(Friday Fact) The Story of a Storyteller

Once upon a time there was a man called John. He was a great weaver of stories. 

Some might say that John was the best storyteller there was. 

One day, John gathered a group of others who also loved the craft of the story, and they decided to tell a story that had never been told, before. They told it slowly, honestly and carefully, paying attention to every detail, until the story formed into something fuzzy and unclear - but something the group of storytellers knew would be good.

"We must tell this story to the world" John said. 

"How?" asked his group of storytellers.

As storytellers, none of them had a penny to their name. To tell the story to the whole world would take money. So John walked through the world looking for someone to help them.

But while everyone loves a good story, nobody was willing to invest in one.

Until a different, Corporate kind of storyteller called Disney heard John's request and offered help - but with a condition. 

"I am also a great storyteller," said Disney. "If I am going to take such a great risk on your story, I want to be able to help you tell it."

John took Disney's offer to his group of storytellers. "We have taken great care to tell this story as truly as it can be told" he said. "I gathered each of you into my group of storytellers because I knew you would take great care to not compromise the integrity of this story."

"We don't know how Disney will tell the story," one of them said.

"It's a great risk" another said.

"But...Disney is offering us a chance to tell the story to the world," another said, and turned to John, "And isn't that the point? What good can a story do if nobody hears it?"

The group thought about this. And then John said, "I believe in this story. It must be told. I'll accept Disney's offer."

And so they worked day and night to tell the story. And at every turn, they met in a large room with Disney so that Disney could tell them how to change the story to make it better. 

But as time went on, the changes Disney made to the story took it further and further from the true story that John and his team were trying to tell. Little changes that altered the course - and the feel - of the story, making the characters more edgy, darker, less likeable. "This is what audiences want to see" said Disney.

When the story was nearly finished, all the storytellers - including Disney - met together in that same big room and told it. John sat uncomfortably as it was being told. He was embarrassed and sad. The story that was being told was nothing like the true story that he had set out to tell - the one that hadn't been told before.

But Disney had worked with them for many long months to tell this version of the story. Disney had invested great amounts of money to tell this version of the story. Disney just hadn't caught the vision.

And so, at the end of the telling, John stood up. "It's awful" he said.

Disney looked at him, confused. "I don't understand," DIsney said. "What's wrong with it?"

"This isn't the right story. Please," John said. "Give me and my team two weeks. Let us tell the story our way. We'll meet back here in two weeks and we'll tell you our story, and you can decide if we should go back to telling your version."

Disney sighed, and shrugged. "Alright," he said. "Two weeks. Though it will be a marvel if you get much done in that amount of time."

John and his team left the meeting excited - they were going to get another chance to tell their story! - and overwhelmed. They had only two weeks to turn everything around.

They worked night and day - never resting - helping each other tell the story right. The dialogue people were consulting the sketching people, the digital coloring people were writing scenes with the story-block people. They had always been a team, but over those two weeks, they became fused together into a new kind of team - the kind that realized they could accomplish anything - because they had achieved the impossible together.

And two weeks later, they met again in that big room, and told their story. 

It was an overwhelming success. The story was truer than Disney had realized it could be. The characters were not just likeable - they were your next door neighbor, your uncle, your best friend, YOU. The story was perfect.

And so, they told it. And the story set the precedent for all future storytelling - improving the whole craft. And John and his team began working on another story that they would tell better than anyone else could. Because they were willing to take the risk and tell the story that felt true rather than the story that was safe. They became unstoppable.

The story the told was Toy Story.

The team of Storytellers became Pixar.

And John is none other than John Lasseter, the man some would say is the greatest storyteller there is.

My favorite story he's told: The Incredibles
Bill's favorite: Wall-E (or maybe UP)
Wyatt's favorite: Cars
Daphne's favorite (as far as I can tell): Finding Nemo


Tamsin said...

My favourite is the Incredibles. Or Up. Or Wall-E. Or all of them!

Ro Ro Riot said...

I love the way you tell his/their story about the story.

Grandpa Rusty said...

I never knew how that transpired. Thanks for sharing.

The Aprecios said...

Sooo excited for Toy Story 3.

Tammy said...

YOU are a great story teller. We all wish we could hear/read more of your stories :D

Nae said...

I second Ro. I also really want to put in a Pixar now. :) My favorites!