Bobette Buster

Bobette Buster’s What’s the Story?

MIFF 37ºSouth Market & Accelerator Lab presents Hollywood-based story and script consultant Bobette Buster’s What’s the Story?, a five-part seminar series revealing the factors, in scriptwriting, screen craft and our own senses, that help Take Your Storytelling to the Next Level and Learn What Makes a Great Story Well Told.

Buster lectures and consults globally, including with the likes of Pixar, Disney, Sony, Fox, the BBC, Denmark’s North by Northwest, Screen Training Ireland, and Spain’s MEGA Business Program. She is also Boston Northeastern University’s Professor of Digital Storytelling Practice, has written two books (Do Story: How to Tell Your Story So the World Listens – which is in its 10th printing and has been translated into five languages – and Do Listen: Understand What’s Really Being Said, Find A New Way Forwards) and the Tribeca-and-Cannes-selected feature documentary Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound, which she also produced.

Buster, who has worked as a creative story executive for Hollywood greats Tony Scott (The Good Wife), Ray Stark (Steel Magnolias) and Larry Gelbart (Tootsie), holds a BS Speech from Northwestern University and an MFA from the University of Southern California’s Peter Stark Producing Program where she was Adjunct Professor from 1992 – 2015.


Tell Your Story So the World Listens: 10 Proven Concepts

A great story well told has the power to change the world. Our culture built on story and story has become our culture’s currency. Those telling the best story win. So, what’s the thing that makes most influential books, movies, music and innovations stick?

Buster reveals how stories actually work by illustrating 10 time-honored concepts during the very act of storytelling. She discusses how to source, structure and shape your story, the ways to discover the essence of your story and how stories start from an ordinary moment, but, in the storytelling, the ordinary becomes extraordinary – the moment when the teller and the listener connect.

People are hard-wired in their DNA to respond to a well-crafted story with an emotional core, so whether you have a product to sell, a company mission to share or an audience to entertain, this workshop demonstrates principles to take your own storytelling from good to a “great story well told.”

So, what’s your story?

Monday 5th Aug 10am-1pm

Village Roadshow Theatrette



Deconstructing Master Filmmakers Telling Great Story: Jordan Peele’s Get Out

A breakthrough masterpiece in cinematic storytelling, Get Out collides the classic Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with horror, and, perhaps for the first time in cinematic history, yields a feature film that gives white audiences a visceral experience of racism, while becoming a touchstone cultural event for African-Americans.

This session analyzes the film’s power vis-à-vis the uses of storytelling: the development of its “Big Idea”. Buster then discusses how the “Big Idea” was “plussed” by all seven cinematic arts – directing, writing, acting, cinematography, sound/music, art department/FX, costume/production design –demonstrating how every department is led by the “Big Idea” of the film under Jordan Peele’s direction.

Drawing from the art and craft of extraordinary filmmakers, Buster deconstructs a master filmmaker’s classic approach to illustrate key concepts, revealing the fundamental purpose of story structure, the audience’s need to experience the lead character’s arc of transformation, and how the story’s core theme, based on the zeitgeist, are all interwoven and enhanced through cinematic language. This seminar provides a clear, methodological and unique approach to developing a screenplay that is essential for any screenwriter, producer or director. In understanding how to use these tools to orchestrate the audience’s emotional response, filmmakers can elevate their scripts to the highest quality.

Tuesday 6th Aug 10am-4pm (including lunch break)

Village Roadshow Theatrette

$75 *


Cinema’s Invisible Partners: How Sound and the Senses Tell Your Story

While historically adulated as a visual medium, cinema relies on masterful sound design to evoke the viewer’s emotional response that is critical to a film’s success.

Visuals lay the groundwork for emotional meaning, but sound gives picture its emotional punch. Sound also impacts understanding of story – and, because audiences often do not notice it, film sound can be manipulated to greater extremes than images, contributing to the film’s ultimate immersive power in the hands of talented artists in sound.

Buster’s seminar demonstrates how visionary directors in collaboration with creative sound designers create the specific, subconscious, emotional reactions and story moments in beloved iconic films.

The session starts with viewing the Tribeca-and-Cannes-selected feature documentary Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound (which Buster wrote/produced) that captures the history, impact and creative process of this art form through the stories of legendary directors like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, David Lynch, Barbra Streisand, Ang Lee, Christopher Nolan, Sofia Coppola and Ryan Coogler, and the creative sound practitioners they collaborate with.

Wednesday 7th Aug 10am-1:30pm (including screening)

Village Roadshow Theatrette

$45 *


The Uses of Wonder: Ask the Right Questions of Your Story

Do we have enough imagination to live our best lives and be our own best storytellers? This session explores the uses of wonder and enchantment in storytelling and, in the spirit of Socrates, shares how to ask the right questions of your story, including: What’s the Big Idea? (the central controlling premise); Why Do We Care/Who Wakes Up? (as this era’s art form of transformation, cinema needs to create characters that change and experience their bold choices with emotional clarity); What Do You Feel? (the orchestration of emotions by visual and sound design); What’s the Cinema Language? (deliberate sight and sound design to orchestrate emotional responses to the story and a character’s inner struggle as they find courage to transform towards their true destiny); as well as examining How to Raise the Stakes in a Scene, Mining the Zeitgeist, and All Roads Leading to the Last Emotion.

Thursday 8th Aug 10am-12pm

Village Roadshow Theatrette

$30 *


Listen-Up: How Really Listening Enhances Story

As J. K. Rowling said: “You cannot tell a story unless someone wants to listen.” Yet this basic act and most primal of senses has become a rare commodity in today’s world. Is social media killing the art of listening and really hearing? To listen is an active verb and this session dissects the sheer strength of listening and reveals its power in creating wonder, connections, friends, lovers, community – and great stories. Discover how learning to listen helps us hear and share great stories well told.

Thursday 8th Aug 2pm-4pm

Village Roadshow Theatrette

$25 *