Ep 76: The Power of Story, 'The Exonerated' Creator & Story Expert, Jessica Blank
In 2002, 'The Exonerated' took Off-Broadway by storm. It was written by Jessica Blank and her husband Erik Jensen and I remember being riveted, as was everyone else, by the real-life transcripts of death-row inmates that were artfully spun into compelling monologues for actors. Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon eventually helped it become a feature film. Here, I sit down with the amazingly multi-talented and articulate Jessica Blank to discuss the power of story and its uses, regardless of what walk of life one pursues. We talk structure, process, compassion, collaboration and more. If you're in the arts, this is essential. If you're not, this is fascinating and much more useful to you than you probably realize.
“Everything that I do is in the language of story”, (03:56). “A story is a technology for triggering empathy and just imagine what you can do with that”, (10:27). Talent doesn’t exist, it’s about craft and learning how to work with specific tools, (26:23). As actors, when something feels ‘playable’, it’s because the character has been constructed with ecological and psychological integrity, it’s all about the connection, (28:49). You never know when those other supportive factors are going to want to converge around your work, and they don’t if you don’t take the first step, (43:53). The word “NO” actually means I’ve got something better for you, (58:50). My favorite book is the Outsiders by S.E. Hinton because of her craft, skills, and authenticity, (59:25).
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