Storytelling that Works

In the past few years, I haven’t done much reading for pleasure. I’ve picked up the odd Harry Potter book or an old graphic novel from my dad’s collection, but with the overwhelming presence of technology and the distractions that come with it, I’ve found it quite difficult to have my attention pulled for long enough for me to get truly invested into a novel. Thankfully, though, there are stories found all throughout the digital world. Our favorite TV shows and movies tell stories, with shows often having a different story each episode, not even necessarily compounding throughout a season or series to make a full story. Documentaries, news articles, “story” posts to social media platforms such as Snapchat or Instagram, TikToks…the list goes on. Though we may not realize it, storytelling is a huge part of our society and we absorb information from these stories each and every day.

Recently, I’ve been very interested in criminal documentaries on YouTube as well as other content on the platform about sharing personal stories from the perspective of a “survivor” of said scenario. A YouTuber by the name of Anthony Padilla makes very progressive and informative but relaxed and consumable content of this type, and I’d like to specifically focus on his video titled I spent a day with HOME INVASION SURVIVORS.

Anthony Padilla’s Home Invasion Video (the video is meant to start at the beginning)

The first important thing to note about this storytelling scenario is that the environment is specifically made to be comforting and light, with genuine intrigue from the interviewer, Anthony, while being respectful with his tone. It’s necessary to note this because it perhaps changes the way that the 3 interviewees respond and reconstruct their story in front of the world. The music and sound effects in the background also change the mood as a viewer, in a way directing your emotions to feel the stress, relief, anguish, and other emotions that are being expressed.

When the actual storytelling from each individual begins, it’s clear that they all feel comfortable sharing their stories with Anthony and the audience, but across the 3 people, you can draw a different sense of commitment to details. The YouTuber who’s home was invaded is clearly still cautious about sharing full details and clearly has battled day in and day out with the trauma. The person who’s whole family was killed in front of him has clearly told this story plenty of times as an adult and has had time to come to terms with the reality that is his life, growing from the experience rather than letting it defeat him. The man who fought back and has the footage clearly feels victorious and instead of lingering on the fact that he was invaded is obviously grateful that things worked out the way they did and that he was able to overcome the nightmare. These character analyses may be subjective and up to interpretation, but regardless show that fact that what is unsaid or how something is said play deeply into the tone, mood, and message of a story.

While this video may be bending the rules of what truly is a story, or may seem unfair to classify this collection of stories as one for this assignment, but I feel that having three perspectives and takes on a similar occasion helps reiterate the power of effective storytelling. For example, the vocabulary used by the 3 interviewees in the video can be picked apart to show that when Cash calls the invader a “gentleman,” he clearly has different feelings after the fact than Gavin who struggles to find words in the first place to speak about his invader. Though on the longer side, a bit back forth and all over the place, I feel that this video serves as perfect educational material and looking at it under a deeper lens of analysis tells a great deal about storytelling that works.