The Power of Storytelling to Inspire and Engage

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Brief Abstract

Storytelling is one of the oldest and most powerful ways to to connect, motivate, and lead people. Stories compel us to engage, define our values and ourselves, and learn.

Matthew Luhn, a 20-year Pixar story veteran, brings his experience creating and developing 10 blockbuster films at Pixar, and provides practical strategies that teach and inspire people and teams to connect more effectively with audiences. Matthew uses the power of storytelling to bridge the gap between knowledge and heart, driving the story toward an unforgettable lesson.  

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Some of Matthew Luhn’s Key Accomplishments Include… Matthew Luhn is an accomplished storyteller, instructor, keynote speaker, and story consultant, with over 20 years’ experience creating stories and characters at Pixar Animation Studios. Alongside his story work in Hollywood, Matthew has been training CEOs, Directors, and other professionals how to craft and tell stories for Fortune 500 companies, Academy Award winning movies, and corporate brands grossing billions of dollars worldwide. Matthew’s most recent clients include Adidas, Facebook, BBC, Microsoft, Sony, Warner Brothers, Apple, Disney, Google, and many more. Matthew’s story credits include Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, Monsters Inc., Monsters University, Finding Nemo, UP, Cars, Ratatouille and other films currently in development. With over 20 years experience creating and developing dozens of films, TV shows, and video games, at Pixar, The Simpsons, ILM, and other studios, Matthew Luhn knows what it takes to create memorable stories with enduring characters. From filmmaking to business, Matthew’s story seminars are beneficial to anybody wanting to improve their story skills, or learn the persuasion of great storytelling. In Matthew’s story seminar, he will share his process for creating new ideas and characters, how to develop great stories and story structure, and how to realize your story ideas from script to storyboards to finished product. More information on Matthew Luhn:

Extended Abstract


Questions from Slido

Q. What book do you recommend that can help us be better story tellers?

A.  I would recommend these storytelling books: The Heroes Journey by Joseph Campbell and Story by Robert McKee

Q. How did your teachers create tension / anticipation?

A. My teachers would share the highs and lows in a character’s life to create tension/anticipation. The reason we love watching/listening to a hero’s story is not only because of their successes but their failures as well.

Q. Do you think that the production level used when creating the media that is being used to share the story has an impact on how it is received?

A.  Yes, the production part and execution of creating any type of media is important, but without a great story those elements will fall flat.

Q. Do you think ANYONE can be a good storyteller?

A. Yes, I do believe that anyone can become a good storyteller. It’s just a matter of wanting to do it, using the right tools (The story spine) and practice.

Q. Is there a story pitched, that you loved, that got shot down and how did that change your point of view?

A. Yes, we pitched a romantic comedy called “NEWT” at Pixar that got shot down. It was shot down because the story team working on the film didn’t like romantic comedies and the director was lacking experience. We learned that we need to make sure that the story teams placed on a movie are passionate about the theme of the film and that directors have proven themselves on smaller projects first.

Q. What’s your favorite Pixar story?

A. Toy Story is my favorite Pixar film. It was the first film I ever worked on.

Q. What are some storytelling examples that you found to be effective in your own formal education?

A. The storytelling examples that I found effective in my formal education were listening to the stories my family told and the pacing and timing they used.