Storytelling - It's a seller's market
Updated: May 24
Many of us can get disheartened in the storytelling professions. So this is a simple blog to boost your moral. There is always demand for a good story. So hang in there and read this article every time you feel down. Here goes...
Storytelling is a demand-driven market. There is always – and I really mean always – demand for good storytellers. Despite appearances, good stories are in short supply. Just think of this: Hollywood on average produces somewhere between 500 and 700 movies every year. Most of them you’ll never see, simply because they are rubbish. Then there is the host of genre films, catered to fans, that make good revenue but don’t receive the highest ratings. Then there are the blockbusters who spend so much money on production and big names, they succeed regardless of quality. Plus, you have the art-house films that may be of high quality but lack mass appeal to truly break through. And at the end of this line, we have that handful of great movies that get universal acclaim. The same principle goes for great film making nations such as the Japanese, French and South-Koreans, and even the Nigerian and Indian movies industries, who are both bigger than Hollywood even, only has a handful of storytelling highlights each year. Even these artistic powerhouses rarely produces one or two dozen of exceptional films a year. How can this be?
To quote Alfred Hitchcock: “Script”. The script is at the heart of every movie. If it’s good, it’s hard to fail the production. But good scripts are so very rare that millions are paid for ‘options’ to the scriptwriters who make them, often without the film even getting made. Storytelling guru Robert McKee has even sold a script five times for about a million dollars each time, without the film ever going into production. That’s how sought-after good stories are.
This may look as if the bar is set very high, and you have no chance of ever generating a good story. But it’s actually, truthfully, the other way around. If you put the time and effort in crafting a good story, it will almost certainly sell, no matter what industry you are in.
It really all comes to the amount of effort you put into the story. Stealing some wisdom from an old society, the Toltecs (900 to 1521 AD); be impeccable with your word. Input is output in storytelling. If you put in the effort, you story will come to the surface. And with effort I don’t necessarily just mean time and hard work. I mean how much you are prepared to dive into the motivations of people, how much you dare to connect to others, how vulnerable you choose to be. In other words: just how balls to the wall emotional you dare to be.
Don’t be one of those ‘misunderstood’ artists who never make anything great, or one of those failed marketers who refused to connect to the Zeitgeist, or even one of those musicians that publishes more on Instagram than on Spotify. Get your personal affairs in order, your ego in check, and then just sit down and do the work.
Make no mistake. It’s a demand-led world. Because so few people are prepared to dive deeper into the soul, those that do are always in demand. Even those working in ‘dry’ industries shouldn’t feel put off by this at all. In your industries the reward for having the audacity to be vulnerable, will pay of even more than in traditionally artful industries such as Hollywood, because you’ll even be more unique.
And even if you don’t succeed on that first go, the modern media landscape is very forgiving. You can always embark on your next project; lessons learned, building your way up again from scratch. Yet this time, with more experience as a storyteller.
The world needs you. We are facing increasing problems to economy, politics, and environment. Our societies still have issues with racism, aging, gender, and obesity, to name but a few. Our friends and families are under pressure from changing realities in getting jobs, raising children, and making a living in a hyperactive world full of unwanted noise. We can often not cope with the pressures of work, stress, social pressure and above all, love. Stories are equipment for living, especially in these times, so if your story is good equipment, get it out there.
And even if your story does not involve any of those subjects, and you simply want to make a living as a storyteller, remember that there are too many bad stories out there. In that respect, the world needs you too.
So, in conclusion, it’s up to you to break through the noise. Remove your resistances and blockages, the flow of inspiration is always there, the divine always flows through you, it’s just a matter of learning how to tap into it. Trust the tide.
And if ever someone thinks you shouldn’t be a storyteller, let me leave you with one final anecdote about art and storytelling. Because without it, none of us would have even been here.
Love, as always.
And plant trees people. Plant trees.