January 9th, 2014
THIS IS AN IMPORTANT UPDATE. It’s been 4 months since we introduced our WSP Model through the book and app. We’re still learning how to use it. This is an intuitive look at the model. If you’ve struggled with the Logline Maker, this may help you get a little better perspective on its strength and use. Overall, it’s time to start looking at storytelling in terms of “Narrative Fitness Training,” and get away from this notion of becoming a great communicator in a one day workshop. It takes time.
“NARRATIVE FITNESS TRAINING” AND AN INTUITIVE LOOK AT THE WSP MODEL. The “theme” is like a feather — light, wispy, elegant, but not that powerful. The “Logline” is the other end of the spectrum — a 50 lb weight that is the true powerhouse — it will take you a while to get strong enough with narrative to use it effectively. The “ABT” is the element that is riiiiiight in the middle (like Goldilocks) — universally applicable, yet still very simple — it is your best and most effective entry point in using the WSP Model. But in the long run, the Logline is the tool that will give you true narrative strength.
NARRATIVE INTUITION DOESN’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT
I’ve come to realize this is the number one misconception we’re up against. Everyone is now celebrating “storytelling” as the great new cure for communication problems, which it ultimately is. But lots of people are giving the impression that it can be “learned” in a single day or a few days through workshops. It can’t. Not by any stretch.
If you doubt this, I have a few hundred thousand failed screenplays in Hollywood to show you.
Look who wins the Oscar for Best Screenplay each year. It kinda tends to be veteran screenwriters. In fact, let’s see, who won Best Original Screenplay last year … hmmm, a guy named Quentin Tarantino. You know, I saw him speak at the Directors Guild of America in 1998 when he was nominated for Best Director for “Pulp Fiction,” and he talked about the idea of being seen as an “overnight sensation.”
He said, “nobody talks about my twenties — I spent my entire twenties toiling away in obscurity — the best years of my life — ‘my topsoil years’ — squandered away trying to break into this business.” (Always loved that “topsoil years” phrase he came out with — he is truly a genius)
Which is the truth. I know, I’m buddies with the guy who hired him at the video store in Manhattan Beach back in the 80’s where they would all get together and watch countless movies and read screenplays. That was the “10,000 hours” of investment that Malcolm Gladwell talks about in his book, “Outliers.” The math is right there for Quentin, no mistaking it.
Effective storytelling only happens when the process moves down to the level of instinct, which does not happen in a one day workshop. It takes time. And this is becoming my new message for the New Year.
THE 50 LB WEIGHT OF THE LOGLINE MAKER
So this is the new diagram for our workshop and talks, and my overall message. The ABT is incredibly flexible, powerful and widely applicable. It is your entry point to narrative structure. But the Logline Maker is the real challenge, and you can spend an entire lifetime and never really master it.
Dorie, Brian and I have had some lengthy chats about this recently. We’ve seen it in our workshops. The ABT is hugely satisfying to work with for the participants while the Logline produces a lot of frustration.
We’ve been letting people try to jam their stories into it, which ends up being a bit of a square peg into a round hole problem. The Logline is complex and takes getting used to. But in the long run, it is THE tool for achieving the ultimate goal which is, “narrative intuition.”
“NARRATIVE FITNESS TRAINING”
So the big difference is that the Logline needs a much longer timeline than a single workshop. It’s something for everyone to slowly set to work with. We are now advocating a long term perspective with this stuff. If you’re really committed, it’s about setting yourself up on a weekly regimen — basically doing narrative fitness training.
We recommend 5 ABT’s a week and one Logline. Within a couple months you’ll start to see a difference. We guarantee it, or we’ll refund the money you didn’t spend when you downloaded the Connection Storymaker app for free (hopefully).