The application of Hollywood scriptwriting formula to            destination marketing could:Integrate the various tourism...
A story gives a                                           Stories createA brand is a story   brand personality            ...
Hollywood films are the         most successful in the world  Based on traditional storytelling techniques    giving emoti...
Scriptwriting content         Translated into destination marketing content                          Mission and goals    ...
You should familiarise yourself with the material you write about:                                    History             ...
You should pick two or three genres so the message is not                           blurred           Unique           cul...
The plot is the backbone of the story – gives it structure                                   You can choose               ...
Act 1:                                       Act 2:    Establish setting                                Introducing confli...
Stories are about people, not explosions or car      chases: It is the people’s determination and   ambitions, strengths a...
The written narrative of                             Can be compared to   the destination, its                            ...
The brand:                                                          A consistent brand that        The personality of Viln...
The idea   The                         The genrecharacters               The              brand  The                      ...
Creates different stages                                 Constructing a         for tourists to act out  Building a market...
The power of storytelling: The application of Hollywood scriptwriting to Destination branding and marketing
The power of storytelling: The application of Hollywood scriptwriting to Destination branding and marketing
The power of storytelling: The application of Hollywood scriptwriting to Destination branding and marketing
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The power of storytelling: The application of Hollywood scriptwriting to Destination branding and marketing

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Paper presented at DBM conference in Cardiff, Wales 5 - 7 December 2012.

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  • Both selling experiences, economyBoth selling dreams and appeal to our imaginationBoth servicesWhy not write a script for a destination just as you write a script for a film.
  • Appeals to their imagination – escape and fantasies
  • The mythological hero’s adventure regularly follows a pattern of transitional rites, separation, initiation and return. This can be called the core of the monomyth: from the ordinary everyday world, the hero ventures into the world of the supernatural where he faces legendary forces and wins the decisive victory. From his mystical adventures the hero returns with a powerful elixir which brings salvation to the community.According to Campbell, this story, which repeats itself continuously from one culture to another, is the myth of the hero. Its manifestation can vary considerably but basically it is always the same story, the hero’s journey, which Campbell calls ‘monomyth’. In other words, the hero’s journey follows a coherent pattern, one that has been extremely popular and dominant in all the known ancient cultures of the world. Joseph Campbell’s analysis of mythology implies that there exists a universal pattern of successful stories common to all ancient cultures. The hero’s journey was not invented by any single storyteller. Stories of heroes have been born ‘spontaneously’ in the tradition of storytelling all around the world and they have been shaped into a form that seems to be universally coherent. We can perhaps assume that the hero’s journey represents mankind’s idea of a good story and the popularity of this standardised story may be a consequence of the attractiveness of the emotional experience provided. All this indicates that there may be a connection between the story pattern and the emotional experience of the audience. One book written in ancient Greece deals with this question in a fascinating way.  Although Aristotle does not write much about the essence of the ‘proper pleasure’, when we understand the essence and nature of the plot structure in the Poetics, it becomes clear that Aristotle’s theory identifies aspects of pity, fear and catharsis as integral parts of the process of producing the ‘proper pleasure’. To summarise, we can say that fear is partly the expectation of impending danger and partly concerned with the mental effort and physical action needed to remove oneself from the situation which brings about hope. Hence fear is a special mixture of anxiety and pleasure. (8) According to Aristotle, pity (eleos) is caused by an image or notion of some bad or fatal event that happens to someone who does not deserve it. This event must be identifiable as one that could happen to oneself or one’s loved ones in the near future. Essential to the creation of the emotion of pity for another is the fact that it arises through witnessing undeserved suffering by that individual.A universally appealing story structure should be found in classic folktales since they are the kind of stories that appear in all cultures. Such stories are the products of pre-literate societies. Unlike modern novels, they were not created by any one author. Instead they were passed on by word of mouth and in this process of retelling were polished by successive generations into optimally attractive forms. The oral tradition made for a unique intimacy between teller and listeners and the response of the audience no doubt influenced the form of the talesChristopher Vogler is a Hollywood story executive and consultant who has contributed to such top-grossing feature films as The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. In his book The Writer’s Journey – Mythic Structure for Storytellers and Screenwriters, he has applied Campbell’s discoveries to Hollywood movies. Having analysed thousands of screenplays for major studios, Voglerrecognised the connection between good movie stories and the ancient story pattern. Later he showed that the model of The Hero’s Journey can be found in the majority of successful movies. (43)Why does anyone want to tell or read stories? First, telling stories is inherently pleasurable to the authors;Second, to some extent consciously, but mostly unconsciously, storytelling permits the teller to experience an archetype fulfillment; the plot line in the story told provides evidence that the storyteller-as-protagonist represents a regular guy/gal. lover, jester, creator, ruler, rebel, sage, hero, outlaw, magician, or some other archetypal primal form.Third, telling stories revises and deepens sense making of the meaning of events in the story and what the complete story implies about oneself and others. 
