Storytelling

Sparhafoc

Well-Known Member
I'm not much of an artist in most respects.

I can draw bears and dragons, but most other animals I draw tend to look like genetically deformed dogs. I spent a year copying the Renaissance masterpieces, painted, sculpted etc., and learned a lot by doing it, but it was clear I was no master.

I can play several instruments to various degrees of proficiency, but I'd never be a master of any of them. I tend to play bizarre instruments I've picked up on my travels, because then people are more interested in the odd sound than whether you're playing it well.

There are many art forms, but I want to talk about storytelling.

To me, it's really what humans are, and all other art forms are ways of telling a story, or a moment thereof, but using something other than just words.

For me, I like words - I've always felt at home with them. They're reliable; they mostly do what you want them to do, just so long as you keep a watchful eye on them.

I have a class where I introduce humans as Homo narravitus (the first point of which is that my Latin is bloody awful) where we look back through material culture left by humans in pre-history, talk about the socio-ecology of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, what they were doing with their days, and how they saw the world. We journey through the early agricultural civilizations, where humans moved in to settlements and grew complex social stratifications and cultures, looking at their art, writing, and sacred architecture as clues into what they pondered, what was intriguing to them, and how they communicated these ideas. We pass through the Iron Age and Classical periods where great works were collated and recorded ideas that were interpreted far and wide, and held as vital to many and varied nations. And eventually we arrive at the modern world, where we have TV, books, Youtube and other devices where we entertain ourselves with stories.

There are many things universal to all humans, regardless of time or location, but to me, the most important in terms of the micro and macro, the individual and the species, is our impetus to tell stories; we simply do it all the time.

Our own lives are essentially long records of events in chronological order, edited when told for convenience, or to highlight an intriguing series of events. Psychologically, events that happen in our proximity, happen to us. When a car crashes and we see it, we say to our loved ones on returning home 'I saw a car crash' as if it's important that the I was there to observe it rather than the event of the crash happening, and the impact of that on another person unknown to our selfish recording device.

Nothing can be more compelling than a story because a story can change the way someone thinks, or encourage them to believe more strongly, or to act upon a feeling or narrated event. Stories hit us exactly where we're weakest, where we're worst at seeing the bigger picture. In film or TV, a successful show is one that makes you feel, where you walk out of the cinema and you feel that the world around you has changed. It's the projection of the story onto the mind of the audience, showing the individual that they can be more, can break the earthly bonds they labour under, and be free to explore a new world full of opportunities.

So if art is about making us feel, making us sense and renewing our senses, then story is the most potent art of all because there is no gap between the form of the art and the psyche - stories are how our brains work; the grammar and syntax of our cognition. While some other art forms make induce a feeling of the transcendent, stories can make you experience a thousand other peoples' feelings of transcendence. But no other art form can instill such breadth and depth of love, hatred, devotion, enmity, and most dangerously of all - belief - than a story.

Stories are very beautiful and dangerous things, and consequently we should hold them in much more respect.
 

Akamia

Member
As a wannabe storyteller myself, I can relate to this.

I think there was a Star Trek TNG episode that explored the idea of an entire society whose language was nothing but stories.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
 

Sparhafoc

Well-Known Member
I've been very lucky to be able to monetize this passion. I've worked as head of story on a few TV projects and animated films, and had the fortune to be involved creating quite a few story teams over the last few years.

I still prefer books as the medium, and that's not something I've had time to work on, but I will do one day with luck! :)
 

he_who_is_nobody

Well-Known Member
Sparhafoc said:
I've been very lucky to be able to monetize this passion. I've worked as head of story on a few TV projects and animated films, and had the fortune to be involved creating quite a few story teams over the last few years.

That is awesome. If you do not mind, what titles did you work on?
 

Sparhafoc

Well-Known Member
he_who_is_nobody said:
Sparhafoc said:
I've been very lucky to be able to monetize this passion. I've worked as head of story on a few TV projects and animated films, and had the fortune to be involved creating quite a few story teams over the last few years.

That is awesome. If you do not mind, what titles did you work on?

You probably won't know any of them because they are, mostly, for pre-school or young kids, or have never been shown in English. Shelldon is the most successful, making that huge transition from East to West airing in the US.

