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課程來源:TED
     

 

Andrew Stanton 談精彩故事的端倪

Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story

 

Photo of three lions hunting on the Serengeti.

講者:Andrew Stanton

2012年2月演講,2012年3月在TED 2012上線

 

翻譯:TED

編輯:朱學恆、洪曉慧

簡繁轉換:洪曉慧

後製:洪曉慧

字幕影片後制:謝旻均

 

影片請按此下載

MAC及手持裝置版本請按此下載

閱讀中文字幕純文字版本

 

關於這場演講

電影製作人Andrew Stanton(《玩具總動員》,《瓦力》),分享他說故事的經驗-從結尾開始,然後回到起點。(有部分令人不快的語言…)

 

關於Andrew Stanton

Andrew Stanton的作品能讓你歡笑,也能讓你哭泣。他是電影《玩具總動員》(三集)的編劇及《瓦力》的編劇兼導演,他最新的電影作品《異星戰場:強卡特戰記》於2012年3月上映。

 

為什麼要聽他演講

Andrew Stanton的第一部電影作品《玩具總動員》完全以電腦製作。但使這部電影成為經典的原因並非在於成熟的圖像製作技術-而是立即融入全世界兒童生活中的故事情節和角色。Stanton的電影作品《玩具總動員》(三集)全都在皮克斯動畫工作室製作,他於1990年成為被工作室延攬的第二位動畫師。他以《海底總動員》和《瓦力》的編劇兼導演身份得過兩座奧斯卡獎。我們跟Edgar Rice Burroughs(《異星戰場:強卡特戰記》原著作者)一樣,屏息等待他的幻想冒險電影《異星戰場:強卡特戰記》於3月上映。

 

「成為有影響力和眾所矚目的人,幾乎讓我覺得突破現狀是一種義務。」

-Andrew Stanton

 

Andrew Stanton的英語網上資料

Home: pixar.com

 

[TED科技‧娛樂‧設計]

已有中譯字幕的TED影片目錄(繁體)(簡體)。請注意繁簡目錄是不一樣的。

 

Andrew Stanton 談精彩故事的端倪

 

一名背包客在蘇格蘭高地旅遊,在一家酒館停下來喝一杯,酒館裡只有酒保和一位喝著啤酒的老人家。背包客點了一杯酒,他們默默地坐了一會兒。突然間,老人家轉向他說,「看到這間酒吧嗎?我用全縣最好的木材親手建成這間酒吧,對它付出的愛和關懷比對我孩子更多,但他們會叫我酒吧建造者MacGregor嗎?不。」然後指向窗外,「你看見外面那堵石牆嗎?我赤手築起那堵石牆,找來每塊石頭,在風吹雨淋中將它疊起,但他們會叫我石牆建造者MacGregor嗎?不。」然後指向窗外,「你看見湖邊那座碼頭嗎?我赤手建成那座碼頭,一根根地把樁柱打進沙中,但他們會叫我碼頭建造者MacGregor嗎?不。但只要你跟一頭羊做愛…」

 

(笑聲)

 

說故事-(笑聲)就是說笑話,就是知道你的笑點、故事的結局、知道你所說的一切,從第一句到最後一句話,都導向一個目標-理想地確認某些加深我們身為人類認知的真理。我們都愛聽故事,我們為故事而生,故事定義了我們是什麼樣的人。我們都想肯定生命是有意義的,沒有任何事物能比透過故事相連帶來更大的肯定,它可以跨越時間、障礙、過去、現在和未來,讓我們得以感受彼此或他人之間的異同,無論是真實或想像的。

 

兒童電視節目主持人Rogers先生,錢包裡經常帶著一位社會工作者的箴言,它寫著,「坦白說,一旦你聽過某人的故事,必定能學會去愛他。」我喜歡將這句話引申為-這或許是說故事最重要的誡律,那就是「令我關心-」請你,不管在感情、理智或美學上,只要令我關心-我們都知道毫不在乎是什麼感覺,你一個接一個地轉換了數百個電視頻道,然後突然停在某個頻道上,它已播放了一半,但某些東西吸引了你,讓你著迷、關心,這並非偶然,而是經過精心設計。

