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Introduction:

The media landscape is rapidly changing—that much has been clear for years. Driven by many factors—from the instant access, democratization, user-generated content enabled by the Internet; to the digitalization and decreasing costs of entry for shooting and editing a film, mastering an album, or publishing a book—our world has become one where creative content spans platforms, technologies, and creative mediums.

It’s critical that we understand the tools at hand, the concepts that drive them, and their near-infinite possible applications. These technologies, and the innovative uses to which we’re able to put them, are making the art of story more powerful by the day.

Who this is for:

This guide is for independent thinkers and doers, for the creative yet business-minded—entrepreneurs, freelance journalists, marketers, students and other bootstrappers par excellence. It will be useful for anyone interested in creating stories, but is specifically catered towards those who wish to harness and leverage the power of storytelling technologies to achieve some greater goal, be it marketing a product, hosting an event, selling a client on an idea, presenting an attention-grabbing thesis, or crafting the roadmap and vision for a new venture. This will give you the essential background, all the specific information you need to get started, and many more resources to help you along as you craft your own perfect story.

What you’ll learn:

  1. The most important aspects of great storytelling, applicable to all mediums
  2. The nuts and bolts of how to quickly gain proficiency in creating content in a wide variety of mediums
  3. How to tailor your content to an audience, and present it so that it is effective—both meaningful and engaging

Example Topics

In this book, we’ll explore numerous topics related to crafting stories, synthesizing mediums, and sharing that work with an audience to create something of high value and impact.

  • Interactive films, slow journalism, experiential theater, video games…
  • Online courses, web documentaries, transmedia, tablet publishing…
  • Web experiments, connected objects, architecture, immersion…
  • Data visualization, UX and interaction design, audience co-creation…
  • Crowdfunding, flash magazines, podcasts, performance…
  • Augmented reality, content platforms, location specificity…

These are the materials of the great works of our time. They synthesize technologies and information in complex ways, but they also share one common characteristic that defines them: they’re driven by narrative, by story.

More Detail—Storytelling, Technology, and “Why This Book?”

Story is how we make sense of the world. How we communicate information, organize events and ideas, transmit and evoke emotion. They have much to teach us, and are enormously powerful at placing us in experiences outside our everyday lives to expand our perception of what is possible, what is good, what is true. Stories can entertain us, give us excitement and relief; give us, by proxy, experiences that may not even be possible in our present reality but nonetheless play an important role in helping us understand the world. Stories are the fuel that power our imaginations; they inspire us and call us to action, and can even be used to manipulate. Stories connect us to others, to our cultures and shared histories.

This book stands on two main pillars: the practical importance of storytelling and narrative, and the technological means by which your stories can best and most effectively be brought to life. It is an attempt to explore, with you, the deep and proven techniques behind great storytelling—what makes a story powerful, resonant, and memorable; what we can do with stories (as entertainment, as pedagogy, as persuasion, and more)—and how we can make these stories, today, using the most innovative techniques and cutting-edge tools presently available even while keeping in mind classical principles.

Stories are not something to be passively absorbed, they are something to be experienced. Stories even affect our bodies, give us visceral experiences; stories are lived and felt, and impact us daily, linger in our memories, endure.

We believe anyone can tell a great story. It’s a natural human capacity. Think back to when you were five years old—you probably had no difficulty letting your imagination roam, enthralling friends and family with your creations, spinning wild yarns. You may now be a bit out of practice. But you can rediscover that fluency with narrative that on some level we all posess. If it’s clear we have the ability to know a great story when we experience one, it’s also clear that by making explicit the underlying principles of great stories, and making transparent the processes by which they’re constructed, we can better learn how to make them, too.

We’re not saying it’s easy—in fact, creating a narrative experience that’s truly gripping and original and innovative and powerful is actually one of the hardest, most challenging undertakings one can do. But it’s also essential, and for that reason we want to do as much as possible to make the process, if not downright easy, at least easier to understand.

So, this is a book about the communicative power of technology, specifically concerned with how stories can be told through different mediums, and what particular advantages and capabilities each of those mediums impart. Its main intent is to educate people on how to harness the power of multimedia storytelling and visual communication to achieve their goals effectively and beautifully. What can video add to a literary short or piece of journalism? How can interactivity enhance a marketing campaign? How can computer programming collide with game mechanics; how can theater and architecture intersect—to tell a meaningful and resonant story?

If you’re interested in finding out more about the future of storytelling, and being part of it yourself, please sign up for updates.

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