Last weekend I caught up on the latest movie installment of The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 1. Watching it was mostly about indulging my love of post-apocalyptic literature, but I actually found a very interesting storytelling lesson within the movie.
The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 1 continues the series’ plot about the struggle between an evil power and a rebel group who wants to overthrow them. In this struggle the characters make use of propaganda. As Katniss (the heroine) and the rebels look for ways to fight the Capitol, they use storytelling (a.k.a. propaganda) to get buy-in for their cause. As non-profits we also want to get buy-for our cause, and one of the ways we do that is by telling stories that share a vision and values. By telling people about our vision and values is how people self-identify with the cause.
But sometimes these stories fall flat. It happens to the best of us. It can be demoralizing and a total bummer when this happens.
Here’s the common problem with lack luster non-profit stories – they sound too scripted and lack authenticity.
There are two scenes in The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 1 that illustrate this problem and its solution perfectly.
First – the rebels decide that they want to record a propaganda ad for their cause. They choose Katniss to be the face and voice of the ad. They chose her because she represents the values and vision of their cause, and because people love her. Good guidelines for selecting a story!
But as they start to record the story, they realize that it’s falling flat. It didn’t capture Katniss’s passion, nor did it inspire passion. It also didn’t reflect Katniss’s authenticity.
What did they do?
They found a way to re-ignite Katniss’s passion. The result: Katniss shares an incredible story of self about the rebels’ cause. You can watch it below if you’re interested.
What can you do today to improve your stories?
If your stories are falling flat, find a way to inject passion and authenticity into the story. Get out of your office. Get into the thick of things; the action! Go up scripted and let the emotion flow.
Through emotion that we create empathetic connections. This is how you revive a flat story!