Tell Stories Better

There’s a mantra coined by the famed YouTubers of the past, passed down over and over to us aspiring creators who were watching their channels: “Tell better stories” we were told. This, often accompanied by the equally problematic “Gear doesn’t matter.” But that gripe will surface another day.

I don’t think the term “Tell better stories” is a very helpful one. Casey Neistat, one of the Godfather’s of online video, did not always tell interesting stories. He often told rather mundane stories. Showing daily life, mowing his lawn. Or how to build an iPhone dock. Or a short vlog about his iconic sunglasses.

These stories are not interesting stories in and of themselves. If someone said to you, “Tell better stories,” you would probably not think to make a movie giving a tour of an expensive airplane seat or a comparison of smartphone cameras. It is how these stories are crafted that makes them interesting. It is the cinematography, the editing, the style. It is the personality and the craft.

Sure, you can find big, grand stories to tell, but those stories will be wasted if you don’t know how to tell them. The best joke in the world can be butchered by someone with no comedic timing. So, I think we should stop saying “Tell better stories,” and starting spreading the message to “Tell stories better.” It’s a slight change, but one that, to me, makes all the difference.

Focus on telling ANY story better, the more mundane the story, the harder it will be to make it entertaining, and the better practice it will be. Don’t tell better stories, tell stories better.

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