Digital storytelling part 1 writing

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Slides for a workshop on applied storytelling, using writing exercises. Used as teaching aid for my course at http://www.mmm.unifi.it/ .
Follow me at @ppolsinelli for more.

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Digital storytelling part 1 writing

  1. 1. Digital Storytelling:writing By Pietro Polsinelli
  2. 2. 2 Who am I Pietro Polsinelli Twitter: @ppolsinelli Blog: http://pietro.open-lab.com E-mail: ppolsinelli@open-lab.com I’m applying storytelling to: Web apps for team & personal productivity, Videogame marketing Videogame designStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  3. 3. 3 Today’s workshop Intro Writing Exercises part 1 On writing Writing Exercises part 2 FeedbackStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  4. 4. 4 Storytelling is so popular… But what we do here is not actually “pure” storytelling, its “storytelling for…”. That is, writing and telling stories for ends which are not literary. There are definite and precise techniques for storytelling. Narrative techniques can be acquired with a lot of exercise, developing a specific sensitivity. Here you can give it a first try.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  5. 5. 5 Introduction: why digital storytell?Many of your former colleagueswork (part or full time) is companiesthat are “startups” in some sense. Ininteractive educational tools,videogames, music productionservices, ... .As a “jack of all trades” you willneed stories. Stories are presentedin many forms, but are mostlycreated in written form. Movies scripts, comic scripts, videogame scripts.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  6. 6. 6Here for… Learn to detect / create / analyze / use / apply storytelling. Detect: not only ads Create: exercises Analyze: schemas Use: used more widely than you may believe.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  7. 7. 7 Ambiguity alert! Applying storytelling can mean working on: A product / service / company with a story at its heart, that unfolds and guides work and developments. Creating a short, sticky story that somehow “points” to a product / service / company. Auto-conclusive story.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  8. 8. 8 Storytelling gives… A product / service / company with a story at its heart, that unfolds and guides work and developments. Storytelling gives coherence, sense. We have stories in “continuity”. Creating a short, sticky story that somehow “points” to a product / service / company. Auto-conclusive story. Storytelling can get and keep people’s attention. We have auto-conclusive stories.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  9. 9. 9 Acquiring storytelling sensitivity helps in both cases And in many kinds of “stories”. A soundtrack tells a story. A video. A podcast. A comic.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  10. 10. 10 Learn to write Its possible. You learn by example, practice, feedback. Things are born interesting or are made interesting?Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  11. 11. 11 Books: this is just the beginningStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  12. 12. 12 Exercises part 1 Write on paper what you will say if I’d ask you to present yourself to this group. 3 Min.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  13. 13. 13 Exercises part 1 Write on another paper your product / service idea – how you would present it in a few sentences. 10 Min.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  14. 14. 14 Concreteness in writing – part 1 1. Write down as many things white in color you may think of. 15 Secs.Story Story tell(Software) product tell your your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012 Saturday, March 17, 2012
  15. 15. 15 Concreteness in writing – part 2 Write down as many things white in color that may eventually end up in your fridge you may think of. 1.15 Secs.Story Story tell(Software) product tell your your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012 Saturday, March 17, 2012
  16. 16. Listing features vs. tellingstories
  17. 17. 17 The USP approach I here give a first negative definition of my approach, by contrasting with some existing marketing habits. The Unique Selling Proposition (a.k.a. Unique Selling Point, or USP) is a marketing concept that was first proposed as a theory to explain a pattern among successful advertising campaigns of the early 1940s. It states that such campaigns made unique propositions to the customer and that this convinced them to switch brands. Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unique_selling_propositionStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  18. 18. 18 The USP approach USP is like classical economics: assumes perfect information and rational choices. Users are neither informed nor rational. This fragmented approach does not help users in getting their insight. Lacking a unified anthropological model of and for the user, this will not work. Marketing recipes draw a simplistic picture of the marketing project. A USP tends to obscure your real motivations, your agenda. A purely functional description will leave out what is most interesting. This also shows that deep limitations of AdWords based approaches: you story is missed, you can’t do a contextual presentation.