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197: Experiences = Life = Stories

On May 17, 2020, in a post to his Humans of New York Instagram community, founder, Brandon Stanton had this to share about storytelling in the age of remote connection: “...Thanks to everyone who’s submitted. We are reading them all. But it can sometimes be a puzzle to distill such rich narratives into short form. I do want to provide some guidance on what’s been working so far. Many of the strongest submissions have involved relationships. I think our voices tend to be most compelling when talking about other people. And not just ‘why this person is great.’ But ‘what this person did, and how it impacted me.’ Bonus points for the crazy coincidence. The unexplainable event. The hilarious accident. The outsized personality. Several of the most recent submissions have featured these. But a story can be strong without a twist. It cannot be strong without a transformation. So tell me how you were changed. But more importantly, tell me who changed you…”

I find myself reading Humans of New York stories and becoming so quickly attached and emotionally connected to their stories of transformation. It’s remarkable. 

In an interview with Brandon for The Profile, he provides some clues as to how he approaches storytelling that make it so impactful: “We connect much more to each other's pains than we do our successes. You look at social media, and it's a lot of people bragging about what they have.

A lot of the underlying energy is, "Look at what I'm achieving. Look at what I have. Look at what I've experienced that you don't have." And that is a separating energy. When someone is saying, "Look what I'm going through," that is a connective energy.”

As I learned about each of the nine creatives’ lived experiences and journeys in the context of a few minutes each, I felt this type of connective energy between us. I asked: How has the evolution of your own life experiences impacted the stories you choose to tell through your artistic endeavours? 

I learned that many desire to tell a more complete story with their art and design, or at least a more specific story that speaks to human complexity.

In the next episode, I pose the question: How do you measure the success of a narrative-driven project, and how has your definition of success evolved over the course of your career?

To be continued…


Meet the 9 Creatives Featured in This Series


Sound & Music Credits


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Every story, every experience is our life, and we create it ourselves. Travelling allows us to discover new horizons, gather unforgettable impressions and gain valuable knowledge. It's really cool! GetmanCar is one of those resources that has greatly simplified and improved my travels, making them more comfortable and interesting.

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