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Mind Your Business: What’s Your Story?

Mark Simon tells us how he tries to put stories into every part of his life.

Mark Simon telling us the story that he’s not quite right in

his head.

What’s your story? What you say and how you say it is all part of your story. In fact, your story starts the minute you walk through the door.

I’m all about story. I love telling stories. I love animation. I love storyboarding.

But I try to put story into every part of my life.

When I put a video pitch together, I make it a story. I don’t believe that a trailer made of unconnected clips will help sell a concept. It would be a waste of time and money. If you’re going to go through the time and expense of producing a sample of your concept, tell a short story with it.

People enjoy stories. They get emotionally connected to stories. They remember stories. A short story is the only true example of what a long form story will be like.

A good story doesn’t have to be long. Virtually all great commercials are mini-stories. You can tell a story in 30 seconds.

Timmy’s Lessons In Nature. Copyright and all rights reserved A&S Animation, Inc.

The first series I sold was Timmy’s Lessons In Nature. I sold that series based on a few shorts I produced. The first short was only 38 seconds, but it told a story. It was the story of a dumbass kid who comes across a snake. Kid meets snake. Stick hits snake. Snake bites kid in face over and over. It’s a story as old as time.

I use story in other parts of my life too. When I’m teaching my kids something, I tell them a story, like how I was almost decapitated when a knot I tied didn’t hold an elevator in place (true story). They will remember what happens in a story much more than they will remember some rule I make up.


Bunch copyright and all rights reserved by Allen Hillard.

Story even works in martial arts. I train in Tae Kwon Do and I love to compete in Forms. (sparring hurts too much). When I do forms, it’s more than just movements. I perform it. A form is a fight with an imaginary foe. From the moment my name is called in competition, I am performing a story. The way I approach the black belt judges tells them a story about me. When I perform, it’s a complete story from the initial attack to the final punch.

Telling that story has lead me to two national championships.

Even the 1-sheets I produce for my pitches tell a story. We create a single image that represents the story of the show, like a single-panel comic strip or a great movie poster.

When I pitch, I’m telling a story before I even start to talk. I arrive to my meetings on time and fully prepared. I’m telling the story of someone who is professional and will deliver on time.

If I walked in wearing a tie, that would be a different story. But my story is that I’m a creative. I look, walk and talk like a creative. If you’ve seen the cartoon shirts I always wear, you’ll know what I mean.

In the meeting I continue the story of the concept I’m pitching and I tell it with passion.

My story? I tell stories in everything I do.

So what’s your story?

Mark Simon, is the co-founder of and the owner of Animatics & Storyboards, Inc. He is co-hosting the TeleSummit Sell Your Script in December. Go to to register and for more info.