 

這令我思考,如果我要告訴你們我與故事的歷史,我如何為它來到這個世界,如何在過程中不斷學習這個題材?為了使它更有趣,我會從結局開始,然後回到起點。如果我先讓你們知道這個故事的結局,它會像這樣:這就是最後讓我來到TED跟各位訴說關於故事這個主題的原因。

 

我最近的故事學習課程是2012年剛完成的一部電影,片名是《異星戰場:強卡特戰記》,是根據愛德加(Edgar Rice Burroughs)所寫的《火星公主》拍成。愛德加也在影片中插了一腳,擔任旁白,他被富有的叔叔強卡特召去豪宅,電報上寫著,「立刻來見我。」當他抵達時,發現叔叔神秘地去世了,被埋在家族陵墓裡。

 

(影片)管家:你找不到鎖孔的,它只能從裡面打開,他堅持不做防腐處理、不開棺、不舉行葬禮,如果你像我們一樣,是不可能得到你叔叔那筆巨大財富的,對吧?來,我們進去看看。

 

AS:原著中也有這一幕,它基本上是給你一個承諾。它給你一個承諾,故事會發展出某個值得你花時間觀看的情節。所有優秀故事開始時都該這麼做,給你一個承諾。有無數方法可以做到這一點,有時只是簡單地說「很久以前…」。強卡特系列故事裡都有愛德加的旁白,我認為這是一個很棒的工具,就像有人邀請你圍著營火聽故事,或酒吧裡有人說,「讓我告訴你一個故事,這並非發生在我身上,而是別人身上,但它值得你花時間聽聽。」一個好的承諾就像彈弓上蓄勢待發的石子,推動你前進,直到故事的結局。

 

2008年,我把當時對故事的所有理論,在這部影片裡發揮到我能理解的極限。

 

(影片)

 

(機械聲響)

 

〔這就是愛的意義〕

 

〔我們會在時間消逝後〕

 

〔記得它〕

 

(笑聲)

 

AS:沒有對話的故事是電影故事最純粹的形式,它是你可採用的最包容方式,它印證了一些我直覺的感受,就是事實上觀眾希望能自己準備食物,他們只是不想知道自己在這麼做,那就是說故事者的任務-隱瞞你讓他們自己準備食物的事實。人類天生就有解決問題的傾向,我們不自覺地進行演譯和歸納,因為這正是我們在現實生活中所做的。正是這種有組織的訊息缺乏吸引了我們,我們被嬰兒或小狗吸引是有原因的,不單是因他們可愛,而是因為他們無法完整表達自己的想法和意圖。這就像一塊磁鐵,我們忍不住想完成這個句子。

 

我首次開始真正明白說故事的工具,是和Bob Peterson一起寫《海底總動員》的時候,我們稱之為二加二統一理論。讓觀眾自行將劇情元素結合在一起,不要給他們總和,給他們二加二。你提供劇情元素和編排順序,這對你是否能成功吸引觀眾投入有關鍵作用;編輯和編劇們一直都知道這一點,不著痕跡地應用這一點,吸引了我們對故事的關注。我不是有意使它聽起來像是精確科學,它不是,這就是為何故事那麼特別。它們不是零件,它們並不精確,好故事令人無法抗拒,但它們是難以預測的。

 

我今年參加了表演老師Judith Weston的研討會,我學到對角色的重要見解。她認為所有出色的角色都有個主軸,這是指角色裡蘊含著內在的驅動力,一個他們在無意識間所追求的、具主導性的目標,一個他們搔不著的癢處。她舉了一個很好的例子,就是艾爾.帕西諾在《教父》中飾演的Michael Corleone。他的主軸或許是討好他的父親,那一直驅動著他所有的選擇,即使他父親去世後,他依然遵循著這個思維,這個發現令我如魚得水。《瓦力》是對美的追求;《海底總動員》中的父親馬林追求的是避免傷害;《玩具總動員》中,胡迪追求的是對小孩最好的事。但這些主軸並不總是能驅使你做出最佳的選擇,有時你或許會做出可怕的選擇。

