Meghan Roesner

America’s Got Stories

By Meghan Roesner on August 11, 2016

A New Perspective on Storytelling from a Reality TV Junkie

I’m a firm believer in the power of good reality TV. Most Monday nights you will find me with a bottle of wine in my hand watching 25 savages compete for the heart of one princess on “The Bachelorette.” While it’s one of my favorite pastimes, I have to remind myself that it’s a TV show, and most of it is produced to trick the audience into thinking what they are watching is, indeed, reality.

While “The Bachelor”, “The Bachelorette” and Jimmy Kimmel’s acclaimed “The Baby Bachelor” take just a few liberties when interpreting the term “reality,” there are some shows that can actually teach us quite a bit about the art of storytelling; how to take a real story and turn it into something that connects with the audience, and even evoke emotion (gasp!).

One of my favorite examples of this is America’s Got Talent. If you aren’t familiar, AGT is a talent show in which contestants with ordinary* and not so ordinary skills alike, compete in front of judges for the opportunity to headline their own act in Las Vegas (and also take home a cool million dollars). While the new talent and the banter between four famous people has been enough to keep the show running for the last ten years, what keeps me coming back to watch are the stories shared of the contestants.

AGT is the one reality show that has done something to me that no other has been able to do: it, sometimes, makes me cry. The producers are able to pinpoint contestants that not only have amazing talents to share, but have amazing stories to tell. They identify these people, ask them the right questions, and then package the story to paint a picture of their life. It’s no different than an ad agency putting together a video in which patients from a healthcare system or students from a University need to be interviewed.

A perfect example of this is from a video created for Core client Broadscope Disability Services. Core worked with them through a rebrand in the first half of 2016. Through this, we discovered any patient, family and staff stories that needed to be told. After identifying these folks, interviewing them about their lives and packaging it together, the end result was this video. I dare you to make it through without tearing up – watch and you’ll see why:

There is an intrinsic value in emotion and relatable, human stories that is not to be overestimated in advertising or entertainment. Because, at the end of the day, our job is to tell human stories to other humans to make a connection. Whether we are telling the story of a hospital patient, the newest smartphone or a 6-year old comedian who just wants to tell jokes about his mom, it falls upon us as marketers to turn those stories into something the audience can bond with.

So, next time you are tasked with making a video for a client, channel the work of the storytellers at AGT to find that diamond in the ruff, dust it off and share it with the world.

*JK that first guy is not ordinary, he’s got superhuman vocal cords that made even the almighty Simon Cowell rise to his feet.

Meghan Rosener is an assistant PR/Social Media Specialist at Core Creative.