As the American philosopher and educational reformer John Dewey observed a century ago, “Mankind likes to think in terms of extreme opposites…formulating beliefs in terms of either-ors between which it recognizes no intermediate possibilities”. This human tendency often creates false dichotomies such as labeling something as either science or art. Story is both.
We see in story structure the presence of science. There’s a strategy and a process behind effective storytelling. It includes inference and hypothesizing about how a listener will receive the message. It includes knowledge of data, demographics and what story arc will compel action and forward movement of an idea.
Story is also undoubtedly an art form, communicated in many different artistic applications: written narrative, spoken word, cinematography, photography, graphic design, animation or music. With many creative productions, several of those art forms are combined to effectively communicate a story.
It’s easy to get lost in either category and focus on one or the other – becoming too scientific or too artistic in the approach. At Overflow, our methodology starts with the story. Everything else that comes after is rooted in that story, including deciding what method of multimedia production will best communicate the story.
When we keep story at the center and embrace it as both science and art, we create effective, strategic stories that drive idea adoption and propel movements across groups of people.