Storytelling Secrets from the Creators of South Park

We love a good laugh here at Get Storied and we figure you probably do, too.  Over the years, we’ve chuckled at a number of TV shows and video shorts, but nothing makes us fall out of our chairs with quite the same regularity as an episode of South Park.

If you’re a South Park fan, you’ve probably wondered what’s kept audiences coming back for fourteen seasons with the same dozen characters.  Well, thanks to this entertaining video from MTV, we now know the answer.

It all comes down to great storytelling.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of the Peabody Award-winning series South Park and the Tony Award-winning musical The Book of Mormon, recently paid a surprise visit to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.  As you can see in the video, the kids lose their cool in front of the dynamic duo.

Even for non-fans, Parker and Stone have lots of funny and insightful stuff to say.

Here are three of Parker and Stone’s powerful, on-point tips for telling a great story:

1. Never Say “No” to Your Ideas

Don’t shut yourself down prematurely. Great ideas and stories rarely arrive fully formed, so it’s worth trying out things that you think may not work right away.  Even if an idea turns out to be a dud, it may inspire something great down the line.

2.  Keep the Audience on Their Toes

Good stories make an audience think.  When you tell a story, things should happen for a reason (“x happens, therefore y happens).  The moment you find yourself getting bored (x happens, then y happens, then z happens), go back and look at your process and see if everything makes sense.

3.  Stick to Your Deadlines

Give yourself a deadline and stick to it.  When you give yourself too much time, it’s easy to get bogged down in details or second-guess your decisions.  Work until the deadline and then move on.