• Chris OBrien

The Last Dance: Lessons on telling your life story from the Michael Jordan documentary

ESPN is airing an incredible 10-part series called "The Last Dance," chronicling Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. It feels like basketball history meets Game of Thrones.


To be fair, any time you have Michael Jordan as your subject matter, that's already a strong start. But there are two key aspects to this project that anyone can replicate when turning their own life stories into a book.


1. Record your memories

2. Find and tell the narrative


Part of what makes this documentary so powerful is they had a camera crew following the team back in 1997-98. They gathered a ton of behind the scenes footage.


How this applies to you: Having a bunch of photos, videos, journal/diary entries, even things like Facebook posts, Tweets, Yelp reviews, these all become your behind the scenes footage. You can draw from this material.


But the narrative is what makes it all interesting. The Jordan backstory. The Pippen backstory. Jerry Krause as the villain. All of the interviews retelling what it was like during that season. The stories are what bring it to life.


We're lucky. In 100 years, future generations will have way more photos/videos/info on us than we had about our great-great grandparents. But without the stories, it's just a ton of information. The narrative brings it together.


An exercise to try: Find 10 old photos. Write about who was in the photo. When was this from. What else was going on that year? Was it a good year? Bad year? What do you think of when you see this photo now?



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