playlist

How to tell a story

Why do we love our favorite stories? Do they need a beginning, middle and end, and a character who changes by the conclusion? Masters of storytelling explore new answers to age-old questions of the craft.

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  1. 18:49
    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie The danger of a single story

    Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

  2. 19:16
    Andrew Stanton The clues to a great story

    Filmmaker Andrew Stanton ("Toy Story," "WALL-E") shares what he knows about storytelling — starting at the end and working back to the beginning. Contains graphic language ... (Note: this talk is not available for download.)

  3. 18:00
    Isabel Allende Tales of passion

    Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, the definition of feminism — and, of course, passion — in this talk.

  4. 18:02
    J.J. Abrams The mystery box

    J.J. Abrams traces his love for the unseen mystery –- a passion that's evident in his films and TV shows, including Lost, Star Trek and the upcoming Star Wars VII — back to its magical beginnings.

  5. 19:45
    Elif Shafak The politics of fiction

    Listening to stories widens the imagination; telling them lets us leap over cultural walls, embrace different experiences, feel what others feel. Elif Shafak builds on this simple idea to argue that fiction can overcome identity politics.

  6. 17:08
    Scott McCloud The visual magic of comics

    In this unmissable look at the magic of comics, Scott McCloud bends the presentation format into a cartoon-like experience, where colorful diversions whiz through childhood fascinations and imagined futures that our eyes can hear and touch.