Carefully Crafted on January 04

The Magic isn’t in the Story

‘The question is not if you’ve seen Making a Murderer yet. It’s how long did it take you to watch it? A week? That’s insane. Three days? That’s more like it. One day? There you go.” Forbes

It seems like just about everyone I know binged Making a Murderer over the holiday break. My friends are Facebooking, texting, and talking about whether Steven Avery did it or not. And what about Brendan? (Side note: That’s the part of the story that really intrigues me!)

But, here’s the thing. The Avery case, while hard to believe, isn’t the only example of a criminal justice system in desperate need of reform. A system that requires moms to be shackled while giving birth is inhumane. A system that works better for people who can afford the best legal representation is unfair. A system that repeatedly serves food with maggots is unthinkable. All of this and more is happening behind bars. Yet, we rarely hear about those stories.

That’s because the magic isn’t in the story, it’s in the storytelling. (CLICK to tweet.)

Just as Serial captivated us with Adnan Syed’s story, Making a Murderer has gripped a massive audience. While documentaries are often bemoaned for being dry, boring and slow, this is anything but. Filmed over 10 years, the 10-part series incorporates the key elements of quality storytelling — from pacing and videography … to cliffhanger hooks and an emotional roller coaster.

In many ways, all of us are storytellers. Most of us aren’t telling stories to literally change the course of someone’s life, but we’re telling stories nonetheless. Next time you find yourself weaving a story together, remember, the details aren’t enough to captivate an audience. It’s the storytelling that determines the success or failure of the story.

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