Peter Guber’s production team desperately needed a “yes” from none other than Fidel Castro in order to complete their mission of filming underwater in the forbidden Havana harbor in Cuba.
This was the core segment of Oceanquest, a multi-part reality television program in the 1980’s.
Castro was leaving their vessel after only a ten minute courtesy visit. Knowing that Castro was a scuba aficionado, they laid out all the unique equipment that they believed would tell the story of their mission and Guber prepared the facts and figures to support it.
Nothing seemed to capture his attention. But, suddenly his demeanor changed. Shawn Wetherly, the show’s host, had appeared! And, having just finished some shooting, she was still wearing her bathing costume. This piece of equipment stimulated more than the El Jefe’s national pride.
Then Castro noticed that Shawn was holding a shark’s tooth as big as her hand which clearly interested him. Guber seized on this serendipity to reset his story into a tale of the great 250 foot long ancient predator that once prowled Havana’s waters, folding in Cuba’s ancient past into its present. Guber closed with a call to action, saying they as filmmakers wanted to create an enduring record – a different artifact, if you will – that told the world the story of Cuba’s historic Havana harbor.
This story opened the door to his passion and Castro stayed for over three hours happily granting them permission to shoot any where in the harbor.
MORE ABOUT TELL TO WIN
To validate the power of telling purposeful stories, Guber includes in this book a remarkably diverse number of ‘voices’ – master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences. They include YouTube founder Chad Hurley, NBA champion Pat Riley, clothing designer Norma Kamali, “Mission to Mars” scientist Gentry Lee, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, former South African president Nelson Mandela, magician David Copperfield, film director Steven Spielberg, novelist Nora Roberts, rock legend Gene Simmons, and physician and author Deepak Chopra.
After listening to this extraordinary mix of voices, you’ll know how to craft, deliver – and own – a story that is truly compelling, one capable of turning others into viral advocates for your goal.