The Future of Storytelling // Assignment week 1

The first week of course for The Future of Storytelling – MOOC was very interesting! I recommend it to anyone who’s into storytelling – be it by graphics, writing novel or film making. We got to learn a bit about basics, not going too in depth but just enough to understand a bit about what makes a protagonist capture and retain our attention, what is the simplest way to structure a story, story vs. plot and we got to hear how a famous author writes her stories, develops her characters and finds inspiration, also how she documents herself. The assignment was fun to work on. Overall, I am very happy to have joined it and I’m looking forward to next Friday!

For anyone else that wants to join, here’s the link:

As you, our students, come from many different countries and cultures, but are still united in your passion for storytelling, your Creative Task for week 1 is:

Please think about which story you have read, seen, listened to, played or experienced has impressed you most in your life. … Which story can you still very well remember? Write down both, the summary of this story (what you remember of the story, not what Wikipedia says.. 🙂 and – on the other hand: – what made it so special to you that you can still remember it.

Retell this story by giving a short summary of what you can remember of it. (in less than 400 words)
Think about (try to remember) and write down what fascinated you most about this story. What can you remember best? What impressed you most? … Its characters? The locations? The plot? The style and voice of the story? Or maybe even the surroundings of how this story was told, maybe by your parents, grandparents, or maybe in your first self-read book? Tell us the story OF the story so-to-speak. (less than 500 words)
Your answer could be a simple text/essay … or maybe you prefer creating a story in itself, a poem, an info graphic,… about it. – Whatever suits you best!

And here is my answer.

I will not look very much behind me, because there are too many impressive stories I partook in. It is too hard to choose just one, so I will think of something more recent, as these past few year I haven’t had much time for stories.

One of the stories that impressed me in this past year is the Great Gatsby, the latest movie adaptation with Leonardo di Caprio as the lead. It may have come out a long time ago, I haven’t checked and I haven’t read the book. I saw this movie on a laptop, at my best friend’s house – the same best friend that made me watch the Notebook. But I diverge.
From what I remember of the movie, the story is told from the point of view of a young man called Nick Carraway who is suddenly thrown into a world of luxury and debauchery and partying that he doesn’t make any sense of. And then he meets the mastermind behind this all, his neighbour Jay Gatsby. Throughout the film, we learn that Gatsby did all in his power to attract the woman he loves to his side, the beautiful cousin of Nick, Daisy. Daisy is married, but that doesn’t stop her from returining to her old flame. However, Daisy is then forced to choose by Jay, and all goes downhill. Her husband’s mistress dies, and the husband of that woman is manipulated into killing Gatsby. Daisy and her family move without looking back or even visiting his open casket. The movie ends with Nick’s painful realisation that it was all for nothing, that no one trully mourns for Jay Gatsby in his death, and he is disgusted.

When she clicked the play button, I saw the exposition and the premise and I was prepared to not care about it or even hate it. I knew the name of the novel and that it is considered a classic, but really? All this partying and the sex and everything made me it look so cheap. I get superficial pleasure, some character depth but not enough, and that’s it?
And then, unexpectedly and against my will, I was hooked by all the tragedy around this man. Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) showed excellent acting skills, Leonardo di Caprio was brilliant as always, and the atmosphere just grew on me! From the moment Daisy was forced to make a choice, the movie became important to me.
And I’m not ashamed to say that I cried so much in the end, for the same reasons as Nick Carraway, and for the injustice of it all.
There is one thing that always irked me – how no one around you actually cares when you’re the one in need, or indeed, the one who died. They had all the fun at his house, but in the end not one of these strangers came to say goodbye, instead searching for the next meaningless way to spend the time, the next glittery party and the next rich guy they can leech off.
I can’t believe how much I have come to care about Jay Gatsby and the poor Nick Carraway – see, it’s even worse for the people that are left behind. Funerals are made for us, not for the departed. They are made so we can come to terms with their departure, to find closure, and for Nick this „solo” funeral will always be an open wound.
And, while I wouldn’t call Gatsby a great man, like Nick did, I will call him someone who has a lot to offer, because he managed to bore me, annoy me, make me pity him, make me root for him, made me hope…and thus grew on me in only 2 hours of film.