How to Make a Story Sandwich
Ahhh the sandwich, one of the most versatile and universally adored culinary inventions. Why? Because it’s everything you need in one convenient package. Although it may sound like a strange concept, a good story is a lot like a good sandwich, and much like a good sandwich, a good story should leave you feeling satisfied.
Think about a sandwich, it’s made up of two pieces of bread and some sort of meat or various fillings in between. Remove any one element and you no longer have a sandwich. Take out the filling and you’re left with two pieces of toast. No bread and you have a pretty unusual salad…
A story, like a sandwich, is comprised of three key elements: character, value, and threat. These elements are all dependent on one another and are crucial to the structure of the story. If you take away any one piece, you are left with something completely different.
A character acts as the bottom piece of bread, the thing that keeps the whole sandwich from falling apart. If you look at any good story there is a character. The character creates a perspective for the audience to follow. You simply can’t have a story without them (just like you can’t have a sandwich without bread). The character is the foundation which all other elements of the story are built upon.
What does the character value most in life? This gives your character depth, and a reason for the audience to root for them. If your character isn’t likable then the audience has no reason to stick around. Value is your filling. It’s what gives the sandwich substance. Without it, it would be pretty bland like eating a dry piece of pumpernickel bread.
The threat is the second piece of bread. It’s the hook, line, and sinker. Now that the audience is invested, we must threaten what the characters value. This is the catalyst that makes the viewer want to see the story through. They want their happily ever after. When we threaten this, it creates suspense.
This is a bonus. It’s the extra little kick. Like banana peppers or mustard, it adds spice. An unexpected change can take an already engaged audience by surprise and keep them on their toes. This creates a level of depth and intrigue to your story. Having a “change” or “shift” occur could be just what you need if your story feels predictable. Think of all the timeless films that have been remembered solely for their twist endings.
Have you built the right sandwich?
Now that you have a deeper knowledge of the key ingredients of a great story sandwich, put yourself in the viewers’ shoes. Take a taste. Is something missing? Identify every layer of your story sandwich. Has it left you satisfied? Or wanting more?
Tell us what you put in your sandwich here, we’d love to take a bite! Stay tuned for our next segment on The Three Magic Words for brand storytelling.
Stay tuned for the continuation of our storytelling series. Can’t wait? Contact us now. We’d love to help tell your story!
Blueforest Studios is a Raleigh Video Production company dedicated to telling powerful brand stories.