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Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu

I’ve listened to this audio so many times.




When David Shiyang Liu put out the typographic video of Ira Glass talking about storytelling, I got a little obsessed. I wasn’t the only one; it got shared and shared repeatedly a few years ago.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu. Watch here.

Today I rediscovered it, and wanted to share again with y’all. Because the message is still really relevant and the video is (to me) timeless in its design.




Glass talks about our ambition, taste, and skill level. When we first start out, our work isn’t so good. But that’s why we need to keep creating, so that we can improve.

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

— Ira Glass

If you’re getting started as a film or video maker, keep going.

Even if your work disappoints you, that’s a sign that you’re improving.

Don’t quit.




Every time I make a movie or video, I use the opportunity to continue honing my craft. I want to be a better storyteller and leader. It’s a fearless, exhaustive pursuit – even after 10 years of making movies.

I’m figuring it out and fighting my way through it, too.




Want to keep listening? There are four videos posted here. The quote in this post is from the third video.

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