February 02, 2008

TED Talks - J.J. Abrams: The mystery box

Hearing about Carmen Deedy's experience at TED in 2005 got me thinking. I certainly appreciate that the TED conference organizers invited a storyteller... that they felt it important to have an oral storyteller share the stage (I'm missing information here, though, it's not clear to me if Carmen was invited as a "performer" or a "thinker," or even if TED makes that distinction). By the limited accounts available on the web, she certainly made an impression (not bad, considering Bono was the main attraction that year), but I wish I knew more.
In her plea for the importance of story, did she merely rely on the personal story?
When she said that "the storyteller has been relegated to the secondary or tertiary role in the community," was she merely bemoaning the loss of tradition. Did she acknowledge the role of technology (or was she simply stepping into an assigned role of the vanishing anthropological relic)?

TED has not published the video of her talk, so for now, the questions remained unanswered.

I'm including here a TED talk from 2007 from J.J. Abrams, the writer and director (Alias, Lost, Cloverfield). Now here's a storyteller who's unabashedly awed by technology... because it allows him (and inspires him) to fully express his creativity. I'm including his rambling TED talk here, not because I think Abram's evangelizing of the democratizing power of technology to create is that relevant, but because his metaphor of the "mystery box" acknowledges fundamentals of our art form: that mystery is the catalyst for the audience's imagination, that witholding information makes the imagination work harder (and makes stories more satisfying), and that a story's narrative is not its content.

Also, I'm a huge fan of Lost.

If you were asked to perform at TED, what would you say?


curiostrip said...

Another storyteller I enjoyed at last year's TED Conference was Ben Dunlap: The story of a passionate life.

Anonymous said...

Given that I'm new to storytelling I was left wondering "TED is what"?

Totally Erotic Deeds
Terrible Educational Discipline
Termite Essence Destroyed
Terrific Egg Disruptor

Typically, good authors will give the complete version of an acronym before using it wholesale in its abbreviated form.

Tim said...

Technology, Entertainment, Design.

Typically, good readers will click through links and read earlier blog entries to pick up on the nuances of the conversation before using the comments to advertise their ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Nuts! I was hoping for the Terrific Egg Disruptor.