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Glug Bristol Present Stories - Highlights

Published on Wednesday, 3rd October 2018, contributed by Keri Hudson

Written by Paula Torres Moneu

The next Glug Bristol will take place on Thursday the 11th with an evening dedicated to Mental Health & Creativity. Grab your tickets here.

On 13th Sept, Glug Bristol returned to The Square Club in Clifton to bring you an evening of stories. Taking us as far back to the age of cavemen and campfire gossip, up to today’s Instagram stories, the night’s speakers did not disappoint with their unique – and sometimes opposing – takes on storytelling.

Adam Millbank, Co-founder at JonesMillbank

First up was Adam Millbank, co-founder of video production agency JonesMillbank and all-round story enthusiast. Bringing to our attention the everyday stories that surround us, Adam explained how we as humans have evolved to become the dominant species by using storytelling as a way to communicate with each other.

“Everything is a story. And because of that, as soon as you take a step back from whatever you’re doing, you’ll be able to see them all. The subtle little nuances that everyone puts out there, to tell you how they’re feeling about what they’re doing, is a story. And that our entire lives, we’re telling a story. We’re listening to other people’s stories. We’re also manipulating and persuading people how to change theirs. Whether that’s through film, writing, ... telling a story to me is about being honest, more than anything else. Because we automatically embellish, and if you try to do it you’re going to sound fake. There are ways of being creative with realism. With honesty. That creates a really amazing piece of story.”

At his agency, he champions a human approach to storytelling, highlighting his ethos of remaining honest and avoiding embellishment in order to touch audiences with emotion and authenticity.

Evva Semenowicz, Strategist at Team Eleven

Turning the topic on its head came Evva Semenowicz, strategist at branding agency Team Eleven and keen people observer. She focused on exploring how our own story fits into today’s digital landscape, evaluating whether the endless opportunities to broadcast our lives through today’s fast-paced online platforms have put pressure on all of us to become storytellers.

When we asked her what she thinks the future holds for storytelling, she identified the growing power of nostalgia as a stream that is starting to confront the digital narratives of today:

“To some extent there are two streams. There’s the super fast-paced advancements in technology, and the fact that we have more and more platforms to talk about our digital stories. And on the other hand we have a stream which is almost a counter-culture to that. People are starting to go back to the value of the original storytelling. Sitting around campfires and spreading stories in the most analogue way. I dare to ask anyone about what the future holds, but I think there is this kind of stream happening underneath this fast-paced technology. People are realising there’s a beauty in analog that we perhaps lose in digital. So it’d be interesting to see how we marry the two.”

Jake Smith & Dan Grixti, Co-founders at Tusko Films

Following a much-needed break to replenish our drinks were Jake Smith and Dan Grixti, co-founders at award-winning video production company Tusko Films.

This incredibly talented team of creative directors talked to us about the inspiring life story of North Korean defector Yeonmi Park, who managed to escape the horrors of her home country. Tusko’s award-winning documentary While They Watched follows Yeonmi’s journey through hardship towards freedom, which has now driven her to become a human rights activist helping other victims of human trafficking.

Highlighting the unmatchable ability of video to spread and share a story in today’s globally connected world, Dan let us know what he envisions the future holds for storytelling via this engaging this medium:

“From a video perspective…the future of storytelling is very bright. With major digital platforms like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google committing to and investing in original and third party content we’ll be watching a lot more stories for years to come. This means that there will be more platforms for producers to place their content, and will help the creative and business community connect with audiences in new and exciting ways.”

Jake, on the other hand, wanted to remind us about the important part storytelling plays in our day-to-day lives:

“Stories enable humans to travel through times and places without going anywhere. They can help us remember important events as well as imagine what will happen in the future. Humans are used to stories and love hearing them - these can be ancient myths or biblical stories or entertaining occurrences that happened this week that you recount to your friends over a meal. Coherent stories contain a narrative, usually with a human character, which we empathize with. We go on a journey with this character and feel many emotions, and perhaps learn new things about them, the world, and ourselves.”

Paul Bailey, Strategy Director at We Launch

Wrapping up the event with his personal take on stories was strategy director at We Launch and lover of all things brand – Paul Bailey. Torn between the beauty and tranquillity of the South West and the bustling city of London, Paul divides his time between Bristol and The City as Strategy Director of We Launch.

Paul talked us through his life story, before revealing that his story had actually been carefully crafted to highlight the impact brands – in his case Nike – can have in shaping and influencing our lives.

When we questioned Paul about the relationship between brands and stories, he confessed he holds an unpopular opinion:

“I’m a brand strategist, and I’ve spent years railing against the idea that a brand is a story. I’m totally against that. I’m not against the idea that brands tell stories, just that the brand isn’t a story and that’s all it is. […] When I work in brand strategy I spend an awful lot of time talking to a business, talking to their clients, and then having this mass of information. And then I turn it into something that says: that’s what you’re about. That’s why people care. That’s the story you’re going to tell.”