social
media strategists are constantly utilizing them in their marketing and creative process.
If you aren’t utilizing storytelling in your own business or on your own podcast yet, you
are really missing out. Or if you already are telling stories, make sure to stick around
until the end of this video and make sure that you’re not making any of these common
storytelling mistakes. By the end of this video, you’ll have a better
idea of how you can use storytelling on your podcast, your website, and even social media
regardless of your genre or the type of content that you’re creating. So, before we dive in, don’t forget to hit
the subscribe button and click on the bell. That way you can stay up to date with the
helpful videos we post each week. And if you’re not our friend on social media yet, come say
hi and follow us on Instagram or Twitter @podsoundschool. Okay, let’s get to it. Mistake number one. Not defining or making
your characters sympathetic. Have you heard of the hero’s journey? This is the most common
structure of storytelling that we are used to. This is the traditional three act play.
Countless movies, TV shows, books, et cetera, are delivered to us in this format. So how
can we utilize techniques from the hero’s journey or the 3X structure and put them to
use on our own content. First is to create three dimensional characters
that are sympathetic. In screenwriting lingo you’ll often hear the term petting the dog.
This term describes introducing your character to your audience, being nice to animals, children,
or elderly people. This is a quick trick to get the audience to sympathize with and like
our character. The other quality of our hero is that he or she will usually be a victim
of undeserved misfortune. In fact, the most common character arc type in a 3X structure
is an orphan. You don’t have to look very far to see how
common this is. Just think about some of the most famous stories in movies. Many of the
main characters are actual orphans. Romeo, Oliver Twist, Annie, Dorothy, Jack from Titanic,
Luke and Anakin Skywalker, and also Finn from Star Wars, Frodo Baggins, Batman, Spiderman,
Harry Potter, Will Hunting, Cinderella, The Godfather, Hannibal Lecter, Tom Sawyer, Daenerys
Targayen. If the main character isn’t a literal orphan, then they will usually have a quality
of orphanage. They’ll be isolated, outcasted, different, underappreciated. Putting this
idea to use on our own content doesn’t mean that we need to tell stories about orphans,
but we can make use of this effective technique and find ways to make our characters sympathetic
and relatable. In his book, The Art of Dramatic Writing,
Lajos Egri describes in detail three dimensions of a character. First is physiology. That’s
what sex they are, their height, the color of their eyes, their appearance. Second is sociology. Their class, occupation,
education, the home life, their place in the community. Are they a leader? Do they like
sports, political affiliations, amusements, hobbies, et cetera. Third is psychology. This is their sex life
or their moral standards or personal premise, their ambition, their frustrations, their
temperament, their attitude towards life. Having a strong understanding of who your
character in your story is will help you to find ways to include all three dimensions
in your description of them. This doesn’t have to be a five page introduction through
well thought out sentences, monologue, or dialogue. You can quickly give your audience
a sense of who your character really is. Okay, let’s move on to mistake number two.
Not setting up the scene. In addition to the character, it can really help a story to give
the audience a sense of geography and to paint a strong picture with words of what world
the character exists in. Try including all of the senses. Describe the smells, the sounds,
and the texture of the environment. Oftentimes, the geography of a story can serve as a supporting
character to the protagonist and really help the audience to be more invested. Mistake number three. Unclear series of events
or no rising action. Most stories will have a beginning, a middle, and an end. But oftentimes
stories become boring because the events don’t move fast enough. In this fast moving digital
age, we really want something to change every 45 seconds or so. Where we decide to start our stories can be
the easiest way to keep your stories interesting. Let’s look at the hero’s journey a bit more
and talk about what separates the three acts from each other. What events happen that bring
us from one act into another and so forth? Let’s see if there is a way we can take bits
and pieces from the three act structure and put them to use on our own podcasts. So first we have an introduction, a first
act. Here, a few key things are established, the geography, the physiology, the psychology,
and the sociology of our character and the orphanage. Isolation or struggle that the
character is going through is established. Our character is made sympathetic and we are
subtly introduced to the central question or the theme or the premise of the story.
