Storytelling Is All About Character


Great stories begin and end with people. Let me take that a little further great stories begin and end with people character. Stories need character. You need to develop character, even when it at first appears a character is not there.

True storytelling is about creating a connection for the audience. People love stories.  So draw your viewership into your information by presenting it as a story.  Stories are based on characters that your audience can relate to emotionally.  Think about it, characters lift a photo or story from the realm of an ordinary to something special, something with meaning and something worth tell, something extraordinary. Walt Disney said “There should always be some business on the screen” – something to keep catching the viewer’s attention anew.

To really capture your subject’s true character you need to work with cultural expectations, not against them. Finding true character relies on visual cues and visual information. How your subject may look, dress, wear their hair.  What do their surroundings look like?  You can impart A LOT of information about one’s character by using visual information alone.   Don’t worry about being stereotypical with your characterizations. Try to capture your subjects in their natural environment of the story. At the end of the day, think of your audience, they want to be engrossed.

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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