In a blog post yesterday I talked about the topic of corporate storytelling and how I see it as a natural way of engaging with the audience and the customer base for any company or organisation. Now, some discussions I’ve been having over the past couple of days have touched upon what I view as a true sign of the times – the need for creators to think about their own, personal narrative, and the possibilities that are opening up for them to look beyond traditional ways of making a living as a producer, creator, filmmaker and so on.
We all know that the days of creators being able to create a piece of content, drop it off to the adulation from the distant audience, pick up a few awards here and there and then retreat to their own abodes to create the next piece of content, those days are long gone for most of us in the creative field. Not only are we for the most part more hyperconnected to our surrounding world than ever before, for good and for bad, our audiences have also gotten used to being able to connect to anything they fancy in almost any way they please.
This is to a certain extent frightening. The fear of losing control of your own narrative, your own “brand” and in extension the way the rest of the world view you can be overwhelming at times. That is why I encourage anyone creating anything that is intended to reach an audience to start working on their own storyline and story world, sooner rather than later.
If this feels totally alien to people, if the initial reaction is a feeling of dread and an instinctive “NO WAY”-shout from deep within, let me assure everyone that it’s already too late. Your story, your narrative, begun to take shape the moment you started interacting with your surrounding world. Through today’s media field, today’s social media reach and today’s possibilities to amplify anything and engage with almost anything, that narrative is furthermore no longer your own – it’s in the public domain, and it’s up to you to take control of it.
If anyone feel threatened by this, I understand fully. I would encourage everyone, however, to look at this as an opportunity rather than a threat. This new world of possibilities could, for instance, bring you financial independence, which in turn could mean creative independence. The scope these new engagement levels take could let you see your creations reach more people than ever before. And this new world of fluid narrative will let you decide who you are in the eyes of the world, providing you grasp the opportunities.
Try to answer these questions:
- Who am I, professionally?
- What have I done that I want people to notice first of all?
- Where am I moving, professionally?
- What kind of people do I want to encounter on my way there?
The answers to these questions should give you what you need to start building your own narrative. Use them as the basis for your own story world and your own initial, central stories, and as the basis for which audiences you want to engage with, and your own narrative will take shape and become increasingly solid as you add more stories and more entry points to it.
What about that financial independence? I hear you say. Well, as you hone your own profile and your own narrative, it will become easier and easier for people who enjoy the content you produce to follow you on social media, subscribe to you on Twitch, support your crowdfunding ventures and become a funder of yours on Patreon. While such support seldom brings in the big bucks, you have every chance of earning enough for you to pursue your creative dreams with more security. And more than that – it allows you to connect to the ones that enjoy what you create, amplifying your reach and your message through them and continue to build your narrative.