The best place by the fire was kept for…the storyteller.
I just got done reading Frank Roses The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories 1, It’s a book on a subject I laughingly thought at one point I was going to be able to cram into a 6 – 7 paragraph article in which the subject was the coming age of full blown digital immersion; whether it be entertainment, marketing, exploration or simply storytelling, how it got there and where it’s going along with a bird’s eye view of where it’s at. The book is a fantastic must read in my opinion for everyone to checkout. It’s fun to read and the narrative of situations are engaging, its seriously one of my faves of the year so far.
Storytelling is a trait of the human species that makes us 100% unique in this universe. The manner in which it in itself has evolved is something to be caught up in awe over. We do it every day in one way or another. We tell our loved ones how our day was, and/or we listen to theirs, we watch the news, talk to friends, facebook, blog, tweet, etc. Our very communication is often caught up in the fantastical overwhelmings of our brains recreating the story for us as the adrenaline begins to re-ignite the parts of our brain that gives us vivid playback of a memory. It’s exhilarating. If you think about it, even in the workplace storytelling plays a huge role when you have a great idea and that idea needs to be conveyed in a manner that speaks to its audience.
I’ve personally had a growing concern for a while now that the entertainment business (along with my other qualms) has being going the way Video Games nearly did. It’s becoming less and less about the story, the engagement the immersion, and more about the Michael Bay, the pre-conceived visual masturbation factor. Thankfully we have seen backlash from public outcry of garbage remake after remake. But will it be enough? Hollywood has all but said it doesn’t need its writers, they have a 100years worth of material to regurgitate and feed to a younger unknowing audience who would see it as brand new, and would/could be quasi-profitable! And while that may be true, it takes away from human innovation and creative progression that we are all responsible for. One thing this can be attributed to is Media Execs cashing in on ideas from a business model they know (or soon will) will either change or collapse. Mr Rose touches on this a bit which I was happy about. How the business model of Mad Men advertising of the roaring 30s is soon coming to a close. Top Media producers even still give push back to the likes of Netflix and Hulu 3 for being the first of their kind, legal and profiting, neither of which is in their pockets in the volume they believe they are worth. What a lot of people are turning an ignorant ear to is that in order for progression to occur, change needs to happen. New things don’t just appear out of thin air. Flowers eventually die and the soil is nurtured by it, seeds are planted and new plants are grown. Even looking at our own planet, it is in a constant state or cycle of renewing and replenishment, every volcano, every earthquake, while disruptive in action makes way for new and renewed beauty.
So Aside from a heroine/hero vs. villainess/villain story arc, what makes a good story? Well, that would be the Reward. Whether it is the clue to a mystery or the answer to a riddle, a story must have what I like to call “attention currency”, not to be mistaken for dangling a carrot in front of the mule. All too often we draw out the forest in our heads above the trees ….good stories keep you in the forest and gently guide you In-between them. A concept Frank Rose touched on was a muse of JJ Abrams in which he owns a box that he got from a Magic Trick shop when he was young boy that to this very day he’s never opened. Rightly though, it’s a double edged sword, on one hand, the possibilities are infinite in what could possibly be in there, but on the other no matter what is in there, it would never live up to your expectations as to what you though was in the box.
For the past few months, for a project Im working on, I’ve been studying a lot of old sketches, any cave art I could get my eyes on, the higher the resolution the better, the imagery that was trying to be created, the contours’, the scale of the drawings. the images that were attempted to be depicted. And it always always makes me wonder….what were their stories? How much about them can we determine what their campfire gatherings sounded like? The DaVinci anatomy collection 2 for the iPad blew my mind, as a person who’s always loved to draw…being able to see such documents and drawings in such high resolution displayed and laid out as if its intention was for you to learn and get deeply involved in it (unlike various other sources of similar material) completely floored me. It too told a story, and a beautiful one at that. DaVinci at the time was the only one qualified enough to create an anatomy book, and how it attributed to the source of rumors regarding corpses, which were true, but today we simply call them academic cadavers. It tells an anthropological story as to whom we were, and who he was. All these types of mediums engage us to look further, be more curious, but care needs to be taken, as Frank Rose put it, the longer you feed the curiosity, the greater the expectation becomes, the more expensive the attention currency gets. As the story of our storytelling continues, we will indeed need to push the boundaries of immersion and let old habits die easy, nothing stays the same, and if they did…it would make for a horrible story.
All in all the book will defiantly make you think, and you’ll get a lil dose of good ol broadcast history to boot!