103) Democrats, Messaging and Monty Python

“Right, our polls show the public doesn’t want candidates who pay too much attention to the polls. So let’s do a poll to see what they do want.” The Democrats are in such a quagmire. Here’s an article this morning in The Hill that confirms Democrats aren’t gonna win with no message. In “Houston, We Have A Narrative,” there are narrative tools that can help with structuring a message, but the problem is they can’t work if there is no message to start with. Everyone should get comfortable with the Republicans for a long road ahead. Narrative is everything. The Democrats, at present, have nothing, aside from “we hate that guy” which polls show isn’t enough.

How the Romans didn’t get voted out of office.

How the Romans didn’t get voted out of office.


NO MEANS NO

It’s official — you aren’t going to get elected through hate alone. Here’s a simple article this morning reporting polls that basically show that the “We Hate That Guy” message is not enough to take over leadership of the nation.

It didn’t work for the last candidate. It won’t work for the next.

You gotta have a positive, constructive message. The ABT can help tremendously once someone knows the message. The Dobzhansky Template can actually find the message. But until the Democrats get more analytical about narrative and realize there’s more to it than just gut feelings, nothing will change. THEREFORE … everyone might as well get comfortable with the behemoth that the Republican party has become.

And in the meanwhile, they need to take to heart this quote from a New York Times editorial on January 17 that still holds true:

Post103Graphic2

#102) Winner of “The Moth” Storytelling Competition Gives Textbook Demonstration of the ABT Dynamic

Listen to this story from last year’s winner of The Moth storytelling competition. It’s a beautiful story that she tells AND I hate to ruin it by suggesting you analyze it (like a bunch of scientists — and keep in mind this is coming from the guy who wrote the book “Don’t Be Such A Scientist”), BUT … it really is a textbook example of how the ABT works, THEREFORE …


To HEAR STORY scroll down to button that says 'Listen Now'



AS SIMPLE AS ABT

Mary Kate Flanagan is from Ireland and is a former student of Frank Daniel, the screenwriting guru who in the 1980’s first pointed out the And, But, Therefore (ABT) dynamic. Last year she won “The Moth” storytelling competition with this perfectly delivered story about her father’s funeral.

If you listen close in the first 1.5 minutes you’ll hear the ABT structure plain as day. She says AND 7 times, she says BUT 6 times, she says SO (the more common equivalent of THEREFORE) 4 times. That’s a LOT of structure. I have developed the Narrative Index (the BUT/AND ratio) in the past. A value of 30 for the N.I. is exceptional. Her ratio for that first minute and a half is 86.

These things matter.

Furthermore, if you consider her overall structure, you see she follows the MONOMYTH to a tee. She begins by introducing her theme — that there are 6 strong sisters who together can do anything. The Ordinary World is set up (that the father dies and they’re all set to bury him with the sisters carrying the coffin), BUT THEN the funeral director says they’re not strong enough which takes us into the Special World and off on the journey.

The problem is eventually solved, then notice where she concludes the story — full circle, back to what she said at the start with her THEME (that the parents gave them all they ever needed in the world — six strong sisters).

Not surprisingly she teaches screenwriting and is a member of The Frank Daniel Institute. Kind of helps with the understanding the power of the ABT when you see it so effectively on display like this.

Here’s her very impressive website: http://www.adramaticimprovement.com

#100) The Atlantic demonstrates the ABT

It’s here, it’s there, it’s everywhere you look. Like this article in this month’s issue of The Atlantic. As Aaron Huertas says, it’s like the arrow in the Fedex logo — once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

ABTsville. Plain and simple — two opening clauses which could be connected with an “AND” (though would sound clunky), then the BUT, and SO which conveys the same force of consequence as THEREFORE.

ABTsville. Plain and simple — two opening clauses which could be connected with an “AND” (though would sound clunky), then the BUT, and SO which conveys the same force of consequence as THEREFORE.



YES, IT IS THAT SIMPLE AND COMMON

I continue to wage war against all the old farts who say “it’s not that simple.” Yes it is.

We’re definitely making progress. We’ve now run or are running 26 Story Circles. Yesterday we had an “ABT Build Session” with about 20 USDA veterans of Story Circles. It was 90 minutes of discussing and editing about 10 ABTs of the participants. It’s a standard aspect of Story Circles training which is both interesting and productive for everyone involved.

And then this morning I open this month’s issue of The Atlantic and there it is, plain as day — the ABT in the form of the little teaser at the start of an article about a psychiatrist written by David Dobbs who obviously has good narrative intuition.

It’s everywhere you find good communication. Yes, it is that simple.