Ag8: finally someone is cottoning onto the future of storytelling.
For quite some time now, I’ve been pondering how storytelling will change with the rapid advances in digital media. I’ll always have a soft spot for films as a great medium to deliver a story. However, I have come to realise that filmmaking as we know it is changing forever.
While, they’ll always be some great auteurs or traditionalists out there making great standalone films, more and more we are going to see the development of stories with no clear beginning, middle or end. Let’s face it, this traditional narrative structure was really only invented due to the limitations of the mediums being used. Clearly, no one is ever going to sit in front of a movie screen watching a film for five hours (unless you’re a masochist), that’s why the standard 90 minute film became the norm. It fitted in with people’s attention spans.
Now, however people’s attention spans are becoming shorter than ever. With the inundation of social media feeds, and the various sites we all subscribe to, we are barely able to keep up with the information being thrown at us.
This is creating an interesting phenomenon. It means that we want small, bite sized pieces of information that we can consume quickly. However, the web has also played nicely into humanity’s innate curiosity. There is still something fun and magical about discovering a new interesting piece of content or story on the web that you can send onto your friends etc.
Where is this leading?
The future is clear. Storytelling will no longer be one person trying to shape a story to an audience. There will be no separation between the ‘creator’ of the story and the audience. The audience will be creating the story as much as the original creator.
This calls for a very different mindset than the capitalist way of thinking that has been so dominant over the past few decades. The individual is no longer paramount, the collective is. Stories will no longer be shaped in isolation, and be protected through archaic practices like copyright. Stories will be created through various ‘entry points’ on the web, be that a blog, a video, a facebook page etc. The audience themselves will then shape the story and even be contributors to its creation.
For the first time since ancient cultures, where stories were passed down from generation to generation through verbal communication (around fires etc), the world has now found a new, communal space to share and grow its stories that represent humanity. What’s more, if we plan this right, we can have a trail of websites that archive and document the development of these stories.
In other words, stories are no longer simply stories, they are world views that will evolve with discussion, creation, and review.
So I welcome you to the new world of digital storytelling, where everyone of us are creators, audience, and critics all at once.
The only question left to answer is what does this human story mean to all of us? What does the future hold?
I think Tom Himpe and David Bausola, with a little help from Ridley and Tony Scott, have struck the nail on the head and are set to be leaders in the digital media space. I encourage you to go and explore their site. The future is here.