The Heather Parady Show

Better Videos with Better Stories (Michael Neelsen)

creativity Apr 17, 2023
Better Videos with Better Stories (Michael Neelsen)

"The moment the obstacle is gone, that's when the story ends."

Today, we are exploring how to improve our videos through storytelling. Our guest is Michael Neelsen, the Co-founder and Director of Story First Media. Michael shares his insights on why starting with obstacles is crucial when developing a story, and we dive into the questions you should ask yourself when beginning a story idea.

Michael provides valuable tips on how to develop characters in your story and how to conclude a story that doesn't have an obvious solution. Lastly, Michael ends the conversation with words of encouragement for creatives, emphasizing that there is a huge market for storytellers, even in the midst of AI.


  • The science of storytelling and how the brain filters information based on story

  • Why we should start first with obstacles when developing a story

  • What questions should we ask ourself when beginning a story idea?

  • How to develop characters in your story (even if it's your brand)

  • How do you conclude a story that doesn’t have an obvious solution?

  • When is it time to stop developing a story and share it with the world?


  • Start your story with the obstacles. Obstacles give you the specifics of the story and informs when the story should end (when its solved)

  • Characters need to be moving toward something- “There is no character but through action”

  • Developing a story takes time. Years sometimes. Be patient.


Michael Neelsen has written and directed over 20 films and been involved in the production of over 40 others. His current project is "Beyond Human Nature," an oral history of the Tom Monfils murder investigation of 1992-1995. His last feature film, "Last Day at Lambeau", was a documentary about the relationship between sports icons and their fans and screened at various film festivals including the Austin Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Milwaukee Film Festival and Minneapolis-St. Paul Film Festival. He is the co-founder and director of StoryFirst Media (, a boutique branded storytelling collective that specializes in digital content production & social community management.



The moment the obstacle is gone, that's when the story ends - Michael Neelsen @HeatherParady CLICK TO TWEET

If you're a struggling artist that is making art based in storytelling, there's actually a huge market for that skill set. Even with ChatGPT and all that stuff coming out. - Michael Neelsen @HeatherParady CLICK TO TWEET

More Shows to Help Your Unconventional Journey

Intro to Subconscious Money Beliefs (Danya Douglas Hunt)

Sep 21, 2023

Oprah Does THIS Before Meetings (Intention)

Sep 15, 2023

Building a SOBER Online Community (Brad Mcleod)

Sep 12, 2023

every friday I send...

a note to you

Nothing to sell. It's safe.

Just sharing thoughts and "encouraging kicks in the butt" for those who are called to the Unconventional Path✌🏻