  • The study takes the different steps of Tomaric’s scriptwriting process and translates it into a destination marketing plan. See figure 1 for the conceptual model that shows how the scriptwriting content was translated into marketing content. Where possible, the content of the scriptwriting process was translated into similar content of a regular marketing plan, such as genres of films equals themes and gasp moment equals a unique selling proposition (USP) The objective was to show where scriptwriting and marketing already had similar features. However, step 3, 4, 5 and 6 did not have an equivalent within marketing and remained the same when translated into marketing content. The sum of all 6 steps should then help carve out a strong and concise brand that integrates all the themes and stories of the destination. In terms of the marketing plan, the focus was on the product mix (as part of the four P’s of marketing) and on the brand. The reason for focusing on product is because this is where the different attractions and attributes of the destination are described and specific themes are chosen. A brand will then be constructed on the basis of these themes and stories.
  • Speak a language that is related to sanskritA land with only 2 million people but managed to survive 500 years of foreign ruleA primeminister and president – all womenUzupis republic has its own constitution and anthem and presidentRoman Catholic between protestant, orthodox
  • From rags to riches,the “history in every stone” quote from Szeslaw Milosz, because it symbolises the depth of Lithuanian history and character PlotThe hero’s journeyConflict: Lithuanias struggle for freedom since 1579The title: Embraces the story and the three genresThe message: The moral and message of the storyGenreCultural identityArtRomanceAnother thing mentioned in the literature review is the search for the ‘other’, which represents being confronted with a culture that one believes is opposite to one’s own culture. Pretes (1995, p. 14) argued that the search for the ‘other’ is a common theme in western literature. Such a theme suggests an alienation from society, and he goes on to say that postmodern society is filled with uncertainty and stress (Pretes, 1995, p. 14). Escape and illusion are strategies for coping with it (Pretes, 1995, p. 14). The ‘other’ is closely connected with the Urry’s tourist gaze which entail that tourists go abroad to experience the opposite from home and work. Tourists for example identify New Zealand as an exotic ‘other’, because New Zealand can give them an authentic and meaningful experience (Buchmann et al., 2010, p. 239). this kind of marker could also be applied to Vilnius. It could be a cultural and exotic ‘other’, where people are still close to nature and still true to their national identity as well as still doing traditional singing and festivals. It could be said that Lithuanians are artistic and have a free spirit that cannot be broken. They are still true to their roots, and have not lost their souls in a postmodernist world without meaning and without roots.
