The Masters of Fairy Tales Teach a Storytelling Lesson

February 26 is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day.  While not a holiday known to many, this day celebrates the craft of creativity of many talented keynote speakers. Across different industries, these professionals are able to enthrall, entertain, and illuminate what makes a brand, vision or life so important. Throughout their careers, these top storytelling speakers have used the art of the fairy tale to draw people in and make them fall in love with the story of a company, product, performer, or service.

Read their stories and techniques. Learn how to craft a story that will draw people in while giving a sense of attachment to you and your mission. 

Matthew Luhn, Former Pixar Story Artist and Animator on the Toy Story films

Who better to learn the art of story from than from the man who created art for Toy Story? Matthew Luhn is a former story artist and animator for Pixar Studios. You may remember some of his witty work in the animated hits Toy Story, Up, Monsters Inc, and many others that left you crying and laughing in a movie theater. 

Matthew has the art of storytelling down to a science, best exemplified in the opening scene of Up. In his entertaining keynote, Matthew explains that creating an attachment between the audience and the characters in your story is all about the rollercoaster ride. 

First, you make your audience fall in love with the characters, usually using vulnerability and in Ups case by showing them at a very young and loveable age. From there, you drop them low to pull at the heartstrings, like in Up with a mildly crushing blow to the child’s ego. Then you pull the audience up again, with a love interest. As the roller coaster moves along, the ups and downs heighten and deepen the emotions until you find yourself crying over the death of a character you met less than two minutes ago. 

Whenever you need someone to make a connection, start with an enduring story or fact and then buckle your audience into the most nauseating, emotional roller coaster of their life. 

Brad Montague, Creator of Kid President

Do you remember Kid President and his motivational speeches that came in a time when everyone needed a little pick me up with good leadership? Of course, you do. It felt like these YouTube videos were shared more than the actual presidential debates back in 2016. We all fell in love with the little boy dressed in a suit and tie who told us we can be anything we want and do anything we believe. 

Brad captured this young man’s gusto and shared it with the world because it spoke to him as well. When creating these videos under the media company Soul Pancake, Brad followed one storytelling rule: be authentic. He created bonds between his audience and Kid President by finding the most authentic emotion and sharing it in a relatable way. During filming, Brad would have the little boy dance, sing and play instead of memorizing lines and reading scripts. It was an authentic experience that the audience was allowed to share in, making us all want to be a part of it. 

Molly Bloom, Poker Entrepreneur, Bestselling Author of Molly’s Game

Molly Bloom’s story may not be a fairy tale to some, but her story hooked a nation through suspense, action, and tribulations. Her bestselling book Molly’s Game—an autobiography about a young girl moving to L.A. with no money who ended up creating the most exclusive, underground poker game in the country only to lose everything—was turned into an Oscar-nominated film by director Aaron Sorkin. 

To tell her story, which many people may frown upon since it ended with a federal indictment, Molly needed to earn the good graces of her audience. This was even more important since her book and movie launched her into the next phase of her life. Would she be viewed as a criminal or a hero? 

Molly used her storytelling skills to become a symbol of resilience, determination, and loyalty. Her story starts with her fierce work ethic to make the Olympics for skiing and ends with her federal trial where she wouldn’t give up the names of her poker attendees. By focusing on her best attributes at the beginning of her story and closing with a strong stand on loyalty, she reminded us she is a strong person with admirable qualities. 

Before you tuck your kid in tonight, pull some inspiration from the masters of fairy tales to inspire them to dream big.