What IS Storytelling Anyway?

The Historian - Public Domain
The Historian – Public Domain

There’s a growing trend I’ve seen in professional creative community. Using the nomenclature “storyteller” to describe yourself as a professional artist. I first saw it with filmmakers. Now that “cinematic” and “cinematographer” have been used ad nauseam by professional videographers, we’ve adopted “storyteller.” And I’m not judging. I do it too.

But now other artists are getting in on the game. Photographers are calling themselves storytellers. Even brand marketers are calling themselves storytellers. (Ironically, I have yet to come across a book author website that refers to him or herself as a storyteller. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

But what the heckfire does it mean to be a storyteller, particularly as it relates to commercial videography or photography? Well, over the next few posts I’d like to explore that idea.

Every Good Story

In addition to the work I do for my own business, I also head up video production for the marketing and ad agency Mighty 8th Media. As their senior video producer, I offer some specific insight on what it exactly means to be a storyteller.

What’s your take on the topic? Are YOU a storyteller? If so, how do iย define it?

3 thoughts on “What IS Storytelling Anyway?

  1. I’ve fallen into calling myself a “storyteller” even though I know I have a long way to go to really get the “story” into my photos and videos. The thing for me is not really having any good way to define what I do. “Lifestyle” is so vague and is typically used by people who get the family all nicely posed on the parent’s bed as opposed to portrait photographers who get the family all nicely posed in front of a backdrop. It doesn’t really cover the unscripted capturing of natural moments that I am after. My goal is for the session to tell their story, their real story, not show posed moments. Perhaps calling myself a “storyteller” is wishful thinking at my current skill level but it at least shows the direction I am going.

    1. Thanks for the comment Michelle. I don’t think calling yourself a “storyteller” necessarily has to be tied to your skill level. And FWIW, there’s nothing that says storytelling is superior to non-storytelling. As an artist, the most important thing is to be true to your vision; as a service provider, the most important thing is pleasing your clients. The hard part is balancing the too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Whether or not you do that via “storytelling” doesn’t matter.

      1. Well, I meant skill level in that I’m not sure my videos really count as “stories” yet. They are still too much just bits of footage put together chronologically. Telling stories is something I strive to do, though, and hopefully the name will eventually fit the work. ๐Ÿ™‚

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