May 19, 2020

The Top 10 Books Every Storyteller (and Marketer) Should Read

Julie Andrew
4 min
The Top 10 Books Every Storyteller (and Marketer) Should Read

I'll argue (and win) any day that the best marketers are also storytellers. It’s the marketer’s job to evoke an emotional connection between product and consumer, to stimulate both the minds and hearts of potential customers.

The essence of marketing IS storytelling. At the core of every good story is theme, an idea to interject into humanity’s collective consciousness. And every good product has a theme.

As storytellers, we learn best from other storytellers. We learn from them by reading their guidance on how to construct stories, create compelling characters and write dialogue that pops off the page. We learn from them by reading the stories that they write that show — in action — exactly how to do these things.

If you are serious about being a storyteller, there are some books that you absolutely should read to better understand and implement your craft.

1. The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition
This powerful book explores the relationship between mythology and storytelling. The book uses allegory to break down the basic narrative structures and character archetypes for any story. Whether you are a screenwriter, a playwright, or a novelist, you can use this book to crystallize your story and to strengthen it.

2. The Hero with a Thousand Faces (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell)
This oft-referenced guide explores the monomyth, or the hero’s journey, and is the source material for Vogler’s book. Campbell pulls together myths from different eras and regions to discover the underlying narrative structures that form the hero’s journey. Though the book is quite dense, it is worth the read as it will give you a foundation for story structure that you can use in any narrative.

3. Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting
This is the bible for screenwriters. McKee uses this book as the basis for his workshops, which have garnered international acclaim and graduated alumni like Diane Keaton, Gloria Steinem, and Julia Roberts. Learn how to craft rock-solid screenplays that sell with this master guidebook.

4. Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University
You don’t have to write fiction to tell a powerful story. Memoir, biography, history, and true crime all have the potential to become classic stories that influence generations to come. This book brings together tips from some of the top journalists, non-fiction writers and screenwriters in the industry, including Tom Wolfe, Malcolm Gladwell, and Nora Ephron.

5. The Screenwriter’s Bible, 6th Edition: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script (Expanded & Updated)
Learn everything you need to know about how to write and sell a winning script. One of the most authoritative books on screenwriting, you will learn everything from story structure to page layout in this guide. There is even a list of resources, including industry contacts.

6. A Poet’s Guide to Poetry, Second Edition (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing)
Mary Kinzie is a poet and the director of the creative writing program at Northwestern University. This guide explores everything you need to know about poetry, including formal analysis, the craft of writing, and even how to read poems.

7. The Art Spirit
The construction of a painting is similar to the work of crafting a narrative. Each is built in complex layers that build upon and inform one another, creating a rich, multi-faceted picture. This book offers guidance and inspiration for artists of all kinds.

8. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
Every writer needs a basic understanding of grammar and usage. Once you have the foundation, then you can go on and break the rules. This is the guidebook that grammarians swear by, and you can use it as your go-to reference whenever any questions about usage arise.

9. Moby Dick (Wordsworth Classics) (Wadsworth Collection)
This is a masterpiece in English literature. Whatever you think about Ishmael’s quest for the great whale, this story has a flawless narrative structure that any writer can learn from to make a story better.

10. Frankenstein (Dover Thrift Editions)
More than a monster story, this book has interesting philosophical undertones and a sound story structure. It’s a quick and easy read that shows that your message doesn’t have to get lost in pages and pages of dense exposition.

What are some of your favorite books that have taught you about storytelling? Share them in the comments!

StoryCrafters, Ink. -- We help fix stories. Short stories, novels, non-fiction, poetry, screenplays, etc. We provide support services for all writers.

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Jun 21, 2021

How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans

3 min
Customer obsession and working backwards from the customer is a mantra of Amazon Web Services (AWS), epitomizing its partnership with NASCAR

AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”

AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”

Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”

Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”

Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using  ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”

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