Engaging Culture


I was reading “Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting” by Robert Mckee today and came across this quote:

A culture cannot evolve without honest, powerful storytelling. When society repeatedly experiences glossy, hollowed-out, pseudo-stories, it degenerates. We need true satires and tragedies, dramas and comedies that shine a clean light into the dingy corners of the human psyche and society. If not, as Yeats warned, ‘…the centre can not hold.’ Robert McKee

I was blown away by McKees words. I got me thinking, you know, there are few quotes that precisely describe: why I’m here, what I do as a visual storyteller. This new found quote by Robert McKee and a quote is by William J. Durant:

Civilization is a stream with banks. The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting and doing the things historians usually record, while on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, write poetry and even whittle statues. The story of civilization is the story of what happened on the banks. Historians are pessimists because they ignore the banks for the river.

Both of these quotes entwine and make up my definition of Storytelling which is the central to my life, both in the telling and listening to wonderful story be told. Many people think modern media storytelling or techniques tend to be bit too negative; I agree. The stories that need to focused on or told are not the “seedy slant” but rather the positive things happening in our world. No matter how you look at a good thing, it’s good and makes anyone feel good.

Visual Storytelling now more than ever for me is to redeem culture by engaging it and bringing hope.

Matt Knisely

Matt Knisely is an Emmy Award–winning visual storyteller, creative director, and author who loves telling stories of the extraordinary. Make sure you check out his book Framing Faith, it helps connect the seemingly unconnected, see the beauty right in front of us, and revealing how to be present in the moment.

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  1. Haha "even whittle statues." But Robert McKee is the man, I wish I understood half of the words coming out of his mouth.