The Power of Storytelling by Hans Zimmer–Lessons for Public Speaking and Life in general

In contrast to all the technical stuff that I usually write about, this blog post is different.

Today I stumbled upon a 2-minute video clip that was presented to me as an advertisement when I was browsing youtoube. The clip is about Hans Zimmer who advertises his new “Film Scoring Masterclass”. This two minute clip spoke to me in a way that no other has ever done. Here it is:

In the clip, Hans Zimmer ““only”” speaks about composing a score for a Hollywood Blockbuster (note the double-double quotes around the word “only”. There is nothing “only” about a writing a score for a Hollywood blockbuster. Just to be clear!)

So he speaks about writing such a score but in the end he ends up teaching MASSIVE LESSONS FOR LIFE and the IMPORTANCE of STORYTELLING.

This video struck me in a way that I immediately became a fan of Hans Zimmer, watched it about 10 times in a row and sat down and wrote this blog post.

I have of course heard of Hans Zimmer but never seen him or listened to his voice. I was always fascinated because there is this ONE guy who wrote the scores for ALL of the breakthrough blockbuster movies in Hollywood. I always thought who is this guy? How is this possible? Well, no it all makes sense to me.

In case you have no idea who I am talking about, Hans Zimmer is THE most famous Hollywood movie score writer there is. He wrote all the themes that make movies a huge success in the theatres. Even the music by itself is really impressive. Here is a list of his most famous work:

Pirates of the Carribean

Sherlock Holmes

The Dark Night

The Lion King



His full work can be found on his IMDB page:

The short video clip starts with an already impressive statement:

“In music, you are basically having a conversation”

That reminds me of my life. Isn’t a human life all about conversations? I know its totally cheesy, but it’s true!

Then he goes to the more powerful stuff:

“I can tell you everything you need to know  (to write a blockbuster score) in one word – STORY”

followed by:

“Ideas are not limited by budget, the creative process take place in your head!”

“You need to break through the myth that you can’t create a great Hollywood Blockbuster on an iPad. Becuase IF YOU ARE ON STORY, YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANNA DO!”

This is what I always tell people who are preparing public presentations. YOU MUST TELL A STORY. This is not optional, it’s essential!

An audience wants to hear “a story” or even better “YOUR story”. This is psychology, its science. This is how humans work. The technicalities that most people move into the foreground must not be the core of the presentation. If the content is outstanding but the story is missing, the talk becomes boring at best, unbearable at least.

Another impressive quote about storytelling follows:

“When all is said and done and we filled the highest high-rises and we built the fastest machines, there is still going to be room for someone to tell you a story or somebody to write you a piece of music”

He finishes the video with another impressive quote:

“If somebody tells you there is a rule, break it. Its the only thing that moves things forward.”

Which is exactly what Arnold Schwarzenegger said in his famous “6 Rules of Success”:

I watched this video this morning and I was deeply moved. By only watching this guy speak on youtube, you can feel the genius and the compassion that make up Hans Zimmer. I am still impressed!

If you got as hooked as I did, watch the documentary: Hans Zimmer Revealed – The Documentary: