• 12.28.13

Tell Better Stories In 2014: Storytelling Insight From Margaret Atwood, Ricky Gervais, And Many More

Take a look back at the stories about stories published on Co.Create in 2013, including pearls of wisdom from Ricky Gervais, Margaret Atwood, a former Pixar artist, and the rest of the best.

The audience Q&A is very much a part of most directors’, writers’, and other artists’ live appearances. In just about every case, someone from the audience will ask the same question, and the artist will sort of cringe internally, even though he or she probably expected it. That question is “Where do you get your ideas?” and there is no good answer. Where does anybody get their ideas from? It’s a naturally occurring phenomenon based on all the pieces of data you’ve acquired bumping into each other in your subconscious, perhaps colliding with a current observation. The worst part about this question is that it misses the point entirely. The innate quality of an idea for a movie, book, or TV show is relative. The true value of your idea is in how you tell the story at its core.


The mere premise of the original series The Office sounds interesting, but it took the imagination and stylistic control of Ricky Gervais to make it into the landmark show that it was. In the wrong hands, Margaret Atwood’s premises might play out like alarmist claptrap, but the way she parcels out information makes the worlds she creates nightmarishly realistic. This year, Co.Create talked to some of the greatest storytellers in television, movies, and the literary world to get some tips on their technique. Whether it’s Joss Whedon describing how to get started, or Bobcat Goldthwait explaining how to finish a screenplay draft in just a week, there’s more than enough advice to help you tell some tales.

Have a look through the slides above for Co.Create’s best bits on storytelling.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.