 

我很幸運能身為家長,看著孩子成長,我堅信人類與生俱來就有某種特質和特定想法,你無法置喙,亦無法改變,只能學習瞭解並擁有它。有些人天生擁有正面特質,有些人擁有負面特質,但當你夠成熟,瞭解是什麼驅使你,並去操控它時,你就通過了一道重要的門檻。身為父母,你總是試著瞭解你的孩子,他們也試著瞭解自己,而你仍不斷地試著瞭解自己,所以我們無時無刻都在學習,這就是為何變化是故事的基礎。如果事物靜止,故事就失去了生命,因為生活從來就不是一成不變的。

 

1998年,我寫完《玩具總動員》和《蟲蟲危機》之後,完全迷上了編劇,所以我想做得更好,盡我所能地學習,盡我所能地研究一切。最後我看到這句美妙的箴言,英國劇作家William Archer所說的:「戲劇是混合了不確定的期待。」這是個令人難以置信的精闢定義。

 

當你說故事時,是否建立了某種期待?在這短暫的時間裡,你是否讓我想知道接下來會發生什麼?但更重要的是,你是否讓我想知道最終結局?你是否在事實中建立了衝突,使人對可能的結果產生懷疑?在《海底總動員》裡有個例子。在短暫的緊張時刻中,你總是擔心多莉的短暫記憶,是否會使她忘記馬林對她所說的話,但在這背後的是,我們是否能在浩瀚大海中找到尼莫的整體張力。

 

我們在皮克斯動畫早期,在我們真正瞭解故事無形的影響之前,只是一個靠直覺和本能工作的團隊,有趣的是,這引領我們得到相當不錯的成果。你們一定還記得,在1993年這個時候,被視為成功動畫的是《小美人魚》、《美女與野獸》、《阿拉丁》、《獅子王》。當我們首次向湯姆.漢克斯推薦《玩具總動員》時,他走進來說,「你們不是要我唱歌吧?」我想這完美地概括了當時人們對動畫的想法。但我們真的想證明,在動畫中,你可以用完全不同的方式說故事。

 

我們當時並沒有任何影響力,所以我們有一套自己的祕密規則,那就是:沒有歌曲、沒有「我希望」的情節、沒有快樂村莊、沒有愛情故事。諷刺的是,頭一年我們的故事完全行不通,迪士尼慌了,他們私下詢問一位知名作詞人的意見,我不說他的名字,他傳真了幾項建議,我們拿到那份傳真,傳真上寫著:應該有歌曲、應該有一首「我希望」的歌曲、應該有一首快樂村莊的歌曲、應該有一個愛情故事、應該有一個惡棍。感謝上帝,我們當時太年輕、太叛逆、太愛唱反調,這給我們更大的決心,想證明我們能創作出更好的故事。一年之後,我們克服了一切,它證明了說故事可以有指引,但那並非硬性規則。

 

我們學到的另一項基本概念是,喜愛你的主角。我們曾經天真地認為,在《玩具總動員》結尾要讓胡迪變得不自私,你必須從某處開始,我們不妨先把他塑造成自私的角色,就是這樣。

 

(旁白)

 

胡迪:你認為你在做什麼?下床,嘿,下床!

 

蛋頭先生:胡迪,你打算趕我們下床嗎?

 

胡迪:不,是他,彈簧狗?彈簧…彈簧狗!起床!做你的工作,你聾了嗎?我說,把他們處理掉。

 

彈簧狗:抱歉,胡迪,但我不得不同意他們的看法,我不認為你所做的是正確的。

 

胡迪:什麼?我沒聽錯吧?你不認為我是對的?誰說你的工作是思考,彈簧臘腸狗?

