Storytelling: Why We Love Moana

Storytelling: Why We Love Moana

Here at Zedem HQ, in the brief moments we get to take a break from making cool animated content we like to talk about the best new animated stuff we’ve seen (yeah maybe we have a problem). And one of our most recent favourites is Walt Disney’s Moana.

Now, of course, it looks amazing. However, that is not what made up the bulk of the conversation. What we were all so excited about was the way it played with the clichés of the usual fairy tale genre and turned some things on it’s head. A quick summary, the “princess” character is actually badass and has to save the more traditional hero character.

All this got us thinking. How could we take some of the lessons from this big budget beauty and use them in our own work?

We create a lot of characters for our animated explainer videos. And although we’re very proud of all our work, when looking back over annals of Zedem’s history it’s possible to find some clichés have snuck in. Things like “Oh we’d like a superhero style character!” And we end up with a barrel-chested Superman-esque man flying around the screen. Moana’s grandmother would be less than impressed with this.

So now every time we begin work on designing a new character we’re going to do the “Moana test”. Basically that means taking a hard look at our ideas and seeing if there’s a different take we’ve missed, clever twist to add uniqueness to what we’re doing.

Another thing Moana had going for it was a whole lotta heart. Driving the story from beginning to end was this beating heart at the center of the movie, and more than anything that’s why we think people fell in love with it.

Our marketing, training and explainer work is often on the short side, which makes it challenging to really pull on the heartstrings. However, no matter how small, it’s always essential to find some emotional touch point for your audience. This what engages them and makes your work stick in the memory.

Moana was just a perfect reminder, that even with the budgets of Hollywood blockbusters spiralling into the hundreds of millions, no amount of money can replace a heartfelt story, told in a interesting way. And we all have the power to do that.

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