  • And they all complement eachother
  • The title: Embraces the story and the three genres – like a sloganThe message: Every scene, every moment and every character should support this theme PlotMonomyth: The hero’s journeyConflict: Lithuanias struggle for freedom since 1579The title: Embraces the story and the three genres – like a sloganThe message: Every scene, every
  • Step 4: Story structure Usually a Hollywood film is structured in three acts. Act 1 establishes the setting and introduces the characters. Act 2 introduces the conflict, and act 3 gives the resolution of the conflict. In tourism marketing the three acts can be applied from two angles. Angle 1: The story of the destination with an introduction of the main attractions and their role in history. The purpose of Angle 1 is to tell an engaging story of the destination that will capture the imagination of the tourist. Thus, in act 1 there will be an introduction to the main characters which equals the main tourist sights of the destination. There should be at least three main characters that each represents one of three themes of the destination. It would be beneficial if historical or living persons could represent each of the main characters. In act 2, a conflict is introduced where the main characters struggle against some kind of problem or enemy. In act 3, the characters overcome the problem and the conflict is resolved. These stories should be integrated in the marketing efforts of the destination, both in terms of the website, brochures and presentations at trade fairs. Angle 2: A storyline for the holiday of the tourist. With inspiration from tour itineraries, guide books and tourist reviews, a script is written for the tourist’s holiday in Vilnius. The scripts are written according to the plotline of ‘Journey and return’. The storylines can be put on the website and in brochures and the tourist will be able to identify with the protagonist in these stories and imagine what a holiday in Vilnius will be like. The gasp moment In most Hollywood storylines there is a gasp moment, which is a turn in the plot that shocks and startles the audience (Tomaric, 2011, p. 22). In tourism terms it can be compared to a USP or a surprise factor. One thing that is unique about Vilnius is the use of air balloons and many tourists get a balloon ride over Vilnius. Within the three genres, it can be categorized as both romantic and as a symbol of freedom as exemplified in the struggle for cultural identity. Therefore, air balloons could be a good gasp moment.Depending on the personae that the tourist has chosen, he engages in tourism consumption at the destination he is visiting. So the storyteller can tell the tourist: if you feel adventurous you can visit this and that, if you feel romantic you can visit this and that. Probably the tourist is playing more than one role while on holiday so he can change between different storylines.
  • Navigate the audience through the storyStep 5: Characters According to Tomaric (2011, p. 28) characters become realistic by describing their personal background, family history, personality traits, habits and behavioural tendencies towards friends and family. Stories are about people, not explosions or car chases (Tomaric, p. 29). The same can be said about tourism; stories are about people, not buildings and infrastructure. It is the people’s determination and ambitions, strengths and weaknesses that make the stories interesting. Tomaric (2011, p. 29) states that characters fall into three primary categories which each have a specific role in driving the story forward. The three categories are: the protagonist, the antagonist and the supporting character. The protagonist is the story’s central character that undergoes a personal transformation in the story (Tomaric, 2011, p. 29). The story always focuses on his journey, discovery or change (Tomaric, 2011, p. 29). In tourism, the protagonist can be divided into two parts. One protagonist is the people of Vilnius. The other protagonist is the potential tourist. The antagonist is the other main character and he represents obstacles and challenges that the protagonist has to overcome (Tomaric, 2011, p. 29). The antagonist doesn’t necessarily have to be a person. It can also be society or some other phenomena that becomes an obstacle for the protagonist. In terms of tourism, the antagonist can symbolize the positive challenges that tourist face when they explore a new destination and try to get behind the facades and see the true Vilnius. The third category is the supporting characters that work with the main character, but never eclipse them (Tomaric, 2011, p. 30). There are two subcategories of supporting characters. The first subcategory is the tourist sites, places of interest, the hotels and modes of transportation; all their stories should support the overall story of the destination. The second subcategory is the ‘touch points’which could for instance be the hotel receptionist, the tour guide, the bus driver or the taxi driver. If these characters are introduced in the marketing material, tourists will feel that they already know the local people. They will then feel more comfortable about choosing Vilnius because it has familiar faces.
  • Step 6: Dialogue According to Tomaric (2011, p. 32), the dialogue is the most difficult part to write and the quality of the dialogue determines how well the audience identifies with the characters. It is important to keep the dialogue short and representative of the characters’ personality (Tomaric, 2011, p. 32). In tourism terms this can be translated into a narrative of the destination and its attractions, hotels, transportation and people, which also involves their background story and personality. In marketing terms, it could in some ways be compared to good copywriting, which in its essence is about attracting the consumer’s attention and selling a product. Finally, the six steps of scriptwriting should lead up to the creation of a brand. The brand description should be short, concise and be the sum of all stories delivered in the six steps. It should therefore represent the personality and promise of the destination.
