Justin KownackiHello! Welcome to my digital sandbox, where sociology meets storytelling.

Here are three things you should probably know about me:

  • I love figuring out how things work — especially stories
  • When I was a kid, I kept a flashlight in the backseat of my dad’s car so I could keep reading my comic books and novels no matter how dark it got
  • Every day at lunch in gradeschool, I told my friends a “choose your own adventure” story, with plot twists that I would make up on the fly

So, if you want to understand how stories work, and if you want to use those insights to make your own art, media, and content work better for your audience, your fans, or your business, then you’re in the right place.

Why I Do What I Do

Throughout my career, I’ve been a videographer, writer, marketer, teacher, and a perpetual learner. Everything I do, both personally and professionally, revolves around one core belief:

We are all hungry for stories that connect us, inspire us, and make us want to be better people.

This led me to become a media-maker who also teaches businesses, nonprofits, bloggers, artists, and content creators how to make media that inspires audiences to take action.

And when I teach people how to tell better stories, everybody wins.

Want to learn more? Check out my new online course: Storytelling for Business

My Current Life

By day, I help businesses tell better stories so they can achieve their goals faster.

By night, I study films, TV, books, video games, history, and pop culture to find the storytelling processes that work (and the ones that don’t), so I can tell even better stories myself.

(And when I’m not doing any of those things, I’m writing screenplays. But that’s a whole different topic.)

My Past (and Future) Life

In 2003, I needed a creative outlet to balance out my day job, so I launched what would go on to become the web’s longest-running sitcom, Something to Be Desired (“STBD”), which I wrote, shot, directed, edited, and produced from 2003-2009. In 2008, STBD was nominated for a Yahoo! Video Award for Best Web Series. (We lost to The Guild, so congratulations to them.)

In 2006, I attended the very first PodCamp Boston, which created the original social-media-for-business scene and propelled the careers of dozens of marketing experts whom you’ve probably bought books from, including its co-founders, Chris Brogan and Christopher Penn. Six weeks later, I launched Podcamp Pittsburgh, the annual social media “un-conference” that survives to this day, in the spirit of the Boston original.

In 2010, with help from our fans on Kickstarter, STBD was spun off into a new series, The Baristas (2010-2011). Unfortunately, the real-life coffee shop that the show was filmed in closed down in 2011, so — like STBD before it — The Baristas never quite came to a proper narrative end. (Yet.)

The Brief Life and Sudden Death of The Baristas — or, How Not to Make a Web Series

Where Can You Find Me?

I speak about storytelling, marketing, and the future of media. Here’s one recent example. If you want a speaker who gives your audiences advice they can actually use, contact me and let’s make that happen.

I also contribute to the MAQTOOB group for entrepreneurs on Medium.

I currently live in Baltimore, though I’m a Pittsburgher at heart.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn for more tips about the art and business of storytelling.

What Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead Can Teach Us About Modern Storytelling


You can’t force engagement, no matter who you are « One True Sentence · February 26, 2010 at 8:06 am

[…] week, Justin Kownacki wrote a blog post telling his audience that they needed to step up their game and write better […]

Persuasive Picks for the week of 05/03/10 | PerkettPRsuasion - The PerkettPR Blog · May 7, 2010 at 4:33 pm

[…] Guys: When It Comes to Your Audience, Size DOES Matter Justin Kownacki hits the nail on the head with this fantastic post about the long winded debate between quantity […]

5 Ways to Network Without Feeling Dirty | The Good Badger · May 10, 2010 at 12:57 pm

[…] the self proclaimed “Armchair Socialist and Perpetual Contrarian”.  I stumbled upon Justin’s blog during one of my innumerable conquests through the Interweb, and have made his site part of my […]