 

AS:如何讓一個自私的角色變得討人喜歡?我們發現,你可把他變得仁慈、慷慨、風趣、體貼,唯一的條件是,他永遠是玩具的主角。確實如此,我們都有條件地生活著,我們都願意遵守規則,只要某些條件得到滿足,在此之後,所有共識都將不存在。甚至在我決定以說故事為業之前,現在我瞭解年輕時發生的一些跟故事有關、拓展了我視野的關鍵事物。

 

1986年,我才真正理解故事有主題這個概念,這正是人們修復並重新發行《阿拉伯的勞倫斯》那一年,我在一個月內看了那部戲七次,百看不厭,我可以看出蘊含在其中的偉大設計-藏在每一個鏡頭、每一個埸景、每一行對白中,雖然表面上看似描述他的歷史背景,但其中還蘊含著更多東西。那究竟是什麼?直到我看最後一次時,才揭開這道神秘面紗。那是他橫越西奈沙漠的場景。當他抵達蘇伊士運河時,我突然明白了。

 

(影片)(音樂)

 

男孩:嘿!嘿!嘿!嘿!

 

騎車的人:你是誰?你是誰?

 

AS:這就是主題:你是誰?其中所有看似不相關的事件和對話,只是依時間順序描述他的經歷,但蘊含在其中的是一件恆久不變的事,一個指引,一個路線圖。勞倫斯在電影裡所做的一切,是企圖為自己找出在世界上的定位。一個好故事中,總會貫穿著一個強而有力的主題。

 

我五歲時接觸到我認為或許是故事應具備的最主要元素,但人們卻很少應用它。這是五歲時媽媽帶我去看的電影。

 

(影片)(音樂)

 

桑普:來吧,沒問題的,看,水已經結冰了。

 

斑比:喔耶!

 

桑普:想玩嗎,斑比?來吧,起來吧!像這樣。哈哈,不,不,不。

 

AS:我走出電影院,驚喜地睜大雙眼,我認為的神奇成份、秘密醬汁就是用奇蹟調和。奇蹟是誠實的、完全天真的,不可能人為地誘發。對我來說,世上最偉大的能力莫過於另一個人讓你感受到這一切的恩賜,在它們出現的短暫時刻中,緊緊握住它們,讓它們順從於奇蹟。當它被喚醒時,對生命的肯定幾乎滲入你細胞當中,當一位藝術家將它施予另一位藝術家時,彷彿強迫你將它傳遞出去。它就像一道沈睡的指令,突然在你體內被喚醒,彷彿魔鬼塔的呼喚,要你將所感受到的施予他人。最好的故事總是注入了奇蹟。

 

我四歲時有個栩栩如生的記憶,我發現腳踝上有兩道細微的疤痕,我問爸爸那是什麼?他說我頭上也有一對相似的疤痕,但因為頭髮遮住所以看不見。他說我出生時不足月,我是早產兒,並未完全發育成熟,我病得十分厲害,當醫生看見我這個皮膚泛黃、牙齒泛黑的嬰孩後,他看著我媽媽說,「他活不成的。」我在醫院住了幾個月,輸了很多次血,終於活了下來,這使我與眾不同。

 

我不確定自己是否真的相信這個說法,也不知道我父母是否真的相信,但我不想證明他們是錯的。無論最後我有什麼成就,我會為了上天給我的第二次機會而努力。

 

(影片)(哭泣聲)

 

馬林:乖,乖,乖沒事了,爸爸在這裡,爸爸找到你了,我保證永遠不會再讓你發生任何事,尼莫。

 

AS:這就是我上的第一堂故事課。使用你知道的東西,汲取其中精髓,那不一定意味著情節或事實,那意味著從你的體驗裡捕捉真理,表達你內心深處感受到的價值,這就是最後讓我今天在TED跟各位演講的原因。

 

謝謝大家。

 

(掌聲)

 

以下為系統擷取之英文原文

About this Talk

Filmmaker Andrew Stanton ("Toy Story," "WALL-E") shares what he knows about storytelling -- starting at the end and working back to the beginning. (Contains graphic language ...)

