Sunday, October 26, 2014

Rulebook Casefile: Humans of New York #1

I don’t have time for a long post today, but I think I’ll spend this week looking at lessons that can be drawn from “Humans of New York” posts. I’ll have more to say about the site soon, but for now I’ll just start with this one, which is one of my favorites:

This exemplifies two rules: The importance of an “I understand you” moment at the beginning of a romance, and the importance of ironic positive developments. Presumably, both men came to the party determined to be antisocial sticks-in-the-mud, and then the two sticks saw each other across a crowded room. (Fun fact: I used to write songs in college, and one had the chorus “I don’t care and you don’t care so let’s not care together”)

More tomorrow...


j.s. said...

That's a great lyric!

It's funny because I started my own version of a project like "Humans" as a weekly column in my college paper. The idea was to do interviews with a randomly selected student about nothing in particular except who they were in that moment. (And it was a pretty darn popular feature if I may say so myself!) The NYT has something similar now, called "One in 8 Million," (ours was obviously a much smaller number) though the Times' approach is a bit more story oriented, searching out specific hooks of unique or representative city dwellers. We had more faith in the fact than any given person could be interesting in some unexpected way.

Matt Bird said...

Very cool that you tried something like this. It's a great idea.

"Faith in the fact than any given person could be interesting in some unexpected way" is precisely what's so amazing about the site, Brandon Stanton is coy about the exact questions he asks, but he has an amazing ability to get people to open up very quickly, and then he has an even more amazing ability to identify the most compelling tiny snippet out of whatever they say.

Paul Clarke said...

Love the article (and the website). I too would be the one without a costume.

I have an off topic question for you Matt (or anyone else who may know) - Can someone give me an example of a GUT character who is lacking in self-belief. I know it seems contadictory to the personality of a gut character. Just more of a burnt out Han Solo, where nothing has gone right in his life and so he no longer tries.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Matt Bird said...

In classic three-way polarization (head-heart-gut), gut characters combine all of the lower regions: stomach, spleen, and cockiness (think Bill Murray), but in four-way polarization (head-heart-stomach-cockiness) and five-way polarization (head-heart-stomach-spleen-cockiness), these are split up, and so you get stomach (and/or stomach/spleen) characters who lack cockiness (Norm on Cheers, the Thing in the Fantastic Four)