Monday, August 12, 2013

30 Days of Storytelling: Day 2 (Pixar version)

So after posting the first two articles last week, I realized those were supposed to be a combined Day 1, making this the real day 2.

Day 2 was two interesting Pixar related a list of their rules for great storytelling and the other a short (about 3 minutes) video where they tell a story with no words.  If you've ever seen a Pixar movie, you know they can tell a fantastic story, so it was interesting to read their take on the craft.

A few of their rules particularly stood out as relevant to data stories:

#2 You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.
#11 Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
#17 No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.

I'm sure there are others that could apply, but those are the 3 that really struck me.  Sometimes I find fun and funky data that no one else is interested in.  I'm always having to refocus on the question at hand.  When you analyze data a lot, the "normal stuff" can get boring, but normal is interesting to someone who's seeing it for the first time.  That bleeds in to can't always know what's interesting to people until you start to share it.  Testing reactions and assessing opinion is valuable.

When something flops, that's when #17 comes in.  I store all the data I come across for future use.  It's interesting how often something no one was interested in can later become critical.

The video's just cute.  Show it to the small child in your life.

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