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  19. 19. 19 Rational choice models A few years ago, we had a brief discussion about the power of ads. A friend of mine was skeptic about that, he stubbornly held that ads had no effect on him. This is an example of illuministic optimism which is factually false. How wrong this belief is is shown by data from many possible fields (next slide). What matters for us is that this kind of wrong modeling of human behavior leads to wrong marketing models: models based on the rational choice idea.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  20. 20. 20 Learn more The political mind, A Cognitive Scientists Guide to Your Brain and Its Politics , George Lakoff Idea Framing, Metaphors, and Your Brain - George Lakoff http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_CWBjyIERYStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  21. 21. 21 Establish the context You should not talk in terms of differences with the competition (this too is a mistake which several marketing “experts” make). This is the traditional mistake of political weak candidates. Your point is to tell a completely different story. Obama stopped saying “Bush is doing this and that” He started saying: “This is MY story. This is a NEW story.” Story mark: by telling a good story, its you establishing the context. this way you can win in the most unlikely situations By fighting on features, you are adapting to a context where its the others setting the context -> you are going to lose.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  22. 22. 22 The storytelling approach You are bringing a ship across a hill in the jungle: your effort *deserves to be told*. You product is a free creation, shaped from the learnings you can get from early shipping. The basic point of this marketing technique is simply to tell the truth, and bring it across in its subtlety and complexity. It’s useful if what you are saying is not trivial, if there are ideas to be expressed. Articulating your proposal in a story instead of a USP is much more conductive to express it integrally. The MBA typical idea of “competitive advantage” results empty for this perspective. The union of story and execution is no single competitive advantage.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  23. 23. Using stories
  24. 24. 24 Learning from “classical” storytelling The first point is NOT saying clearly (for you) what you provide, and neither to talk about users’ advantages. The first point is getting attention and start telling YOUR STORY.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  25. 25. 25 Unifying power of storytelling Your aim is to create an opportunity for a “magic” meeting of needs, tastes, choices. You are facilitating it, but you are not the cause. Unifying power of the storytelling approach: if you defined your story, this gives unity to the expression of your idea in different media (see Licorize in the examples). Once you have a story, it becomes easier and more interesting to write articulated connections. And to write other, connected stories touching other fields.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  26. 26. 26 Unifying power of storytelling You may articulate your idea through many media and means:  blog post  home page of your site  Podcast  Video  Mockumentary  Cards  e-book  ipad app  iphone app  generic mobile app  Tweets  facebook etc.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  27. 27. 27 Marketing stories “Potential customers cannot buy what they cannot name” Journalists cannot write about something that has no novelty: you’ve got to serve them the concepts, the story, the novelty. A new feature is not a novelty.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  28. 28. 28 Marketing stories “Most people resist selling but enjoy buying”. If you manage to define the buy situation, victory is in your hands. We’ll get back to this later.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  29. 29. 29 Unifying power of storytelling USP get old fast: stories don’t. Storytelling supports seriality: it is a wonderful way to put criticism and failures to our use. Like Balsamiq failed release -> visibility and positive remarks. Berlusconi prostitutes -> that’s how I am -> hero’s flaw, adds to heroicity.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  30. 30. 30 Coherence Having a story gives you a sense of coherence, will also make you stronger against the 2% of skeptics. Alienating the 2% http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/11/alienating-the-2.htmlStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  31. 31. 31 Simplicity Warning: Sun exposure is dangerous To Sun exposure: how to get old prematurelyStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  32. 32. 32 How startups can learn to pitch the press http://pietro.open-lab.com/2011/04/08/how-startups-can-learn-to-pitch- the-press/ Some mistakes Brad lists:  the 1000 word e-mail  lack of a story  pitching on MondaysStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  33. 33. 33 The importance of a good ending Imagine a coffee machine that when the coffee is ready makes a bright light. People talk & remember endings. http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kahn eman_the_riddle_of_experience_vs_ memory.htmlStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  34. 34. Storytelling schemes
