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Hot Ones, Stormtrooper Colour Theory & a Free Steve Jobs Book
Ten links from the team at Storythings
One of the challenges of writing a newsletter like this is that there are times when there are lots of great pieces of writing that you want to include but can’t because you don’t want to upset the balance. For example, I’ve seen a lot of newsletters recently overtaken by AI stories. This week I could’ve filled the newsletter with stories about Succession. I’ve avoided the temptation (and the spoilers) and instead opted for a wonderful long read from Vanity Fair on the Murdoch family. It’s packed with the kinds of stories fans of Succession regularly tune in for.
Last week we unpacked a podcast about opera called Aria Code. Great name, right? Do you have a favourite format you’d like to unpack?
As you may know, we have a new thing starting soon. It’s called Proper Fancy. We recently produced a report on the six ways hybrid work is changing our attention. One thing that came out of the research was that people missed the sharing of inspiration that happens in the workplace. So we decided to put on a team Show and Tell but for people without a team. Or even for people with a team that doesn’t do this sort of thing. Sign up and join us for some inspiration.
OK. Enough from me. Enjoy this week’s stories and have the best weekend, EVER!
Inside Rupert Murdoch’s Succession Drama (22 min read)
Video Views: So, What Do These Numbers Really Mean? (7 min read)
Six Stories That Explain Where Ideas Come From (4 min read)
RuPubicans - AI-Generated Images of US Conservatives in Drag (Instagram account)
Kubrik’s Use of One-Point Perspective (2 min watch)
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Inside Rupert Murdoch’s Succession Drama
Oh boy! This is one helluva read! If you’re a fan of Succession then you’re going to love this from Vanity Fair. It looks at the battle for succession and love in the Murdoch family whilst also providing a lot of gossip including how Wendy Deng injured Murdoch in a fight, how Rupert ended his marriage to Jerry Hall, his dislike of Trump and the massive shadow currently hanging over Fox News. It’s the must-read-long-read for your weekend.
(22 min read)
The 10 Laws of Human Communication
A good list that came to me via Alex Morris’ Strat_Scraps newsletter - a must for all strategists. I’ve recently finished reading How Minds Change by David McRaney which I highly recommend for anyone working in comms that likes this kinda thing.
Video Views: So, What Do These Numbers Really Mean?
In the second of our series looking at the history of the metrics we use to measure audience attention, our very own Matt Locke turns his sights on the controversial video view. As Matt points out: “There is probably no other content metric that is as important, and yet so complex, as the video view. Since the middle of the last century, when TV started to take over the living room, to the rise of TikTok in the last few years, the same question has been asked by everyone from programme makers to schedulers to advertisers to on-screen talent - ‘is anyone actually watching this?’”
(7 min read)
Six Stories That Explain Where Ideas Come From
I really like this newsletter format. Six short stories with one thing in common. They all tell a story about where ideas come from. The connection this week is that the writer uses stories about Nirvana, Willy Wonka and Nike to demonstrate ideas coming from disparate sources.
(4 min read)
The Term Paper That Became a Memo That Changed Disney’s Storytelling Approach
In 1978, Chris Vogler was a film student at USC. He wrote a paper about a book on story structure that he was reading at the time. Years later he got a job at Disney and distilled that paper into a short memo. That memo would lead Disney out of its Dark Age and change its approach to storytelling forever.
(2 min read)
What the Colour Stormtrooper White Really Means to Us
The Color Codex is a series that looks at what specific colors — in specific material manifestations — mean to us. It includes Prince’s gothic purple, the postbox red, and this short but interesting read on Stormtrooper white and it’s influence on technology: “In Western culture, white is purity, morality, honesty; it’s the color of transparency, i.e. the closest color you can get to the idea of the absence of color. But in all contemporary pop culture and technology design contexts, it’s less about the white and more about the play between white and the inevitable black that sits underneath the white. Because — from Stormtroopers to iPhones to the Land Rover Evoque, there’s always black underneath. Black is complexity, technical sophistication, moral ambiguity — but by cladding that black in Stormtrooper White, you’re being reassured: don’t worry about how it works, you’re good — in both senses of the word.”
(3 min read)
The Rest of World Photo Competition Winners
Rest of World writes about the use of technology outside of the West in a way that really challenges expectations. As a way of doing this, it launched a photography contest. These winning entries tell big stories in the most engaging way and provide valuable lessons for content teams thinking about how to tell human stories about tech.
(2 min read)
RuPubicans - AI-Generated Images of US Conservatives in Drag
This is wonderful! BTW - check out the documentary we made on the history of drag.
Hot Ones - A 300-Episode Format That Disarms Celebrities With Hot Wings
Way back in 2020 when Formats Unpacked was just a baby, we unpacked the brilliant Hot Ones, a format I would watch a lot of during those lockdown days. As the series approaches its 300th episode, the New York Times talks to the creator and host about its success: “While ‘Hot Ones’ wasn’t created with social media in mind, it is ‘made for it,’ Schonberger said, with each wing being its own two- to three-minute segment designed to have a beginning, middle and end. Then come the reaction GIFs and compilations, which rack up millions of views on TikTok, along with videos of fans trying the sauces themselves.”
(12 min read)
Kubrik’s Use of One-Point Perspective
This beautifully made video demonstrates how Stanley Kubrick used one-point perspective thought his many of his films.
(2 min watch)
Make Something Wonderful - Steve Jobs in His Own Words
Regular readers may remember us pointing to the Steve Jobs Archive last year when it was launched. I was excited to see what kind of content it would be publishing. It’s just published this book which is a collection of Steve’s speeches, interviews, and emails. It’s available to read for free on the site or through Apple Books.
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Thanks for reading. We’ll see you all next week.
Hugh, Matt, Anjali and the whole team at Storythings.