Building a Better Story World – Episode 7 – Prompts All Prompted

My latest Building a Better Story World is out!

This is a special one: all the previous prompts in one place! Ever wanted to create a story world and had no idea where to begin? Well, here it is! I walk you through the basics of story world creation! Give it a shot here, and let me know what you come up with!

Building a Better Story World – Episode 6 – Resolutions

And now I’m finally caught up! Better late than never!

Listen in this, our latest episode of story world design intrigue, as I wrap up our five-part series on story world creation basics, fittingly enough, with an episode on resolutions! Click on this link to hear how a famous British secret agent with a license to kill epitomizes how creators can craft satisfying conclusions for their stories in scenes, entries, arcs, and entire narrative universes.

Building a Better Story World – Episode 5 – Choices!

I continue my catch-up of podcasts!

Until then, listen in as I take you on a tour of choices, or those pieces of action that propel characters on their journeys through narratives. Using a popular chef and entertainment icon, yours truly will detail how to better reach your audience by making willful determinations that reflect the universe you’re creating. Check it out here!

Building a Better Story World – Episode 4: Obstacles, Challenges, Villains, and More!

I’ve fallen behind on my postings! Don’t do what Johnny Don’t Does!

While you rightly take me to task for my indolence, give a listen to this episode of Building a Better Story World! Good obstacles make for good stories! That’s why this episode is going to delve into what makes a good antagonist, how they can be themed to dramatic struggles in your work, and the basic challenges that characters face in their journeys! Join me as I chart this course with the help of a familiar, bullwhip-wielding adventurer. Give it a listen here, or on Spotify, iTunes, or most podcatchers!

Building a Better Story World – Episode 3 – Needs!

Hey, everybody!

I have a new episode of Building A Better Story World out. This time, I’m dealing with your protagonists’ goals. The stronger you make them, the greater your narrative universe will be! To help me with this, I’ve enlisted Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte to showcase what this means for your work! Give it a listen here, or on Spotify, iTunes, or most podcatchers!

Building a Better Story World – Episode 2: Protagonists, Heroic and Otherwise

I’m back with my next episode of Building a Better Story World! One day, WordPress is going to let me post on time, but until that point, you still have me guiding you through story world creation. This time, we’re using a popular teenage wizard as the guiding case study as we begin a five-part series on each element of classical structure. Join in to learn how to create a compelling main character that can center an entire story world!

You can download directly here, or find the podcast on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, or any fine podcatcher!

Building a Better Story World – Episode 1

It’s been a minute, ain’t it? I know you’ve all been desperate to… no, I can’t even lie like that. But I’ve been working on a LOT of stuff, and this is a part of it: a new podcast dedicated to helping you become better story world designers!

Using the same tools that I’ve brought to Nickelodeon, the Walt Disney Company, Microsoft, Activision, Sony Pictures, and many other clients, I’m going to take listeners on a step-by-step guide to story world creation. Each week, we will be delving into new categories and new content. Those who follow along can use the prompts to help create new narratives, but if you’re just interested in understanding, that’s great, too!

This week, we’re hitting the basics: the five primary elements of every story! From main character to resolution, we’ll build a foundation for any number of multimedia stories. I would embed the episode, but apparently, WordPress doesn’t like such things from Buzzsprout unless you upgrade to the Business platform (no thanks), so here’s the direct download!

Listen in, and if you’d like to submit your work, email helmstarmedia@gmail.com, or follow me on Facebook and Twitter and let me know!

How to Beat the Nazi Narrative

This piece is inspired by the artwork above, a parody of the famous Norman Rockwell triple self-portrait. This satire, like the original, speaks to the glamorized self we see in the mirror, demolishing and lightly mocking (respectively) their subjects. The depictions are not truth. They are the stories that people share in order to maintain illusions. And, like all stories, they are dependent on audiences in order to maintain their meaning.

Note first, however, that I am not a politician or a social scientist. Thus, any commentary on the mechanical issues that are devastating our society—namely, a failing educational system, a prison-industrial complex that favors punishment over rehabilitation, and a drug war that overwhelmingly castigates the poorest and most vulnerable citizens—would be purely opinion based. Get enough liquor in me and I’ll share them with you.

DrunkMan

All the political commentary you can stand!

That being said, I am a narrative designer who has come to specialize in demographic analysis and story-sharing. I’ve worked with organizations, universities, and nations to help build narratives to embolden people and change lives. I’ve seen how people intertwine their personal stories with those of a larger group, for good and ill effects, as well as how to make sure this remains a conversation without turning into propaganda (more on this in a second, I promise). I’ve worked with people who have had their tongues torn out because they spoke the wrong words to the wrong people.

It is the lessons I learned from them that embolden me to say that we can assuredly beat the Narrative of the Nazi. If we can couple that with the physical means to make sure that Nazis can’t gain a new foothold, we can make that ideology so untenable that all but the barest few crazies remain, so few that they cannot make any meaningful change to the world.

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Why People Never Turn Off Their Phones

“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual.”

Aristotle believed in alchemy, geocentrism, and flies having four legs, but he had it nailed with the human condition.

Aristotle believed in alchemy, geocentrism, and flies having four legs, but he had it nailed with the human condition.

If you’ve ever been to a movie or a show on Broadway, you know what I’m talking about with the title: people’s seeming inability to turn off their phones for two-to-three hours while they take in a bit of Kylo Ren or Mufasa. For the most part, these are tiny indiscretions: a few blips, a mild (or moderate) expletive, a couple seconds of fumbling, and then blissful silence just as Alexander Hamilton is about to lay down a few choice rhymes regarding fiat currency. At other times, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s journey in (and out) of love seems to be set to the tune of a “Kim Possible” ringtone.

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