There are 2 camps in visual storytelling on broadband and broadcast media – one telling stories aimed at the luxury segment, and another telling stories that tug at our hearts. What kind of storyteller are you?
We were watching a local television channel one day, and someone commented that there are way too many programs produced that go on ad nauseam about the luxury market, showing one expensive product after another, with no real substance at all in the program. To a viewer, such a program reeks of a continuous long-form advertisement of luxury products, with some forgettable hosts and “interviewees” thrown in for that “human element”. However, after watching such a program, you walk away with not much memory of it.
And when we watch some documentaries produced in Taiwan, the feeling is radically different. Very often, some of these documentaries that attract us to them, are never about luxury products, grandiose houses, or people living the “high” life.
The documentaries are usually about someone in the neighborhood who developed, or persisted at something ordinary and yet endearing to his/her community, or someone who helped others with selflessness, or someone who made pennies stretch a long mile.
These stories endear themselves to us, despite what some people might imagine to be, well, ordinary. Why?
The average person out there, that means you or I, are ordinary. We live ordinary lives, and though we may linger occasionally at luxury sights, or throw an occasional envious eye at someone living the expensive life, most of the time we are actually contented with what we have, knowing that we have labored hard and happily deserve what we have labored for, and that many of us know that with a mountain of wealth comes a load of troubles.
The stories shown in those “luxury” programs are often distant, detached, and have no real correlation with the average person and his life. To me, it would appear “plastic” (and mind you, many who hanker after such a life would have to live on plastic and max out their plastic).
The stories told in those Taiwanese documentaries are heartfelt, down-to-earth, honest, investigative, insightful, and most of all, appeal to the average persons that we are. We can easily and readily identify with the people in these real-life stories, and there is a resonance with their life journeys and ours.
The best stories found on broadcast or online are often those stories that affect us directly, have coherence with our lives, and resonate with our own experiences.
If you want to tell a story, how would you tell it? If you want to reach out to the communities at large, how would you tell your story?