I also worked on maaaaany seasons of Paddlepop Adventures, which even though it's quite terrible (clients, who'd have 'em?), gave me the experience to manage long format TV shows across whole seasons with creative development, writing, editing, and the likes.

There is a short film you can watch as it's not a commercial one. Be warned, it's pretty trippy! :D

 
Well I can tell you a story that will scare the hell out of you, Spahafoc. It is the story about the haunted can of beer. One time I was spending the night in my little cabin just outside of town. I was playing chess on my laptop. It was the middle of the night and it was really dark and quiet. Then all of the sudden the almost empty can of beer I was drinking started shaking and slide like 2 inches across the table. Scared the hell out of me!!

Some people say it might have been a small earth quake. Some say it has something to about being close to the airport. Others say it was a haunted can of beer..
 

Sparhafoc

Well-Known Member
Well I can tell you a story that will scare the hell out of you, Spahafoc. It is the story about the haunted can of beer. One time I was spending the night in my little cabin just outside of town. I was playing chess on my laptop. It was the middle of the night and it was really dark and quiet. Then all of the sudden the almost empty can of beer I was drinking started shaking and slide like 2 inches across the table. Scared the hell out of me!!

Some people say it might have been a small earth quake. Some say it has something to about being close to the airport. Others say it was a haunted can of beer..

Thanks for sharing.

My guess would be that the condensation ran down the outside of the can, formed a small pool of water at the base of the can lowering its friction with the table, then differences in air pressure in the room caused it to wobble and slide.

Happens here all the time (albeit not with beer as I don't drink) - but the addition of fans to stave off tropical temperatures probably aids in this supernatural phenomenon! ;)
 

hackenslash

Well-Known Member
I'd suggest something to do with resonance. The table top was probably resonating in sympathy with something else that was going on. That will do exactly the same thing, and reduce friction between the can and the table. You can think of the vibrations as the can jumping up and down imperceptibly, because that's what's happening, albeit without actually leaving the table, just essentially converting part of its mass-energy to potential. Typically, an object will skate along a surface until it meets a sympathetic node where all the vibrations destructively cancel and come to rest there. If your table has an edge rather than a node in the strongest direction of vibrations, it's straight to the scene of the accident.
 

Sparhafoc

Well-Known Member
As this is a thread on storytelling, then I think a moral of the story is appropriate here.

4 explanations have been given.

i) small earthquake
ii) condensation, lessened friction and air currents
iii) resonance
iv) some form of supernatural explanation

Obviously, this event is past, but were it to occur again in the future, of these, only 3 are amenable to testing, to falsification, and therefore to validation.

For the first, you can always check an online earthquake tracker - I use https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/?extent=-85.02071,-340.3125&extent=78.69911,222.1875 - partly to check whether I am going mad or not as I am quite sensitive to even a very minor earthquake - it makes me dizzy.

For the second, you could try either soaking up any water under the can, replacing it and seeing if the effect continues, or try using a large book or other object to block potential air currents around the room and observing if there's an effect.

For the third, you could try holding the table down with your weight to minimize any sympathetic resonance, or perhaps turn off anything electrical or mechanical in the immediate area and see if that changes the observation.

For the last - how would you go about testing the supernatural? Read goat entrails? Speak to a priest? Consult the crystals?

How could you plausibly falsify the notion?

The answer is that you can't, and that's why it's not actually an explanation and therefore can't be considered rightly belonging to the above list. It's the odd one out because it is not amenable to inquiry - it's a dead-end, a statement of belief.
 
I was thinking maybe it had to do with a sudden change of air pressure which caused the remaining beer to fizz and vibrate the can. Although I have no idea whether not this is actually possible and I am sure you both have a better understanding of how these things work.

I dont think I am able to prove 100% that God did move the beer can. But I think I can give a somewhat convincing argument against it.
 

Dragan Glas

Well-Known Member
Greetings,

Stories - narratives - help us put things (our experiences) into perspective.

It's part of - and a result of - our search-for-meaning, and meaning-making, nature.

How our narratives work depends on whether one is a foundationalist (certain beliefs are foundational, upon which all others are derived, and/or rest) or a coherentist (whether, and how, something fits into our existing belief-system).

Bur that's another story! ;)

Kindest regards,

James
 
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