Occasionally, someone will ask me "BP how do you tell a story in your videos? How do you come up with the ideas and how to do you keep it all straight over so many episodes?" The simple answer is "practice" I have been playing Role Play style games for nearly 40 years and "story telling" and "role playing" come very naturally to me. If I'm honest, Almost every story driven video I have ever done has been done "on the fly" with no scripting and no advance planning (other than research which I will cover shortly). I sit down fire up whatever game I'm going to tell the story in and proceed to ramble on for the next however many minutes. Some are good some are not but they are all fun and for me that is the bottom line. I do not consider myself a great story teller (certainly not in the league of my good friend Mereman) but I like to think I can spin a yarn that is hopefully entertaining. Having said that, Here are some tips on how to tell a story in your videos.
Finding A Story To Tell
This is obviously the first step. Finding a story can be either quite easy or a challenge depending on how you go about it. The easiest story to tell is your own. Use bits of your own life and your own background. Sometimes story ideas or "hooks" present themselves almost accidentally, Just playing a game and being observant can lead to all kinds of story ideas. Here is a few for inspiration.
1. You've bought the farm. Simple, you've bought (or inherited) a farm and it's now your job to make a go of it. Maybe you grew up farming or maybe you didn't. You can tell the story of your struggles and triumphs as you learn and work and make your farm a success (or failure)
2. I've got my license, now what? For the trucking fans, this one is great. You've just graduated truck driving school and got your CDL (or HGV) and now it's off to the big challenging world of Trucking. There are millions of stories to tell just as there are millions of miles to drive....
3. Lost in Space. Space games just ooze story telling ideas. So many that you couldn't possibly ever run out of them....
4.Welcome Aboard. Like to fly? Well every flight can be a story as you rack up the hours and battle weather, busy airports, aging planes and cranky customers and heavy cargo.
5. Rookie Racer. This is another area of great story telling potential. Tell the story of your rise from support driver to World Champion !!
Research Research Research
While it is certainly possible to tell a completely fictional story, it is often better to interject at least a bit of reality into your tales. For me, research is the fun bit, I look at all kinds of things for my role play series, such as: Real world techniques, real world regulations, milk prices, land prices, etc etc. The little bit of "real world" helps "ground" your stories and helps your viewers relate to them easier. Don't be scared by research it doesn't have to be a full time job, Google is your friend.
This is the BIG one. I tend to be "me" in my stories (or at least a heavily "BP" based character)The reason for this is simple, it makes it easier. I know me and I don't have to work too hard on character creation. If you enjoy creating characters by all means go ahead and be whoever or whatever you like, but remember that you will probably be telling this story for quite a while and be sure to stay consistent. Video story telling isn't like writing a book. You will most likely record only a few videos a week and it takes much longer to flesh out and develop your story and your characters. Keeping as close to what you know as possible will make that process easier.
"But BP I'm nervous, what if I mess up or forget something or the story is boring?" Relax. At the end of the day, it is YOUR story, YOUR characters and YOUR video. There is no right or wrong, no one way to tell a great story, Again it's not a book it's a living, evolving thing, If you forget a story hook or something that happened 6 videos ago, don't worry about it. You can get to it next time. At the end of the day the story is yours and the only thing that matters is if YOU like it and if YOU are having fun doing it. Don't stress yourself thinking that every episode has to be an action packed "blockbuster", it doesn't. Some days nothing happens. Use those days to "flesh out" your characters or your setting. Don't worry you'll find something to talk about, I promise.
In conclusion, There are endless stories waiting to be told. Tell yours. If you are very lucky you might even find someone to help you as I have been so fortunate to find. The Farming Simulator 15 Old Ridge Farm Series is a labor of love for me and Mereman, and I am honored to be a part of it. No go out and create YOUR masterpiece, I can't wait to see it !!