Why Do Stories Matter?

For a new storytelling mini-series, Contently gave us an open-ended assignment: Create a one minute film that interprets and answers that critical question, “Why do stories matter?”

Here is what we came up with:

You can see Contently's entire great article here: http://bit.ly/1vBRKUp

Fun fact: This video was shot in Brooklyn, Mexico City, The American Virgin Islands, Michoacán, Valle de Bravo and beautiful New Jersey USA.

Contently spoke with House of Nod creative director Robert Kolodny to learn more about how we approach storytelling—and tackled this strange assignment.

CONTENTLY: What was the first story you can remember telling?

ROB: When I was six years old, I wrote a short story called Jack and the Werewolf, which my parents submitted to a local Halloween-themed story contest. I wound up winning first prize and a “witch” read it out loud on public access television in central New Jersey.

C: Why did you choose to tell the story you did in this video?

R: Because storytelling is something beautifully democratic. Anyone is allowed to do it anywhere in the world, regardless of location or circumstance, and it requires no tools. Just think and say something/draw something/sing something/film something, then from nowhere a story is born. It’s truly one of the most incredible facets of being alive. I wanted to show stories being told from many different people in many different places.

C: Do you think stories actually matter, or were you just humoring us?

R: I genuinely do believe that stories are as vital as eating or breathing. They make our memories real and their details come to define the narratives that make us who we are.

C: What’s your favorite story?

R: When the underdog wins.

A beautiful wall at Contently's very cool office.

A beautiful wall at Contently's very cool office.

House of Nod Creative Director taking a colloquial "selfie" in a public men's room after wrapping a long production.

House of Nod Creative Director taking a colloquial "selfie" in a public men's room after wrapping a long production.

C: Tell a funny story in 50 words.

R: Once while directing a short film that involved the use of a live pigeon as one of the central characters, we decided the best way to work with the bird(s) was to build a full-sized coop in the kitchen of my small apartment. Needless to say, hilarity ensued.

C: What advice would you give brands that are trying to tell stories that don’t suck?

R: Be adventurous, honest, and a little bit weird. Stories are compelling when they have a real emotion or sentiment attached to them which the audience can engage with. Be passionate, be funny, be willing to push the envelope… just don’t ever be boring.

C: Who are your three favorite wizards?

R: The wizards of cinema of course: Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, and François Truffaut.

C: Name your least favorite band.

R: Every band I played in during high school.

So, in case you were wondering, Contently is a really cool company and it was a pleasure to work with them.  They help brands create great stories, engage audiences, and deliver business results — at scale by connecting them with world class creative talent (cough cough). We look forward to working with them more in the future and continuing to tell great stories- just. for. you!