Then there is an inciting incident. Something happens that shakes the character out of their
routine or forces them into action. Here we enter into act two. Act two is usually divided into two halves.
There is a wonderful screen writing app called Contour. Contour has aptly named the first
half of act two the wanderer. During this half of the second act our character is starting
to gain strength and moves through opposing forces through a series of yeses and nos,
getting closer to finding the answer to the question they seek or getting closer to proving
the theme of our story. Then something big happens in the story that
is commonly called the turning point. This is where the stakes get much higher and our
character is kind of past the point of no return. Here our character is forced into
the second half of act two, which, as the Contour app calls it, the warrior stage. Now
our character is a warrior and fights higher stakes determined to answer the central question
or approve the message our story is trying to tell. Until finally a climax in which we
are at act three. The big question. Here, our character is often faced with the
highest of stakes and the most difficult of decisions, usually life or death. So this
stage, the beginning of act three, is called the martyr stage. Countless great stories
utilize this idea of the martyr when it comes to the protagonist. If not a literal death,
then the main character will often have a figurative death. This stage usually involves
a shift in the character’s mindset. They now have a true willingness that they did not
want to possess. They have truly undergone the change that we’ve been hoping they would
all along. Now, if you’re starting to think that this
structure isn’t going to be useful for your type of content, hang with me, it’s really
good stuff to know about. You might be thinking, “Yeah, well this is great for a full length
movie or play, but what about a short informative podcast episode or a social media post or
a sales page on a website?” Many of these principles can be applied to any type of content. Your character doesn’t have to be an orphan
or face death in your story, but you do want to ask yourself if there are stakes in your
story. What happens if your character doesn’t get what they want? The higher the stakes,
the more emotionally invested the audience will become with the character, and the more
opportunity the character has to change. And now, mistake number four, unclear premise
central question or message. Stories are all about change and really all about a big question.
A clear premise, a theme, a question, or message is what makes a great story. Many of the most
popular stories ever told have the same premise or idea they’re conveying or question that
they are answering. It’s important to know what your story is really about. This premise
is not usually explicitly stated within the dialogue or monologue of your story, but is
alluded to and eventually proven by your characters. All of these concepts are good to ask yourself
before completing your stories. Make sure that you can check them off a quick list. One. Are my characters sympathetic and three-dimensional?
Two. Am I using descriptive words to set up a scene? Three. Are there a series of events
and a story arc? Four. Do I have a clear premise or theme? If you can check all of these off,
then your story is sure to grab and hold attention and make a human connection with your audience. And finally, before I leave you to create
your fresh and dope stories, let’s wrap up quickly by talking about how we can use these
storytelling techniques on any genre or any type of content. It can seem difficult for
many podcasters who work with non-narrative material or educational or informative content
to implement storytelling into their shows, and also for business owners. But it’s actually
very easy. There are so many stories you can tell around the topic of your content. In our last video, Veronica discussed first,
second, and third person storytelling and a lot more. So if you haven’t checked that
video out yet, definitely do so. You can find it right here. But some quick ideas for non-narrative content.
You can tell your origin story as a business or why you started your podcast. You can also
tell the story of why you decided to produce a specific episode. You can include the stories
of your customers or listeners. You can include their testimonials or even invite them onto
your show. You can tell your own success story. You can tell the stories of other’s struggles
and how your product or your content helped them. You can tell a story about how you achieved
something in a how-to format. Also, one episode doesn’t have to be limited to one story. It
can include many smaller stories. These are just a few ideas, but when you’re
preparing your content, it’s always helpful to think about your audience or your customers.
What are they struggling with? What are their pain points? What type of stories would they
identify with? Good luck with your creative process, Podskis.
And thanks for stopping in today. Before you go, make sure that you subscribe. And if you
liked this video, let me know by giving it a thumbs up. Or better yet, leave some comments
below. Also, come find us on social media @podsoundschool. And until next time, happy
casting.

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