WOMAN ON FIRE – 03.27.2019: The Art of Storytelling

By Kim Artlip, Columnist


Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a fascinating workshop training for what is known as StoryBrand. It is an amazing framework that all great movies are actually based upon.  Short version of it is this: Every great movie you have ever seen has the same seven elements in it and when I tell you this you will never see movies the same way again…


#1: A Character

Every story begins with a character who wants something. In movies, screenwriters identify the hero at the start of the movie and, within minutes, the audience knows what they want.

For example, if 12 minutes into The Bourne Identity the audience still doesn’t know exactly what Jason Bourne wants, they’re going to walk out.

ws_Star_Wars__Yoda_and_Luke_1024x768#2: Has a Problem

#3: And Meets a Guide

Luke Skywalker had Yoda, Katniss had Haymitch, and James Bond had Q.

#4: Who Gives Them a Plan

Each one gave the hero in the story a path to follow.  For example, Luke had the force to guide him.

#5: And Calls Them to Action

Attack the death star, take the fight to whomever.  But they are challenged to take action.

#6: That Helps Them Avoid Failure

This is a classic piece of storytelling. Heroes are compelled into action because something is at stake.

  • Katniss volunteers for the Hunger Games to save her sister, Prim.
  • A retired CIA officer must use all his past connections and skills to rescue his daughter from an abductor in Taken.
  • Michael is thrust into his father’s world of the mafia when his father is shot in The Godfather.

None of these characters wanted to engage in the action of the story. They were compelled to in order to avoid a tragic ending (failure).

#7: And Ends in a Success

People naturally steer toward a happy ending so we see Luke, Chewbacca and Han Solo receiving medals and accolades at the end of Star Wars.

Now you are probably wondering what this would have to do with pro wrestling.  Wrestling is the ultimate story. We have it all – heroes vs villains, factions, fans and evil managers.  It is a soap opera in spandex (haha).

What’s your story?

silhouette-3307961__340Most wrestlers and companies aren’t clear in explaining what they offer. When you define something the fans want, you invite them into a very specific story. And that’s what they’re looking for; they’re looking for you to invite them into a story.  They want to get caught up and swept away in a bitter rivalry such as Gary Jay and Jake Parnell have going in the midwest. We have seen horrific injuries (accidental) but these two have captured the fans who cannot get enough of this seesaw battle.  

See that to me is an issue/problem that many wrestlers have when pitching themselves.  We see match clips and photos but we don’t see the psychology. Schools such as Team 3D Academy teach ring psychology and that is an important component to a match.  Anyone can look good and do moves but can you engage the fans? Heck, can you pique the interest of a promoter who can envision you in a match or storyline?

Everyone is looking for something.  We want to be shocked, entertained, find someone we can invest in and we can see as “our wrestler” when they get in the ring.  We want that intimate connection that only fandom can bring.

A smart company will look at the framework above and position themselves as guides.  They see the hero, the issue and they will guide the fans on this wrestler’s journey with a match.  They are intrigued at the posters, promos and they cannot wait to buy the tickets and see if their fan favorite wins or is robbed of the victory.  

How will the story end?  You have to watch to see.  Our story continues on May 18, 2019 as we build to an afternoon of Valor.  So until next time, ignite your fire, and follow your dreams.

Kim Artlip, Owner + Promoter


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