art, journalism

@storyology: disruption and the fourth estate

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A slide from one of my talks: William Archer's definition from many decades before the Digital Revolution is perfectly relevant to digital storytelling.
One of the first slides in one of my talks: William Archer’s definition from many decades before the Digital Revolution is perfectly relevant to digital storytelling.

Had a fascinating time at The Walkley Foundation’s Storyology conference. An eclectic gathering of Australians and guest speakers from abroad, colleagues at ABC, students, entrepeneurs gathered in Surry Hills to debate the state of things. I was involved in a couple of talks, both on digital narrative and game mechanics in storytelling.

Here are the slides/script from the briefer of the two talks:
storyology-talk-1What we mean is generating a strong empathy between audience and content.storyology-talk-2What we don’t mean is attempting to manipulate the audience with kittens and bad plots.storyology-talk-3William Archer, born in Perth in 1856, was a playwright, critic, friend to and failed collaborator with George Bernard Shaw. This is a great rule for digital storytelling because it can apply to fact as well as fiction. It encapsulates the basic qualities of engagement and traverses the two distinctive archetypes of digital narrative consumption: the agency and passivity.storyology-talk-4When we say digital, we are talking about a medium that is governed by a basic duality of engagement, one that traditional media forms don’t seriously offer. This dualism is the foundation of the digital narrative experience and all its forms.storyology-talk-5storyology-talk-6The Agent leans in and their agency drives the experience to a variable extent. The passenger leans back and watches, listens, reads. This is an ancient behaviour that has been consistently modified for centuries, from camp fire stories all the way to the recent rise of long form television series as a dominant art form. But the most recent modifier is the agency offered by digital interactivity.storyology-talk-8This is the last basic rule I’m going to introduce today. It’s partly obvious, based upon the passenger archetype, but essentially the best existing techniques of storytelling are relevant and newly combined in the language of digital storytelling. You can have extremely minimal agency – basic navigation of a digital feature for instance, and still produce a great digital narrative. At the other end of the spectrum, you can have pure agency, with or without the standard conventions such as textual elements and have produced a highly compelling, emotionally resonant narrative. Out of the blending of these two principles, arises a spectrum of tools and opportunities with which to tell a story.storyology-talk-7storyology-talk-9My examples are intended to illustrate the spectrum of digital narratives, from extreme agency to the essentially passive experience.storyology-talk-10Firstly, Journey, by thatgamecompany.storyology-talk-13Secondly, Bluebird ARstoryology-talk-15storyology-talk-19Thirdly, The Opera House Project (you’ll need a modern web browser or powerful tablet (eg, iPad/Nexus/Surface) to view this site).storyology-talk-20storyology-talk-21Lastly, AP’s interactive feature, The Burning Monk.storyology-talk-29storyology-talk-30

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