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By Doug Zanger | Americas Editor

October 5, 2017 | 2 min read

What’s the Story? is a storytelling video series dedicated to learning what truly makes a great story, told through the lens of the world’s talent and practitioners of the craft in entertainment, marketing and beyond.

Should the opportunity to spend time with Amir Bar-Lev, director of the (deservedly) well-received Grateful Dead documentary Long Strange Trip, arise, one should absolutely jump at the opportunity.

The Berkeley, California native is incredibly insightful, interesting and decidedly passionate about storytelling. The self-described Deadhead fell in love with the band in his teen years — and his film offers in-depth, yet accessible perspective on what the band’s music means, not just to fans, but to individuals as well.

As it relates to the craft of storytelling, Bar-Lev believes that moral dimension is critical. Sure, there can be ambiguity, but not having a point of view can dilute a story’s power.

When discussing the best story he’s ever heard, it’s no surprise that the sails point to the Grateful Dead — but it’s not in a way that one would expect. 'Brokedown Palace,' one of The Dead’s greatest songs, is a story that Bar-Lev mentions as one that speaks to individuals in a profound way.

The greatest story he’s ever told? That’s easy, and it’s one that is incredibly close to his heart but, as a storyteller, is most compelling. Long Strange Trip is what he refers to as his “white whale” and it is not only an incredible film, but the one that Bar-Lev dreamed of making — and resulted in a most beautiful story, unbelievably well-told.

What's the Story? is sponsored by Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), the first global network for branded product integration in the entertainment industry, across all media, including the influencer space.

Filmed at SXSW

If you would like to pitch someone for “What’s the Story?“, please complete the linked form.

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Other episodes in the series

Episode 1

Tina Brown, author of The Diana Chronicles, on what makes a great story

What’s the Story? is a storytelling video series dedicated to learning what truly makes a great story, told through the lens of the world’s talent and practitioners of the craft in entertainment, marketing and beyond.

Episode 2

Hip-hop icon Warren G and director Karam Gill on what makes a great story

What’s the Story? is a storytelling video series dedicated to learning what truly makes a great story, told through the lens of the world’s talent and practitioners of the craft in entertainment, marketing and beyond.

Episode 3

Glenn Gainor, Sony Pictures Screen Gems exec on what makes a great story

What’s the Story? is a storytelling video series dedicated to learning what truly makes a great story, told through the lens of the world’s talent and practitioners of the craft in entertainment, marketing and beyond.

Episode 4

Documentarian Cheryl Dunye on what makes a great story

What’s the Story? is a storytelling video series dedicated to learning what truly makes a great story, told through the lens of the world’s talent and practitioners of the craft in entertainment, marketing and beyond.

Episode 5

Sony Pictures Screen Gems exec, Glenn Gainor, on successful brand integration in film

After 25 years in the entertainment business, Glenn Gainor, head of physical production at Sony Pictures Screen Gems, knows plenty about great films and stories. He also knows what it takes to create successful integration for brands — and points to the seminal ET/Reese's Pieces hookup as the gold standard of integration.

Episode 6

Prop master Scott Bauer on how brands can drive a story

As a story unfolds in film and TV, there are plenty of those who help craft the work. Though writers, producers, directors and actors get the spotlight much of the time, the rest of crew plays invaluable roles in making it all come to life.

Episode 7

Sir John Hegarty on the best brand story he’s told

What’s the Story? is a storytelling video series dedicated to learning what truly makes a great story, told through the lens of the world’s talent and practitioners of the craft in entertainment, marketing and beyond.

Episode 8

Brand storyteller and film producer Tim Perell on great storytelling

What’s the Story? is a storytelling video series dedicated to learning what truly makes a great story, told through the lens of the world’s talent and practitioners of the craft in entertainment, marketing and beyond.

Episode 10

PopSugar's co-founder, Lisa Sugar, shares what makes a great story

What’s the Story? is a storytelling video series dedicated to learning what truly makes a great story, told through the lens of the world’s talent and practitioners of the craft in entertainment, marketing and beyond.

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