About the Speaker

Andrew Stanton has made you laugh and cry. The writer behind the three "Toy Story" movies and the writer/director of "WALL-E," he releases his new film, "John Carter," in March. Full bio »

Transcript

A tourist is backpacking through the highlands of Scotland, and he stops at a pub to get a drink. And the only people in there is a bartender and an old man nursing a beer. And he orders a pint, and they sit in silence for a while. And suddenly the old man turns to him and goes, "You see this bar? I built this bar with my bare hands from the finest wood in the county. Gave it more love and care than my own child. But do they call me MacGregor the bar builder? No." Points out the window. "You see that stone wall out there? I built that stone wall with my bare hands. Found every stone, placed them just so through the rain and the cold. But do they call me MacGregor the stone wall builder? No." Points out the window. "You see that pier on the lake out there? I built that pier with my bare hands.Drove the pilings against the tide of the sand, plank by plank. But do they call me MacGregor the pier builder? No. But you fuck one goat ... "

(Laughter)

Storytelling -- (Laughter) is joke telling. It's knowing your punchline, your ending, knowing that everything you're saying, from the first sentence to the last, is leading to a singular goal, and ideally confirming some truth that deepens our understandings of who we are as human beings. We all love stories. We're born for them. Stories affirm who we are. We all want affirmations that our lives have meaning. And nothing does a greater affirmationthan when we connect through stories. It can cross the barriers of time, past, present and future, and allow us to experience the similarities between ourselves and through others, real and imagined.

The children's television host Mr. Rogers always carried in his wallet a quote from a social worker that said, "Frankly, there isn't anyone you couldn't learn to love once you've heard their story." And the way I like to interpret that is probably the greatest story commandment, which is "Make me care" -- please, emotionally, intellectually, aesthetically, just make me care. We all know what it's like to not care. You've gone through hundreds of TV channels, just switching channel after channel, and then suddenly you actually stop on one. It's already halfway over, but something's caught you and you're drawn in and you care. That's not by chance, that's by design.

So it got me thinking, what if I told you my history was story, how I was born for it, how I learned along the way this subject matter? And to make it more interesting, we'll start from the ending and we'll go to the beginning. And so if I were going to give you the ending of this story, it would go something like this: And that's what ultimately led me to speaking to you here at TED about story.

And the most current story lesson that I've had was completing the film I've just done this year in 2012. The film is "John Carter." It's based on a book called "The Princess of Mars,"which was written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. And Edgar Rice Burroughs actually put himself as a character inside this movie, and as the narrator. And he's summoned by his rich uncle, John Carter, to his mansion with a telegram saying, "See me at once." But once he gets there, he's found out that his uncle has mysteriously passed away and been entombed in a mausoleum on the property.

(Video) Butler: You won't find a keyhole. Thing only opens from the inside. He insisted, no embalming, no open coffin, no funeral. You don't acquire the kind of wealth your uncle commanded by being like the rest of us, huh? Come, let's go inside.

AS: What this scene is doing, and it did in the book, is it's fundamentally making a promise. It's making a promise to you that this story will lead somewhere that's worth your time. And that's what all good stories should do at the beginning, is they should give you a promise. You could do it an infinite amount of ways. Sometimes it's as simple as "Once upon a time ... " These Carter books always had Edgar Rice Burroughs as a narrator in it.And I always thought it was such a fantastic device. It's like a guy inviting you around the campfire, or somebody in a bar saying, "Here, let me tell you a story. It didn't happen to me, it happened to somebody else, but it's going to be worth your time." A well told promise is like a pebble being pulled back in a slingshot and propels you forward through the story to the end.

In 2008, I pushed all the theories that I had on story at the time to the limits of my understanding on this project.

(Video) (Mechanical Sounds) ♫ And that is all ♫ ♫ that love's about ♫ ♫ And we'll recall ♫♫ when time runs out ♫ ♫ That it only ♫ (Laughter)

AS: Storytelling without dialogue. It's the purest form of cinematic storytelling. It's the most inclusive approach you can take. It confirmed something I really had a hunch on, is that the audience actually wants to work for their meal. They just don't want to know that they're doing that. That's your job as a storyteller, is to hide the fact that you're making them work for their meal. We're born problem solvers. We're compelled to deduce and to deduct,because that's what we do in real life. It's this well-organized absence of information that draws us in. There's a reason that we're all attracted to an infant or a puppy. It's not just that they're damn cute; it's because they can't completely express what they're thinking and what their intentions are. And it's like a magnet. We can't stop ourselves from wanting to complete the sentence and fill it in.