  35. 35. 35 Base schema for product narrationStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  36. 36. 36 Consumer’s fatal flaw Reading and knowing your audience fatal flaw is the first step in building any marketing strategy.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  37. 37. 37 Existential myths  The myth of “salvation”  Myth of “cure”  Myth of “evasion”Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  38. 38. 38 Themes for the existential myths  Cure/protection rhetoric  Power/possession rhetoric  Exploration/curiosity rhetoric  Auto confirmation/self-celebration rhetoric  Negotiation/projectuality rhetoricStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  39. 39. 39 Gossip stories are a GREAT way to see the basic schemes in action (read Barthes’ Mythologies)Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  40. 40. Examples
  41. 41. 41 Balsamiq - http://balsamiq.comThe reason for success for along time escaped me - yes,he told an interesting story ofthe startup trip but that is notthe key.What/where is the narrative?Which is the fatal flaw? Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  42. 42. 42 Balsamiq Fatal flaw: prototyping is hard, and a great source of conflict. More detailed it is, more likely it is to generate conflict. -> Smooth corners: a tool that is easy to use as play, and does not go much beyond play (though it is very useful).Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  43. 43. 43 Balsamiq Messages: “We are not working, we are playing” “The prototype is not definitive”Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  44. 44. 44 Balsamiq Messages:  “How can you not love this Winnie- the-Pooh like mockup?” The tone of communication is “back to draw like when you were a child”. Gets tons of tweet “loving this”. It is a communication strategy built-in the product.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  45. 45. 45 Licorize: our stories Ive read I dont know how many times this reaction to Licorize on Twitter: "this is exactly the product I was looking for!” This anthropological fit is actually also a construction, a construction of Licorize storytelling. The perfect fit is felt because the story works, the identification works. Of course just a good story without a high quality product and design would not make it.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  46. 46. 46 Licorize: our stories We did alienate the 2%: the very first reactions were very bad. Negative review, lacking USP, unclear … . How I reacted? I did nothing. I changed nothing. But soon, very soon, the voice that really matters – people, many people, appreciated it. The comfort of numbers, and the comfort of competent reviewers. The first 2% is not the real press. The press: they don’t react using their Lizard Brain. They look carefully – trust them. We didn’t do permission marketing. We had a story and the press (which today does not mean paper press) took it and talked about it.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  47. 47. 47 Licorize: our storiesStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  48. 48. 48 Theme Major:  Auto-confirmation  Myth its more “salvation” than “evasion”. But introducing playfulness gives hope to work, seen as oppressive – this is the fatal flaw. Minor:  Design -> seduction  ExplorationStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  49. 49. 49 Did work: Licorize Result: 50 positive reviews (by meaningful sites) in 90 days, thousands of tweets. And they both keep coming. Reviewers fell in love with the story – which we had written for them. Also a bit of luck helped – Delicious crisis.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  50. 50. Multiple entry points 50Multiple stories and media:  Curation, GTD, e-books, info overflow  Video 1 minute  Instructional detailed videos  User guide 100 pages  Examples usage in the application Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  51. 51. 51 What is the morale of the (story) product? Licorize: no bookmark is an island. 37signals Basecamp: people have now an online life and need very simple management. Most products have no clear morale.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  52. 52. 52 Licorize: other’ stories http://licorize.com/projects/ppolsinelli/blogBookmarks/licorizeBuzzStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  53. 53. Exercises
  54. 54. 54 Base schema for product narrationStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  55. 55. 55 Exercise part 2 [Distribute schemas] Write again about your product / service idea – how you would present it in a few sentences.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  56. 56. 56 Blind idea clinic – 1 minute after Rewrite the beginning. It can be better.Story tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  57. 57. Discuss results
  58. 58. 58 “Made to Stick” scorecard Check Message 1 Message 2 Simple Unexpected Concrete Credible Emotional StoryStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012
  59. 59. More… 59 Some links: http://licorize.com/projects/ppolsinelli/Storytelling-for- software-marketingStory tell your (Software) product Saturday, March 17, 2012

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