There’s enough storytelling talent out there to choke Galactus. Yes, that Galactus. Everywhere you look you see stories that can pull you in and keep you in. If you’re not careful you could disappear into Vimeo or Scribd or Longreads forever. That’s not to mention the wonderful indy films, local theater, poetry slams. It’s a storied time, in more ways than one. You can have one anywhere, any when.
One of the challenges we face as storytellers is simple to ask and as varied in its answers as each of us: How do we stand out? The best answer is, “Tell good stories,” of course. But a big part of the equation is to find a medium, or an amalgm of media, to tell your tale. The very act of flexing your scribe muscles on multiple platforms can not only reach new audiences, but can also lead to fresh ways to tell your story.
Here are five examples of innovative storytellers who are telling their stories in ways that would have been hard to imagine a few years ago. We hope you’re inspired by one of these fine folks, Then, we hope, you’ll go out and tell your story:
Silverstring Media is made up of people with a gaming spirit, but they’re up to something more. If you spend some time experiencing their stories you’ll notice they’re obsessed with how we interact with the world around us. Their projects can start as a Twitter story and then morph into an experimental fiction musical. The Edge is an adventure soundtrack recorded by gamers at the end of each gaming session to capture how their characters have grown. Yeah, it’s some trippy stuff but some of it is really good. And if we’re not going to get trippy now then when will we?
You may have read Phillip Pullman’s ‘The Golden Compass’. Well, did you know he likes to use Twitter to tell stories? His short, ‘Jeffrey the Housefly’ is a delightful tale that was a lot of fun to experience while it rolled out. Sure, the final story is a good read, too. But the sensation of seeing a good yarn unfold in front of your eyes in bits and pieces added a lot to the experience.
Saschka Unseld heads up Oculus’ Story Studio where storytelling in virtual reality is, well, being defined. From technical decisions to terminology to distribution, VR is in its infancy as a storytelling platform. But Unseld and his team are determined to carve a path to make the platform viable. ‘Audience-aware’ tech sounds a bit scary but it will give storytellers some fascinating tools to work with. Do close-ups work for sad scenes? Does a pratfall have the same effect? These are among the thousands of questions VR storytellers need to ask.
Her Story by Sam Barlow (creator of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories) is full-motion video/adventure game that blew people away in 2015. In it you watch one woman interviewed seven times as she talks about the disappearance of her husband. The intrigue of the story provided an immersive level play that many of us sensed was possible but hadn’t seen yet.
Yes, we’re biased on this last one. Not only are we a program at SVA, we’re also Chaired by Nathan Fox! But this ad campaign was told in pieces throughout the New York subway system and it had the art world and the commuting citizenry abuzz! In a series of three comics, Fox told a dynamic, colorful and inspirational story of a girl finding her creative voice.
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Here are some more places to check out the latest in storytelling:
Sundance’s Digital Storytelling