The Fundamentals behind Storytelling by Nigel Levy


In last week’s Lunch & Learn session with Duro Oye, our members had the pleasure of meeting the award-winning writer and director – Nigel Levy writer/director/producer of Emmy and RTS award-nominated documentary and docu-drama. Starting at the BBC in the mid-90s (The Language Master: 1997), Nigel subsequently established himself as a creator of innovative docu-drama (Fatal Attractions: 2010-13, Titanic: Case Closed: 2013).

His subject matter includes arts, history, science, natural history, and sport in both feature length-documentaries and series. He regularly directs in Asia, having directed documentaries with Asian stars such as Jackie Chan and Joan Chen, exploring the South Korean film and media industries.

Alongside his documentaries, he also works in drama, at The Lyric Theatre in Belfast and co-directing the feature film Mothers and Daughters (2016), starring Sharon Stone, Selma Blair, Mira Sorvino, and Christina Ricci, among others.

The Fundamentals behind Storytelling

Nigel broke down the fundamentals behind storytelling;

Story –  Structure – Meaning.

Over a sarni and cup of tea (or glass of bubbly) we learned just how storytelling can truly benefit your business.

3 Storytelling Fundamentals to consider for your business:

  • What is the story for?
  • What does one feel when they see a good story?
  • What points of view are involved and how do they contribute and influence what a story means?

3 Storytelling Fundamentals to consider as a business owner; story-teller:

  • A good storyteller has calmness and certainty of their technique and ability. Ability, Nigel says, comes from “knowledge and education”, which also involves being sincere and honest about what you don’t know.
  • A good storyteller has an awareness of their ego and therefore doesn’t need to persuade themselves that they know what they’re doing because they actually know what they are doing.
  • A good story-teller is “relentlessly logical and consistently comes up with clear solutions… [if you don’t have] clarity you can’t work with anyone”  < This is my favourite Nigel Levy quote :))

To conclude, how you design a good narrative requires an understanding of structure…in building most people acknowledge the architect but in fact, the important job is that of the structural engineer.

Without them, there would be no building.

Without a clear understanding of method, technique and structure we wouldn’t have good stories.

Join us for the next in our insight talk with 2020 Change. Duro Oye where we will be in conversation with Patrick Hutchinson alongside the team at The UTCAI: Chris Otokito, Jamaine Facey, Lee Russell, Troy Davis, Richard Pascoe, Keisha Hercules and Louise O’Hara.

Click here to find out more –

Blog Writing Credit:

Thank you to Hannah Siaw for your avid note-taking at the event! You can follow Hannah on LinkedIn here – or follow her Instagram here @hoshidelion.

Nigel Levy Source –

Meet our host and Home Grown Ambassador – Duro Oye

Duro Oye is the CEO of 2020 Change, an award-winning social enterprise that helps young Londoners from low socioeconomic backgrounds fulfil their true potential. 2020 Change aims to create long-standing change by delivering programmes on personal development, training, and the social capital needed to thrive in the workplace.

Through the flagship ‘I AM CHANGE’ programme the organisation helps to develop the self-confidence that empowers each candidate to become the best versions of themselves.

The programme helps to create a smooth transition from education to the workforce by offering work experience in a number of different sectors.

Duro’s national recognition came in 2013 after he raised £50k to fund his first independent film project ‘247365 Change’. Since then he has gone on to produce several documentary film projects with The BBC.

Duro has won several awards and accolades and is a fellow at the Acumen Academy.

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