For a new storytelling mini-series, Contently gave four filmmakers or producers an open-ended assignment: Create a one- to two-minute film that interprets and answers that critical question, “Why do stories matter?” Last week, the answer was hilarious; this week, it’s quite beautiful, and comes courtesy of House of Nod, a two-time Emmy-winning “full service creative and production wunder-haus.”
Contently spoke with House of Nod creative director Robert Kolodny to learn more about how they approach storytelling—and tackled this strange assignment.
What was the first story you can remember telling?
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.
Why did you choose to tell the story you did in this video?
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.
Do you think stories actually matter, or were you just humoring us?
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.
What’s your favorite story?
When the underdog wins.
Tell a funny story in 50 words.
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.
What advice would you give brands that are trying to tell stories that don’t suck?
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.
Who are your three favorite wizards?
The wizards of cinema of course: Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, and François Truffaut.
Name your least favorite band.
Every band I played in during high school.
Written by Joe Lazaukas, Contently