2017 Summit: Character-Driven Stories Can Change The World with James Gilbey

Discovery Communication's Vice President of Creative Solutions James Gilbey opened the 2017 Summit with a conversation about character.

“I’m a big believer in that we should always look over our shoulder. You’re only as good as the work that you see,” Gilbey said.

He told the audience about Discovery’s Project C.A.T., the goal of which is to double the tiger population by 2022. Gilbey then showed an ad Discovery created for the project, which features tigers as characters.

“When you’re a great storyteller you will always look for a new way to tell a story, a new way to communicate a message. Often a message has been told so many times that it simply falls on deaf ears. When you’re a great storyteller you use characters — character storytelling — to find a new light,” he said.

Gilbey played a series of PSAs and commercials to highlight great examples of character storytelling. The presentation featured stories from Google and Greenpeace; stories that utilize different storytelling methods including one-second videos and GoPros; and stories that evoke different emotions, from anger to joy.

“People often think when they tell a story they have to tick a lot of boxes. You don’t. You have to tell an amazing story that is relatable, that comes from a single person or a group of people, that comes from a perspective — you cannot tell an amazing story that you tell in the abstract,” Gilbey said.

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