  • Transcript of "The power of storytelling: The application of Hollywood scriptwriting to Destination branding and marketing"

    1. 1. The application of Hollywood scriptwriting formula to destination marketing could:Integrate the various tourism products of a destination into one great engaging story Thus strengthening the marketing, specifically product mix and brand
    2. 2. A story gives a Stories createA brand is a story brand personality emotional bond and human traitsExperiences are Tourists consume Stories create essentially emotional tourist sites stories experiences Tourists become Tourists identify immersed into with the these stories protagonist
    3. 3. Hollywood films are the most successful in the world Based on traditional storytelling techniques giving emotional pleasure to audiences The monomyth: A hero’s journey You can’t make a good film without good scriptwriting Hollywood scripwriting is based on a plot formula In his book Filmmaking, Tomaric describes thestep by step outline of the scriptwriting process
    4. 4. Scriptwriting content Translated into destination marketing content Mission and goals Mission and goals Target market Target market Step 1: Idea Topic research Destination research Idea Idea Step 2: Genre Genres Themes of the destination (product mix) Plot Plot Step 3: Plot Title Title (slogan) Message Message Act 1: establishing setting Act 1: Establishing main attractions & storyline for beginning of tourist’s trip Act 2: introducing conflict Act 2: Introducing story of Vilnius & storyline for tourism consumption of touristStep 4: Story structure Act 3: Conflict resolution Act 3: Happy ending for Vilnius and Vilnius today & storyline for tourist returning home Subplots Attractions that support the main attractions (secondary stories) Gasp moment Gasp moment (USP) Protagonist The people of Vilnius - The target group Antagonist The challenges in the past and present for Vilnius people & challenges for Step 5: Characters discovery Supporting characters Tourist sites, hotels, transportation & touch points Step 6: Dialogue Dialogue Narrative (copywriting)
    5. 5. You should familiarise yourself with the material you write about: History Society Topic research Culture Nostalgia AttributesA core idea that will work as basis for rest of the script: Nostalgia Heroic struggle Idea Heroic struggle The exotic and cultural Other The exotic and cultural Other
    6. 6. You should pick two or three genres so the message is not blurred Unique cultural Art Romance identity The survival of Lithuanian Uzupis republic Cobblestone alleyways culture. Art galleries and art and courtyards. Beautiful Survived deportation. Own everywhere you look green parks with lots oflanguage, food, last country to Alternative cafés and flowers. Picturesque be christianised – only bars atmosphere with European country to embrase Singing festivals interesting architecture Basketball
    7. 7. The plot is the backbone of the story – gives it structure You can choose between different plots: The journey and From rags to The quest Rebirth return riches Monomyth: The hero’s journey In every plot there should be a conflict because without one the story would seem meaningless and unfulfilling for the audience
    8. 8. Act 1: Act 2: Establish setting Introducing conflict: Act 3: Introduction to main The struggle and Resolution of conflictcharacters (attractions): hardships that the main one presenting each characters face genre Subplots: For each of the main characters that each present a genre
    9. 9. Stories are about people, not explosions or car chases: It is the people’s determination and ambitions, strengths and weaknesses that make the stories interesting Three categories: Category 1: Category 2: Category 3:The protagonist: The people The antagonist: A person or Supporting characters:of Vilnius, specific persons & a phenomena that is an tourist sites & touch points the tourist obstacle for the protagonist
    10. 10. The written narrative of Can be compared to the destination, its copywriting forattractions, accommoda brochures and websites tion and people Attracting the consumer’s attention and selling the product
    11. 11. The brand: A consistent brand that The personality of Vilnius The sum of all 6 steps The core ideas are has personality and a story is proud, strong, defiant should then help carve out incorporated into the that pulls together the and heroic, as well as a strong and concise brand genres, plot, story different pieces of a artistic, spiritual and that integrates all thestructure, characters and destination into an friendly. The promise given themes and stories of the dialogue emotional and meaningful is that you will experience destination whole romance, art and a unique culture
    12. 12. The idea The The genrecharacters The brand The The plotDialogue The Story structure
    13. 13. Creates different stages Constructing a for tourists to act out Building a marketing monomyth of Vilnius roles: a historian, aplan around storytelling that tourists can enact lover, an art buff or an explorer No operational Maybe adapted so much Do not really know if the framework for how to to marketing concepts story can be implement the that it doesn’t make a communicated to thestorytelling formula in a difference in practice tourists marketing plan

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