Cloud Odyssey and the Value of Shared Experience

Last week I asked a group of extremely smart people at an Oracle sponsored storytelling seminar what the movie Avatar was about. Several people spoke up and said it was about man’s relationship to nature.

They were wrong. Avatar is about a guy, crippled from the waist down, who travels to another planet and, using an Avatar with functioning legs, finds adventure, falls in love with the local tribe of aliens, and wins his life back.

But years after seeing the movie the seminar attendees remembered the THEME of the movie. They remembered what it had made them feel, which was indeed about man’s disconnected relationship to nature. Maya Angelou had it right when she said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

And when many people have shared an experience like a movie or a book, they have an immediate way of communicating, at the gut level, a difficult concept or a theme: Man’s relationship to nature, Avatar. A child’s ability to see the good in others, E.T. The thin line between good and evil, Batman: The Dark Knight.

This ability for a story to convey a concept is, in part, the driver behind the movie Cloud Odyssey: A Hero’s Quest (trailer).

A story can also help you pick up practical knowledge--think Jurassic Park (genetics) and Apollo 13 (spaceflight). When a character overcomes practical challenges in the course of a story it can leave you with real knowledge.

So what’s Cloud Odyssey about? What will happen to the characters? What will you learn? Suffice it to say that the journey to the cloud planet is a perilous one, but one that holds vital lessons for anyone making the journey to cloud.

I give more hints in this bonus feature for the DVD. Enjoy. I look forward to seeing you at a Cloud Odyssey event for cloud builders in early 2014.

- Jeff

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