Hardwired for Story
Stories graft themselves into our minds, hearts, and imaginations. They bridge geographical and cultural boundaries. They’re the key to great marketing, great education, and making the NYT Best Seller list. But they’re more than that. At the end of the day, a civilization that forgets how to tell its story crumbles and dies. Scientific research corroborates that our brains process stories like nothing else. That’s because stories tap into our faculties of memory and emotion. We carry stories with us and within us. When it comes to engaging culture, Why trumps What, and story always trumps fact. Dressed in story, ideas are welcome at every hearth, every dinner table, and every bedside. As a vehicle for ideas, story touches us and stays with us; it becomes part of who we are. Sarah-Jane will help us to think about why insanely great storytelling matters and why it’s the key to our future.
Sarah-Jane Murray is an EMMY®-nominated and award-winning screenwriter and producer. SJ earned her Ph.D. in literature at Princeton and studied screenwriting under Richard Walter at UCLA. Her first documentary film, Livingston+McKay’s PRIMARY CONCERN (primaryconcernmovie.com), is currently airing on PBS. She is the writer and a producer of INEFFABLE, a documentary in production about the struggle to preserve the fine arts in America (the “dance” trailer for INEFFABLE has won two silver Telly awards), and associate producer of IMBA MEANS SING, a feature documentary about the African Children’s Choir. Her first feature film, NORMAL LIKE ME, goes into production in 2015. SJ is passionate about ending human trafficking and also story consults on the second and third installments of the NEFARIOUS trilogy (nefariousdocumentary.com). Sarah-Jane believes insanely great stories change hearts and, in turn, the world. To help others tell theirs, she launched the insanely great story sheet (j.mp/storyworksheet) in 2014 and founded storyrhetoric.com. Within two months, the free worksheet went viral in over 130 countries. SJ lives in Austin with her feisty wheatonpoo Coco, who runs her life.