Monday, March 24, 2014

Storytelling involves Characters

This is one way to introduce a character. Have the character run straight at the audience.

Show don't tell

It is important when introducing your character to share an experience with the audience of the character. With the football players this is an easier way to introduce a character into the story. The action helps to tell us about the character.

While this might be a lovely portrait of the character of the story, you can see that because the man is just looking at the camera it does little to tell the audience about the man. Now the story must rely more heavily on the storyteller telling rather than showing to introduce the character.

Contrast the photo of the man just looking into the camera lens to this one where you see the man working in the field and tending his crops.

Which photo helps to establish the characteristics of the person?

Here is the matriarch of her family pouring hot water over coffee grinds to make coffee. This is a great way for me to introduce the mother and wife of coffee farmers in my story on a coffee cooperative.

The theme of the story I was working on about a coffee cooperative is how the success of the cooperative depends on the coffee drinkers getting to know their coffee growers. Here is one of the coffee drinkers from Arizona playing with a coffee farmers son in El Aguila, Chiapas, Mexico. Here I am telling a small story within the photo that is introducing the character into the storyline.

This is a doctor who donates some of his vacation time to serve in the Baptist Medical Centre in Nalerigu, Ghana. The story was trying to recruit doctors to become full-time missionaries in this hospital. When I visited they had only two doctors.

Danny Crawford is one of those two doctors who is also the only surgeon. This was a way to introduce him into the storyline.

This is one of the coffee farmers with his grandson in Salvador Urbina, Chiapas, Mexico. I think this is a great way to not only introduce the coffee farmer, but to show the value of family to the people of the coffee cooperative.

While you may have a nice portrait of a person like this of Soulja Boy it does little to introduce the character as compared to if he was actually doing something.

The people can even have wonderful smiles, but you still know little about the characters when you have them stop and look at the camera.

The portraits can be quite powerful, but they are not the same as introducing the character when they are doing something. Yes they can be very strong images and capture your attention, but what is the story.

Don't you think this photo here of the two guys competing on who can move the Oreo Cookie from their forehead to eating it is a much more interesting and character revealing photo to introduce a character?

This moment during the celebration of the Eucharist in Mass is a great way to introduce Archbishop Gregory into the storyline.

Only as a last resort should you use the posed portrait to introduce your character. Let the visuals tell the story—SHOW don't TELL!