I first started really understanding this storytelling device when I was writing with Bob Peterson on "Finding Nemo." And we would call this the unifying theory of two plus two.Make the audience put things together. Don't give them four, give them two plus two. The elements you provide and the order you place them in is crucial to whether you succeed or fail at engaging the audience. Editors and screenwriters have known this all along. It's the invisible application that holds our attention to story. I don't mean to make it sound like this is an actual exact science, it's not. That's what's so special about stories, they're not a widget, they aren't exact. Stories are inevitable, if they're good, but they're not predictable.

I took a seminar in this year with an acting teacher named Judith Weston. And I learned a key insight to character. She believed that all well-drawn characters have a spine. And the idea is that the character has an inner motor, a dominant, unconscious goal that they're striving for, an itch that they can't scratch. She gave a wonderful example of Michael Corleone, Al Pacino's character in "The Godfather," and that probably his spine was to please his father. And it's something that always drove all his choices. Even after his father died, he was still trying to scratch that itch. I took to this like a duck to water. Wall-E's was to find the beauty. Marlin's, the father in "Finding Nemo," was to prevent harm. And Woody's was to do what was best for his child. And these spines don't always drive you to make the best choices. Sometimes you can make some horrible choices with them.

I'm really blessed to be a parent, and watching my children grow, I really firmly believe that you're born with a temperament and you're wired a certain way, and you don't have any say about it, and there's no changing it. All you can do is learn to recognize it and own it. And some of us are born with temperaments that are positive, some are negative. But a major threshold is passed when you mature enough to acknowledge what drives you and to take the wheel and steer it. As parents, you're always learning who your children are.They're learning who they are. And you're still learning who you are. So we're all learning all the time. And that's why change is fundamental in story. If things go static, stories die,because life is never static.

In 1998, I had finished writing "Toy Story" and "A Bug's Life" and I was completely hooked on screenwriting. So I wanted to become much better at it and learn anything I could. So I researched everything I possibly could. And I finally came across this fantastic quote by a British playwright, William Archer: "Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty." It's an incredibly insightful definition.

When you're telling a story, have you constructed anticipation? In the short-term, have you made me want to know what will happen next? But more importantly, have you made me want to know how it will all conclude in the long-term? Have you constructed honest conflicts with truth that creates doubt in what the outcome might be? An example would be in "Finding Nemo," in the short tension, you were always worried, would Dory's short-term memory make her forget whatever she was being told by Marlin. But under that was this global tension of will we ever find Nemo in this huge, vast ocean?

In our earliest days at Pixar, before we truly understood the invisible workings of story, we were simply a group of guys just going on our gut, going on our instincts. And it's interesting to see how that led us places that were actually pretty good. You've got to remember that in this time of year, 1993, what was considered a successful animated picture was "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," "Aladdin," "Lion King." So when we pitched "Toy Story" to Tom Hanks for the first time, he walked in and he said, "You don't want me to sing, do you?" And I thought that epitomized perfectly what everybody thought animation had to be at the time. But we really wanted to prove that you could tell stories completely different in animation.

We didn't have any influence then, so we had a little secret list of rules that we kept to ourselves. And they were: No songs, no "I want" moment, no happy village, no love story.And the irony is that, in the first year, our story was not working at all and Disney was panicking. So they privately got advice from a famous lyricist, who I won't name, and he faxed them some suggestions. And we got a hold of that fax. And the fax said, there should be songs, there should be an "I want" song, there should be a happy village song,there should be a love story and there should be a villain. And thank goodness we were just too young, rebellious and contrarian at the time. That just gave us more determinationto prove that you could build a better story. And a year after that, we did conquer it. And it just went to prove that storytelling has guidelines, not hard, fast rules.

