Episode 135

How Doing the Unexpected Distinguishes You as a Storyteller

I’m a sixth grader with a dream: I want to be Student Body President. So I get to work on dazzling my fellow students, relentlessly preparing and rehearsing every word of my speech for days and days, night after night… even into the early mornings.

And then, the big day arrives. It’s time to give my speech! I’m sitting onstage with two other candidates. Both of them deliver their speeches to huge applause from the student body.

Suddenly, I’m next up, and I’m shaking! I nervously get up from my chair, make my way to the podium, place my prepared speech in front of me, and start reading.

A few paragraphs in, I notice the restlessness in the auditorium. Some students are looking around the room, others are beginning to talk to their neighbor, and there’s even one guy, Stu, asleep in the front row!

I can’t believe what I’m seeing! Instead of treading on with what isn’t working, I take my speech, crumple it up, and throw it onto the floor. 

Then, I start speaking from my heart… and I hear a smattering of applause. As I continue, the applause gets louder and louder until the entire audience jumps to their feet.

I learn a valuable lesson: stop trying to be something you’re not. Just be yourself and share your ideas and what you feel in the moment. That way, you’re memorable in a way others can’t ignore!

My guest today, Intae Kim, has lived his life being memorable while bringing various film and TV characters to life. And in this episode of the Storytelling School Podcast, he’s here to share how doing the unexpected differentiates you from other speakers and storytellers and allows you to reap the greatest benefits. He also answers questions such as:

What attribute is at the core of your audience feeling connected to you? And what does it take to make people fall in love with you as a storyteller?

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How to honor the truth in your story in a way that activates you and your audience
  • What one aspect gets other people invested in your story
  • Why some stories fall flat and don’t work

Who is Intae Kim?

Growing up in the Boston area, Intae Kim was preternaturally interested in stories. As a voracious reader, social parrot, and frequent make-believer, Intae loved learning more about our world and exploring imaginary ones whenever he had the chance. These passions only grew stronger after he traveled across the country. Not only did his initial pursuit of a Cognitive Studies major at UC Berkeley eventually morph into dual degrees in English and Theater, but his subsequent move to Los Angeles led to a career in the Performing Arts.

Intae’s first big splash in Hollywood took the form of a scene-stealing turn in Monday, a short film that went on to win first place in HBO’s inaugural APA Visionaries Competition. Since then, he has worked on stage, on screen, and in the voiceover booth on projects as varied as Fargo (FX), How to Get Away With Murder (ABC), Succession (HBO), and Tom Clancy’s The Division: Hearts On Fire (Audible). He is grateful for the chance to tell stories for a living and to continue learning more about our world and exploring imaginary ones.

Want to take your storytelling skills to the next level?

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...and so much more!

I want to stand out!

The best storytellers are memorable for a reason.

Traver Boehm

2-time TEDx Speaker, Author, Coach, and Founder of the Uncivilized Movement

Mo Barrett

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Musician, Performer, Recording Artist, Voice Teacher

Greg Smith

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Than Baardson

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Cathy Sommerville

TEDx Speaker, Coach, Advisor, Leader, Author, Vice President


I'm ready to stand out!