Judging by your responses to this series of emails, the “Joy Ride” video touched many of you deeply. So for my last Story Mastery newsletter of 2023, I’d like to share a couple additional thoughts about why.
In case you missed the previous installments of this series, here is the video: watch the video
Here are the links to my emails:
The reason I think “Joy Ride” is so effective is that it adheres to one of my core principles for both movies and business stories:
Great stories are simple.
They may have complex characters, sequences or themes, but their basic plot can be expressed in a single sentence.
Regardless of all the elements I’ve been identifying over the last five days, the log line for “Joy Ride” is this:
In spite of their age, an elderly woman wants to sled to the bottom of a hill with her two friends.
Every single moment of the story grows out of that simple statement of hero, desire and conflict.
Think of any movie, TV episode, novel, or business story you’ve truly loved – regardless of the length – and it can be reduced to a similar short sentence or two.
And out of this simplicity comes the essential quality that “Joy Ride” and any other story must possess:
Great stories must elicit EMOTION.
The ONLY way your story can entertain, enlighten, persuade or inspire your readers and audiences is if it makes them feel.
And whether your arena is film, fiction or business, you must do all four.
When I first began expanding from Hollywood into the world of speaking and marketing, I thought they were totally separate worlds. My website is even divided that way, because the types and lengths of stories, and the commercial considerations, are different.
But I have come to realize that in essence, when it comes to storytelling, these two “worlds” are exactly the same.
If you’re a marketer, speaker, business leader or non-fiction author, you have to entertain.
You must captivate and transport your prospects and followers, and create a “movie” inside their minds. You must make them feel something, so they will connect with you, believe in you, take the action that will change their lives for the better, and make you successful.
And if you’re a screenwriter, filmmaker or novelist, you’re ALSO a marketer.
Not just marketing your script or book, or even getting butts in seats. I mean your story must be designed to sell something to your readers.
Your story not only must entertain, it must persuade your readers to take action. You want to sell them on your vision of how they can make their own lives, or the world around them, better.
I rarely referred to “Joy Ride” as an ad, even though it was made by Amazon in an attempt to lure customers and sales. But the company name never appears in the video – only the smile logo. Because Amazon wanted this story to strengthen their brand.
In business, branding means conveying a sense of the feelings associated with working with you or your business.
And Amazon knows that stories connect to our subconscious. That’s where our feelings reside; it’s how stories give us the emotional experience of the journey the hero takes.
As we get choked up or smile at “Joy Ride,” we associate friendship, generosity, nostalgia, connection and even courage with ordering that familiar cardboard box, and bringing happiness to our loved ones.
The closing message, “Joy is shared,” is immediately followed by the smiling Amazon arrow. And that message is planted in our subconscious.
If you’re now feeling manipulated by this video you loved so much, just know that of course you were.
But then understand that that’s what great stories are supposed to do. They reach our subconscious by giving us emotional experiences that help us change.
Just be sure that the stories you tell will help the people who hear them live better, more courageous and fulfilling lives.
And if Amazon uses “Joy Ride” to persuade us that courage and generosity will lead to joy, love and connection, then I think that’s just fine.
For the next 4 days only, I am making all my books and recordings available for 50% OFF.
Just go to the StoryMastery.com SHOP, choose anything you want (excluding my digital books that sell through Amazon), then enter the coupon code JOYRIDE when you check out. It will all be yours for 50% off.
This includes my Hollywood StorySelling Master Class – including all the bonuses that come with that program – at half price. That’s A $1000 DISCOUNT.
AND, if you purchase Hollywood StorySelling before the December 26th deadline, all the other products in the store will be thrown in for FREE.
COUPON CODE: JOYRIDE
DEADLINE: Midnight TUESDAY, DECEMBER 26th
AND FINALLY, THAT GIFT I PROMISED…
Because you’ve stuck with me for five long emails, and as a thank you for your support this entire year, along with the offer above I want to give you a holiday gift.
In case examining our perfect story in such detail became a bit overwhelming, I thought you would appreciate a summary of all the elements that made “Joy Ride” so impactful – and give you a checklist for the stories you create in 2024!
The creators of “Joy Ride” succeeded because they:
- Established a vivid setting for the story
- Introduced an empathetic hero living her everyday life
- Revealed how she was stuck in a false identity, tolerating a situation that felt safe and comfortable, but unfulfilling
- Created a tipping point which made her question how she might respond to this new situation
- Established a visible goal for her to achieve
- Had her take action in pursuit of that goal
- Forced her to overcome obstacles and conflict, both external and internal, in order to achieve her goal
- Showed her moving into her essence as she overcame her fear
- Portrayed her moment of victory in the climax of the story
- Revealed the new life she was now living in the story’s aftermath
- Conveyed a universal theme about how we should all live our lives
… and MY WISH is for you to move into a year filled with love, health, fun, prosperity, fulfillment and lots of great stories as you continue your own Hero’s Journey.
Stay In Your Essence!