One of the questions I am most frequently asked is, why pursue a career in storytelling or directing?
Storytellers and directors develop a craft that goes even deeper than the movies, TV shows, and media we see; they develop important skills applicable to any industry.
Here are six:
Unique understanding of human nature
Simplicity, as it relates to the human experience, is at the root of any good story, and we all know that stories help us connect to the simple, powerful parts of our humanity that make life worthwhile. Directors and storytellers know how to find that simple connection to human experience and harness the power of a story to help us recognise goals, process emotion, and comprehend the world and people around us. Translated to the professional sphere, learning to ask the right questions and make hard choices as a storyteller allows students to develop unique insights into human nature — an asset for any professional.
Navigate globalisation: story as the universal language
As I’ve travelled and taught around the world, every person I’ve met has one simple, beautiful thing in common: they all love a good story. Story is a universal language, and storytelling and directing skills are in demand in all corners of the world, including the world’s largest film industry here in India.
If you can tell a story well, you will find that the world is hungry for your stories. I have seen this principle at work in our vibrant student community at New York Film Academy (NYFA) and know that effective storytellers and directors build a stronger, more connected world.
Key questions across industry boundaries
Understanding the core elements required for any good story illuminates in a strikingly simple way the questions that drive any industry, questions like: how do we connect with our audience? What is our primary goal?
Directors and storytellers are dealing with these questions constantly, and become expert in decision-making, leadership, communication, creative thinking, and problem-solving. This kind of leadership ability, and the experience of developing an idea through from first concept to fully-realised production, is something that serves our students well, no matter their chosen career path.
Learn to communicate ideas and take leadership
The ability to make ideas visible is power. A strong storyteller or director can take even complex ideas and translate them for an audience in a way that clearly and simply conveys the vision of a project — again, a skill in demand across industries.
Why are storytellers and directors such effective leaders and communicators? Because their work demands clarity. On a chaotic film set, a director must be able to spearhead her crew while also making sure each decision, piece of equipment, and collaborator is aligned and working toward realising the same vision. They learn how to get others inspired by and passionate about their ideas.
Excellent storytelling requires intense cooperation with people from different cultures and backgrounds. Our students learn from their first day of class that they must work together to reach their goals, support each other’s projects, and earn respect. These values are essential for success as visual and performing artists, but even more than that, this kind of intensive collaboration has a truly unique power to unleash new ideas. Collaboration leads to innovation.
Diverse voices and new stories in demand
At a time when the entertainment industry is making important strides toward inclusion, NYFA believes that our philosophy of “learning by doing” empowers aspiring directors and storytellers from all backgrounds and walks of life to develop their craft and tell their own stories.
Whether our students choose directing or any of our visual and performing arts programmes, the through-line they will discover in their careers is that storytelling unlocks new possibilities. I can’t think of any career path more exciting.