A Quick Guide to Improving Your Stories Through Listening

Over the past week, we’ve published eight new articles all centered on helping you develop a super important storytelling skill: the ability to listen.

One of the core principles at Muse is that we let the story move us before we move the story. This means we take a step back when starting a new project so that we can spend time trying to understand the story (like, truly understand it on a fundamental level). We don’t make any creative or logistical decisions right away, at least not until we’ve got a better sense of what the story actually is and where it’s going.

In practice, this means that we spend a good deal of time researching, interviewing people, observing them, and generally just approaching our work like anthropologists. We immerse ourselves in the world of the story and let it guide us to the best possible telling of that story.

And that’s what this series of articles was all about. It’s for the non-fiction (documentary, wedding, corporate) filmmakers who want to tell better, more nuanced stories.

So with all of that out of the way, here’s a quick rundown of the articles in the series, grouped together by the different skills we covered along the way. Plus, later on, there will be a summary document that you can download that has all of this information condensed into a handy cheat sheet.

Watch a free 14 minute tutorial and download the recap below.

Watch a free 14 minute tutorial and download the recap below.

Skills to Approach Your Story Like an Anthropologist

Two Steps to Take Before Ever Jumping into a New Story

This is the introductory post in the series, and it lays the groundwork for everything else to come. We cover the two important steps that make all of the other tips in this series possible.

How to Actually Think (and Act) Like an Anthropologist During the Storytelling Process

Anthropology is the study of people and cultures, and one of the primary tools used by cultural anthropologists is called participant observation. Essentially, it’s the process of fully immersing yourself in the culture and asking a lot of questions. So yeah, this entire series is essentially how to apply anthropological thinking to the storytelling process.

How Gathering Multiple Perspectives Leads Us to a Higher Truth in Our Stories

The idea of pursuing a “higher truth” in our stories might sound kind of tacky and self-important, but I assure that it’s not only a desirable and honorable thing to shoot for, but it’s actually the natural byproduct of gathering multiple, diverse perspectives during the discovery process.

The Incredible Power of Places to Reveal New Character Information

The places we inhabit say a lot about us. In fact, they usually say more about us than we would ever say ourselves in an interview. This presents storytellers with a great opportunity to learn more about their characters.

Skills to Conduct More Engaging, Remarkable Interviews

How to Connect With Your Interviewees in a Way That Encourages Trust and Vulnerability

This post lays the groundwork for a compelling interview. If you don’t make the person you’re interviewing feel comfortable and valued, then chances are you won’t be getting as good of answers from them as you’d like.

How to Develop and Ask Strong Questions

In the Muse Storytelling Process, we want our lead characters to have what we call The 3 Big Things (uniqueness, complexity, and desire), and asking strong questions is one of the best ways to figure out if they do or not.

Why You Should Look for Inconsistencies & How You Can Resolve Them in a Respectful Way

When you’re dealing with real people and getting multiple perspectives, you will inevitably stumble on inconsistencies in the story. This is a good thing, as digging deeper into these inconsistencies can help us understand our story even better.

A Quick and Handy Guide That Summarizes All These Articles

Now, this is frankly a ton of information. If you read each post individually, it’d probably take you well over 45 minutes.

So to save you some time, I’ve condensed all of the information and key points down into an easily digestible guide. Hopefully, it helps you not just consume this information, but actually put it to use on your next film.

Anyhow, if you want to download the guide, just pop in your email below and I’ll send it to you right away.