Here is the full text of author Julian Friedmann’s talk titled “The Mystery of Storytelling” at TEDxEaling conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio: The mystery of storytelling by Julian Friedmann at TEDxEaling
My name is Julian Friedmann and I am an agent. And I’ll try to speak from an agent’s point of view.
Maybe they’ve never noticed, but agents are in the business of rejection. We reject a lot of people all the time. At my agency, we get 6,000 screenwriter requests every year. And we probably do not hire more than six a year. We know that there are millions of people who want to write, who want to tell stories, but we also know that, most of the time, what they write is not very good.
In fact, it’s extremely annoying. And I would like to try to demystify the process, for it seems that storytelling is somewhat mysterious. There are many experts, and they disagree deeply on many things. And we need to start looking at a really important question, which is: “Why is it so hard to write?” And the answer is, in part, why we have to remember that the story is much more about the audience than about the characters or the plot, and it’s much more about the audience than about who tells the story. I would even say that you can not teach storytelling.
I do not think it’s worth the writers to study this. I am involved in organizing writing courses, so I have to admit that I end up falling on that too. But I say this because I’ve worked with writers for 40 years. I was editor, publisher, agent, executive producer. I’m charmed by the writers and I have a lot of admiration for them.