Video Storytelling. Show, Don't Tell
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Every brand has a story to tell. It’s what differentiates one business from its competitors and cuts through the content clutter of ‘sameness’. It’s what connects with an audience and builds a loyal community. It’s what reveals the ‘why’ we do what you do.

Storytelling is such an essential tool for brands because our decision-making is motivated largely by our emotions and our ability to trust. The old adage, “facts tell, but stories sell,” because stories appeal to our emotional brain, where the vast majority of our decision making is done. Our value judgements are made on the basis of emotions and feelings, not thinking or logic.
To fully harness the power of storytelling, brands must strive for authenticity. Honesty, transparency and consistency are non-negotiable , with stories rooted in the reality of your brand. Confusion is the number one brand killer.
The Two Types of Video Storytelling
Essentially that are two distinct types of storytelling; Narration and Dramatisation. Narration is simply a presenter speaking directly to the video camera and sharing their story. This can be extremely powerful for personal stories such as how the speaker had to overcome the same obstacles that the audience faces.
Dramatisation are stories told indirectly through characters interacting with each other and where the camera is quietly observing. These are like mini-movies showing the audience how the brand’s product or service is helping people, just like the viewer, to solve their problem.
Show, don’t tell
Show, don’t tell is a storytelling technique to enable the audience to experience the story through action, words, thoughts, senses, and feelings rather than through the author’s exposition, summarization, and description. The goal is to allow viewers to interpret significant details in the story. Showing is essentially about making scenes vivid and more engaging for your audience and is true for both Narration and Dramatisation.
Here are examples for both types of storytelling;
I walked on stage and felt nervous. (TELL)
I walked on stage and felt butterflies in my stomach and my hands were shaking. (SHOW)
Can you feel the difference between the two lines? Saying you’re nervous tells your audience but describing in detail what you are feeling helps to conjure the same emotions to your audience and is far more engaging.
“I feel tired”. (TELL)
Yawn. (Show)
Action is more effective than words so always look at how you can show it rather than tell it. When I write out a dramatic scene, I always describe what is happening and the thoughts and intentions of the characters before writing any dialogue. Sometimes just the look from one character can say more than any word can.
Typical Story Structure – Freytag’s Pyramid
All good stories use structure to move the audience into different state of emotions. Freytag’s Pyramid is a classic example used in Hollywood movies right through to 30 second TV ads.

The journey begins with the set up or exposition. This is the portion of a story that introduces important background information to the audience; for example, information about the setting, events occurring before the main plot, characters’ back stories.
Rising action
In the rising action, a series of related incidents builds toward the point of greatest interest.
These events are generally the most important parts of the story since the entire plot depends on them to set up the climax, and ultimately the satisfactory resolution of the story itself.
The climax is the turning point, which changes the hero or protagonist’s fate. The obstacles
are overcome and the plot will begin to unfold in his or her favour, often requiring the protagonist to draw on hidden inner strengths.
Falling action
During the falling action, the conflict between the protagonist and the antagonist unravels, with the protagonist winning. The falling action may contain a moment of final suspense, in which the final outcome of the conflict is in doubt.
This comprises events from the end of the falling action to the actual ending scene of the drama or narrative. Conflicts are resolved, creating normality for the characters and release of tension and anxiety, for the viewer.
How you can make a create a great video story with a zero budget
In my video I use the example of a great story “Parison Love” from Google made in 2009 which was used to demonstrate all of its new features. It could have easily demonstrated each new feature (TELL) but instead, used a story of romance to SHOW the features being used.
And it was all done without a video camera, tripod, microphone, lights, actors, sets, graphic designs or stock footage. Just screen capture software of someone typing in Google’s Search. Anyone could do the same. All it takes is a little creativity.
Gerry Tacovsky
Video Marketing Strategist