The comment I left last night – semi-coherent after a bunch of sleepless nights – over at Students 2.0:
I’ve lost my mind a bit lately, and I’m certainly losing sleep, sensing some grand unifying theory creeping behind me, creeping behind every high school discipline, behind everything I’ve ever learned or taught.
It isn’t design.
This design thing is just too abstract, I think. It’s awesome but too easy for me to toss out there on my blog and retreat behind, simply because I own a copy of Photoshop and know how to use grids. But what do the teachers who don’t have any training, amateur or otherwise, or own functional software do?
I’ve realized now that more important than design – what, in fact, consumes design – is storytelling.
Design (a term which means a lot of different things) concerns itself so much with the placement of things, how to order a set of charts to most effectively impact an audience, how to compose the people in a photograph to tell the most compelling story.
But there’s always the story.
Storytelling is the umbrella above design. It’s harder than design and simultaneously accessible to every single person on Earth, young and old, regardless of education or station or toolbox. It’s been around since forever, the setting up of heros and villains (your “characters”), the establishing of a guiding goal (your “narrative”), the careful positioning of challenges between them and their goal (your “obstacles.”)
My point is that, if you know how to tell a precise, articulate, and moving story, if you know how to build intrigue about a character in the first act, how to lull your audience into a happy, contented place in the second act, only to punch them precisely in the gut in the third, you have this fantastic skill which applies absolutely EVERYwhere.
Essay writing. Music composition. Graphic Design. Videography. Salesmanship. Teaching. Especially teaching. Especially these days. This list keeps building in my head during hours when I oughtta be sleeping.
Storytelling is the skill. Everything else is just its instrument.
I don’t know where this is taking me and, yeah, this blog kinda changes themes on a dime. Consider yourself served.