By Alexandra Seibt
60 minutes is not nearly enough time for Morgan Spurlock to talk about his storytelling achievements. “What does it take to make a difference?” he asked. “The answer is courage. Nerve.You have to be ready and willing to take criticism.”
As Public Relations majors, we are creators. In order to succeed in a Public Relations career, we must keep our minds out of the box, and not only create, but find new and inventive ways to attract attention. We must be storytellers.
The mastermind behind the hit documentary Supersize Me didn’t have it easy when it came to filming and producing documentaries with almost no budget. In fact, when he was filming his second documentary, Greatest Movie Ever Sold, he was denied by advertisers and product placement agencies countless times for almost an entire year.
“Don’t be afraid to do things that are crazy”
Spurlock was intrigued by the advertising industry, which is where he got the inspiration for Greatest Movie Ever Sold. It is a documentary about the advertising, branding and product placement. AND get this, it was completely funded by advertisers and product placement agencies.
“Everyone wants to be first to be second. No one wants to take a risk,” Spurlock said regarding his experience with advertisers when he was filming Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Once he finally had a brand interested in being the first sponsor of his film, other advertisers came pouring in.
“Now is the time to take risks,” he said. “The more risks you take, the less risks things inherently become.”
“The Power of Storytelling: Evoke Emotion in a Short Amount of Time”
As storytellers, our goal is for people to not only listen to what we have to say, but to find value and relate to the message. Today, anyone can tell a story. Anyone can market to an audience, or push a coupon or promotion, but the challenge is adding value to these messages. “If you can make someone laugh, you can make someone listen,” Spurlock said, “Finding a good story is just the beginning.”
Spurlock provided the audience with his experience with General Electric and the YouTube video series they did. All of these videos tug on the heartstrings as you watch doctors from the Texas Heart Institute replace a dying man’s heart, or step into the shoes of a high school sophomore who revolutionized pancreatic cancer testing.
Leaving Spurlock's session, I felt motivated. Anyone can be a storyteller, you just have to find the right stories to tell.