I’ll be honest, for the life of me I can’t remember where I picked up Mark Kramer’s tips for stories without a narrative hook. Was it at a conference (Kramer currently directs The Power of Narrative conference at Boston University)? In his book Telling True Stories? My notes don’t say but, regardless, I’ve found Kramer’s suggestions insanely valuable. In fact, I think they’re so useful, this is the second time I’ve talked about them on HowSound.
Kramer proposes that a story without classic narrative can be successful if it contains sharp images, strong characterization, and anecdotes. I like to add a couple items to his list: a unique or strange setting as well as artful and clever production.
Lee Fuoco’s 2004 story “Hafid is Free” meets Kramer’s test. Lee produced this when she was a student of mine back in 2004 and it’s stayed with me all this time despite its lack of narrative primarily because of the strong characterization and creative production.
Have a good listen!