A Story Without Words?

In class last week, we’ve been talking about stories and ideas can be told without the use of pure text.  While perusing my favorite website today, aka www.espn.com, I stumbled across something that seemed too perfectly suited for our class discussion.

Rick Reilly, one of my favorite sportswriters of all time, produces a video of inspiring stories about football players before every Monday Night Football game.  His most recent one, Rebirth Statue In New Orleans, tells the story of Steve Gleason, a former New Orleans Saint who made a historic play in the 2006 Super Bowl Championship season for the Saints.  Most importantly, he announced in 2011 that he was suffering from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  The Saints made a statue and placed it in front of the Superdome to honor his play and the city’s recovery from Katrina.

In this video, Reilly masterfully used pictures, a couple of videos, and scattered words throughout the video to tell the Steve’s story and his impact on the New Orleans community.  I found this a particularly moving and refreshing way to tell a relatively well-documented story.  I also was impressed by the skill of Reilly to move away from his comfort zone of writing articles and conducting interviews and into a more poetic, artistic representation of an inspiring story.

I hope you watch the video (which is embedded above), and I would love to hear/watch if anyone has come across something that stands out to them in terms of storytelling without relying on words and text!



One thought to “A Story Without Words?”

  1. Mark,

    Thank you for sharing this. I like how you described the execution of this piece: masterful. I had never heard of Steve Gleason, but still the video provided a coherent narrative that I could follow.

    I am interested in the juxtapositions that Reilly deploys, first between the statue and the man it immortalizes, and second between the New Orleans glorified and New Orleans destroyed.

    Reilly connects different elements in a subtle but effective way, and I am finding it useful to take note of these practices, for remediation seems like a foreign art to me.

    There is this moment in the piece (the 1:03 mark) when he conveys with speech “a war.” Then we hear the lyrics sung “ain’t gonna study war no more,” and this marks a transformational movement for New Orleans, a change in pace, a spirit renewed after tragedy. And upon the football victory, Reilly chooses “When the Saints Go Marching In,” played with the trombone (I think) , which sounds so wholly New Orleans.

    Viewing this piece has been beneficial, Mark. My many thanks

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