Another fundamental thing we learned was about liking your main character. And we had naively thought, well Woody in "Toy Story" has to become selfless at the end, so you've got to start from someplace. So let's make him selfish. And this is what you get.

(Voice Over) Woody: What do you think you're doing? Off the bed. Hey, off the bed! Mr. Potato Head: You going to make us, Woody? Woody: No, he is. Slinky? Slink ... Slinky! Get up here and do your job. Are you deaf? I said, take care of them. Slinky: I'm sorry, Woody,but I have to agree with them. I don't think what you did was right. Woody: What? Am I hearing correctly? You don't think I was right? Who said your job was to think, Spring Wiener?

AS: So how do you make a selfish character likable? We realized, you can make him kind,generous, funny, considerate, as long as one condition is met for him, is that he stays the top toy. And that's what it really is, is that we all live life conditionally. We're all willing to play by the rules and follow things along, as long as certain conditions are met. After that, all bets are off. And before I'd even decided to make storytelling my career, I can now see key things that happened in my youth that really sort of opened my eyes to certain things about story.

In 1986, I truly understood the notion of story having a theme. And that was the year that they restored and re-released "Lawrence of Arabia." And I saw that thing seven times in one month. I couldn't get enough of it. I could just tell there was a grand design under it --in every shot, every scene, every line. Yet, on the surface it just seemed to be depicting his historical lineage of what went on. Yet, there was something more being said. What exactly was it? And it wasn't until, on one of my later viewings, that the veil was lifted and it was in a scene where he's walked across the Sinai Desert and he's reached the Suez Canal, and I suddenly got it.

(Video) Boy: Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Cyclist: Who are you? Who are you?

AS: That was the theme: Who are you? Here were all these seemingly disparate events and dialogues that just were chronologically telling the history of him, but underneath it was a constant, a guideline, a road map. Everything Lawrence did in that movie was an attempt for him to figure out where his place was in the world. A strong theme is always running through a well-told story.

When I was five, I was introduced to possibly the most major ingredient that I feel a story should have, but is rarely invoked. And this is what my mother took me to when I was five.

(Video) Thumper: Come on. It's all right. Look. The water's stiff. Bambi: Yippee! Thumper: Some fun, huh, Bambi? Come on. Get up. Like this. Ha ha. No, no, no.

AS: I walked out of there wide-eyed with wonder. And that's what I think the magic ingredient is, the secret sauce, is can you invoke wonder. Wonder is honest, it's completely innocent. It can't be artificially evoked. For me, there's no greater ability than the gift of another human being giving you that feeling -- to hold them still just for a brief moment in their day and have them surrender to wonder. When it's tapped, the affirmation of being alive, it reaches you almost to a cellular level. And when an artist does that to another artist, it's like you're compelled to pass it on. It's like a dormant command that suddenly is activated in you, like a call to Devil's Tower. Do unto others what's been done to you. The best stories infuse wonder.

When I was four years old, I have a vivid memory of finding two pinpoint scars on my ankleand asking my dad what they were. And he said I had a matching pair like that on my head, but I couldn't see them because of my hair. And he explained that when I was born, I was born premature, that I came out much too early, and I wasn't fully baked; I was very, very sick. And when the doctor took a look at this yellow kid with black teeth, he looked straight at my mom and said, "He's not going to live." And I was in the hospital for months.And many blood transfusions later, I lived, and that made me special.

I don't know if I really believe that. I don't know if my parents really believe that, but I didn't want to prove them wrong. Whatever I ended up being good at, I would strive to be worthy of the second chance I was given.

(Video) (Crying) Marlin: There, there, there. It's okay, daddy's here. Daddy's got you. I promise, I will never let anything happen to you, Nemo.

AS: And that's the first story lesson I ever learned. Use what you know. Draw from it. It doesn't always mean plot or fact. It means capturing a truth from your experiencing it,expressing values you personally feel deep down in your core. And that's what ultimately led me to speaking to you here at TEDTalk today.

Thank you.

(Applause)


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