Become Better Storytellers
You become better storytellers when you resonate with the universal themes of your stories and connect with the audience through emotions. This inner game of storytelling, as important to storytellers as it is to professional athletes, is then expressed through genres, the most popular form of storytelling in the world.
Utilize simple, elegant storytelling tools for this exploration, beginning with organizing and mining your source materials.
MINING YOUR SOURCE MATERIALS
Exploring the archetypal potential within the source material defines the creative core of your multi-platform 360° expressions – how they will function. Since form follows function, we then look at how to express the archetypal infrastructure through genre and various forms (web series, films, TV shows, commercials, short videos, etc.). I have clear guidelines for you to follow that outlines each genre and guides you through my development process.
MY DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
We work on current projects at all stages of development. I use Five Models of Story Development that pertain to both the outer game of storytelling, and the inner game of storytelling. The inner game of storytelling pertains to fine-tuning our intuition and expanding our imagination to tell better stories. The outer game, your inner visions expressed through archetypal and genre structures, is captured in the Story Playbook. The Story Playbook is also a way to organize new visions and ideas.
GENERATING COMPELLING IDEAS
I use a series of story generating exercises that range from improvisational techniques to creative visualizations. These exercises and techniques will increase the number of viable story ideas in your portfolio; and you can go back to these exercises on a regular basis. These creative exercises also connect your teams to the stories and to each other for a deeper engagement and resonance with your audience.
Tom’s Storytellers Academy
Tom’s STORYTELLERS ACADEMY utilizes a 7 Step Story Development System to train storytellers and story mentors. Tom’s Writers Room approach to content creation:
Integrates training with story development for deeper team engagement
Generates the Creative Blueprint for your company and projects
Maximizes multi-platform storytelling through archetypal themes
Optimizes the secrets of genre, the most popular form of storytelling in the world
Storytelling trainings are designed specifically to ad value to your brand. These trainings cover every aspect of storytelling from the archetypal or universal meaning of the story, to the genre or hybrid genre considerations, to the style and structure of the story — all focusing on the intended impact and the audience reach.
You can find a list of the basic trainings here that will be used as a template to design the optimal training to meet your company’s needs. These trainings include lecture, story examples, interactive discussions, and powerful creativity exercises that build a solid foundation for the work at hand. They range from 90-minute introductions to five-day trainings, and often include ongoing guidance and coaching until the project reaches fruition.
I guide your creative teams on a storytelling “vision quest” which connects you to your target audiences via archetypal themes, “the patterns that connect”. My unique group creative process derives from studying with storytelling experts Joseph Campbell and Jean Houston, along with twenty five years of successful international story development in documentary films, fictions films, and television series.
I foster a group synergy where everyone feels autonomous and interdependent, and everyone is there to support each other to do their best work. Friction and chaos are welcomed as necessary steps in the creative process where what might appear to be a breakdown often leads to a breakthrough — what the story is really about, what really matters for your brand and your global reach.
With an atmosphere of respect, authenticity and trust, my storytelling teams experience a creative synergy that far surpasses what they can do individually, with less stress, more flow and a sense of gratification.
Story Constellations are a cutting-edge experiential story development process that functions on three levels: it allows you to forge the most effective resonance between you, the story and the audience; it suggests the most efficient and effective way to work together with your creative team; it brings the main elements of the story – plot, characters, and location — into the harmony needed to convey the deep meaning and purpose to the audience.
Story Constellations derive from the highly effective therapeutic family constellation process, later applied to writing screenplays by Dr. Matthias Varga in Munich. Also known as Systemic Structural Constellations, Story Constellations are a method of expressing the fundamental principles of family dynamics to the multi-dimensional realms of storytelling.
Whereas participants stand in for family members in the traditional approach, participants stand in for members of the creative team, then characters in the story, and finally for the intended audience or market. Participants are intuitively placed in different configurations around the room, and then report what they are feeling. Through the magical power of storytelling, they ultimate find a constellation of harmony — the optimal synergy for your creative team, the optimal relationships between the characters of the story, and the optimal resonance and connection with your audience.
Tom Schlesinger was the story consultant on the Academy Award-winning “Nowhere in Africa,” and the HBO documentaries “Prom Night in Mississippi” with Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Arnold’s “A Small Act.”
A student of mythologists Joseph Campbell and Jean Houston, he teaches storytelling workshops at Pixar, Lucasfilm, the Banff Centre, the American Film Institute, UCLA, the Writers Guild of America, the Directors Guild of America, and the International Film School in Cologne.
Tom wrote the Activision/Red Bull “Become Legend with Flamesword” video that had over a million hits and is facilitating his Storytellers Academy training system for Disney’s Emerging Talent Program at Maker Studios.