Have you ever been to Disneyland? If you have I'm sure you've been on the Pirates of the Carribbean ride. Did you know that the old man on the rocking chair in the Blue Bayou scene is actually Jack Sparrow? Yeah, me too. Apparently there's a deep story embedded within the ride. First of all, it's called Pirates of the Caribbean. Not Pirates of Louisiana. So why the Blue Bayou scene? Well, as the boat passes by "old" Jack Sparrow, you're actually taking a journey through Jack's memories. After the bridge, the pirate scene unfolds in Tortuga, where the plot reveals the search for Jack Sparrow. You comically see Jack hiding in various places all throughout the ride. And as the ride comes to an end, you see the final scene where Jack gets away with his riches, thus, choosing to retire and buy the Blue Bayou where he can live out the rest of his days in peace. Mind. Blown.
I learned that from a dear friend of mine, Vince, who used to work at Disneyland. I invited him for coffee so I could pick his brain on his experiences there and how they tell stories. You may not agree with me, but I believe with all my heart that Disney tells the best stories. What I learned is that stories must have connected layers. The more layers you pull back, the more you discover the connections in story, therefore becoming more invested and involved. The end result, you actually become a part of the story itself. My goal today was to learn as much as I could from Vince's experiences. And afterwards, I discovered one of the most valuable lessons of my life: the heart of a student.
I'm a storyteller. And if I'm building a business that centers around storytelling, wouldn't it be wise to learn from storytellers that are better than you? It's common sense. Just because I studied film & television at Chapman University doesn't mean I know everything there is to know about storytelling. If you think you know everything about your profession or skill set, stop reading this right now and slap yourself in the face. Fools think they know it all. That's called pride, and pride always leads to ruins.
The purpose of a student is to learn and grow. Today I felt like I was in a classroom again, and I didn't want to hear the school bell ring. By the end of our conversation, I was humbled and grateful to learn new depths about the art of storytelling.
Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman still takes acting lessons. Steven Spielberg still watches old movies for inspiration before every new movie he makes. Being a lifelong student is a pretty powerful thing.
So the next time I go on the Pirates ride at Disneyland, I will look at Jack Sparrow in the Blue Bayou and remember this valuable lesson: always strive to have the heart of a student. Yep, that's the Jack Sparrow Lesson.