In Search of Story

What’s the story? As we continue to research everything from conservation to sustainable fishing efforts in Magdalena Bay, we have discovered countless stories just waiting to be told. With only two short weeks until we arrive in Baja, our challenge is to find the best story to tell. What better way to start examining the most effective way to tell the story of Magdalena Bay than by speaking with a professional storyteller?

This week our class had the privilege to Skype with Randy Olson, a marine biologist turned filmmaker and author.

Randy Olson, marine biologist turned filmmaker.

Randy Olson, marine biologist turned filmmaker.

Olson spoke with us from his home in Los Angeles, Calif. He not only gave us a free lesson in storytelling, but ran us through exercises to start putting us in a storytelling mindset. Among the many takeaways from our time with Randy, the word “SPECIFICS” was perhaps the most important.

Narrowing down our story by focusing on the individual will be our goal as we attempt to connect our film to the audience on a human level. Asking the right questions and finding out the specifics of our key players will be pivotal in relating their experiences to our audience. We will put this advice to the test next week when we conduct our first on-camera interview with Dr. Alonso Aguirre, a veterinarian and conservation biologist.

In addition to our conversation with Randy we continued to examine how we plan to use our own equipment to tell the story visually. We are grateful for all that we learned from Olson and continue to be appreciative of all those who have taken time to speak with our class and help further our knowledge on creating a documentary. We are all feeling a healthy mix of excitement and anxiety as our trip to Mexico draws closer and we are looking forward to telling a great story!

Randy’s storytelling mantra is a phrase he learned from Trey Parker, the co-creator of South Park: “Replace your ‘ands’ with ‘buts’ and ‘therefores’…it will make you a better writer.”

You can get a valuable dose of Randy’s advice here.

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