What Warren Miller can teach you about storytelling

Few people are as experienced in storytelling as Warren Miller. He has made ski movies every year since 1950 (over 750 sports films total). The 61st Warren Miller Film TourWintervention, stopped by Greensboro last night and being in town, I had to attend. You can learn a lot about the art of storytelling from Warren Miller’s films.

I was turned on to these films by my friend Marty. He is an avid skier and fan of Miller. He thought I’d enjoy his movies since I was a fan of surf films like Bruce Brown’s Endless Summer. He was right.

What you can learn from Miller’s films is less about the mechanics and more about how to educate, entertain, and inspire an audience. Telling stories about your organization, brand, or cause can use these elements to connect with your audience.

Educate: Each segment of the film highlights an extraordinary ski destination explored by world class skiers. The viewer is taught about the location and its uniqueness by experiencing it through the eyes of the skiers. This is important. The education provides context for your audience to become characters in the story.

Entertain: Stories should be fun and entertaining. Miller achieves this with witty dialogue from the narrator, humorous wipeouts from the skiers, and a dynamic soundtrack. This ensures the pacing of the story will move at a engaging speed for the audience.

Inspire: Above all else, Warren Miller’s movies touch the hearts of its audience. In his case, the desire for all skiers to chase winter and fresh powder around the world. When your stories pull on the heart strings of your audience connections are made and experience is created.

When your stories educate, entertain, and inspire they will be memorable and your audience will develop an appetite for them.

Think about the stories you tell. What are you doing to make a connection with its audience? What are you doing to make your story memorable?

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