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Story in the Context of Transmedia
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Story in the Context of Transmedia

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Joel Blom presents insights about Story structure and applications in the context of Transmedia projects and ideas.

Joel Blom presents insights about Story structure and applications in the context of Transmedia projects and ideas.

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  • Stories and narratives are an evolutionary component of human survival.  Around 100’000 years ago … position of his hyoid bone changed … and language evolved … the planet was changed foreverlanguage = co-operation = most powerful creature on Earth = roots of civilization. Why did hominids tell stories? Stories have a practical app in building and advancing society. Co-operation requires learning and stories taught hominids how to co-operate = survive and thrive. More complex the society, the more complex a story to teach how to behave in appropriate ways  Civilization is really nothing more than co-operation in the extreme
  • Around 100’000 years ago … position of his hyoid bone changed … language … and the planet was changed foreverComplex sounds = language = co-operation = most powerful creature on Earth = roots of civilization. Civilization is co-operation to its logical extremeWhy did hominids tell stories? Stories have a practical app in building and advancing society. Co-operation requires learning and stories taught hominids how to co-operate = survive and thrive. More complex the society, the more complex a story to teach how to behave in appropriate ways  100’000 years ago, hominids evolved to “speak” complex sounds – language was bornLanguage between hominids allowed co-operation, 10 hominids cooperating together suddenly became the most powerful creature on the planetCivilization is really nothing more than co-operation in the extremeStories have a practical application: to perpetuate societyThey’re used as teaching and learning and memory toolsHow does that work?
  • Human learning has two components: experience (emotional) and analytical (classroom) – cannot do both at the same timeExcept we can … when we absorb a STORY – How’s that work?Protagonist takes us on emotional journey … pain, joy, danger, rewards But we’re safe in the megaplex, or behind our Kindle, analyzing what’s going on with the hero or characters … what happened before – what happens after …
  • id (instinctual)super-ego (society’s norms)ego (Latin for “I”)Id (primal needs - like your cat)Super-ego (the opposite of id, internalized parent)Humans are unique in that they have to subdue their id and develop a dominant super ego to co-operate. This conflict between id and super-ego is the basis of our being.Ego (means “I” in Latin) is me, i.e. the result of balancing the needs of “id” and “super-ego.”Personal decisions are the result of the conflict between id and super-egoId and super-ego are both general to all. Ego is uniquely me and changes over time as I develop.You!Your true character, revealed through the actions you take in response to your internal id/super ego conflict.
  • Story psyche: comes about from conflict between forces of “doing good” for society (super-ego) and “forces of antagonism” (id fixated on self serving)The true character of protagonist and antagonist, revealed through the actions they take in response to the conflict between themStory: the path of the protagonist and antagonist are in direct opposition. In conflict from the start, the journey through the conflict is the Story: actions revealed through protagonists response to conflict -> leading to resolution of conflict and life’s lessons learned
  • Stories resonate when, directly or via metaphor, they deal with a common conflict we all face – a conflict between id and super-ego. A good story embodies this conflict and sheds light on a way forward for people in the real world. (Orchid Thief S. Orleans- Adaptation Charlie Kaufmann)
  • Maslow’s 1954, “Motivation and Personality:”Different stages along a human’s journey to personal fulfillmentMention SEX
  • We have:● No roadmap from Mother Nature ● No help from id (instinct) ● Worse! Must overcome our base instincts● Only way to make the journey to personal fulfillment – to behave to society’s norms – is to learn it from each other Summary: Stories, like our own personalities, are born out of conflict, like our own journey through life. The journey through a story is that of a character’s development as an individual towards self-actualization. We need stories to help us find the way – Your Story Matters – we need each other’s stories to understand ourselves
  • Story begins … placed in contextInciting incident – sets the story arc in motion – protaganist’s starts his journeyAct II climax – Hero dies within – his id is too strong - Act III climax – Hero defeats forces of evil (external and internal) – is changed by the experience and gets the TreasureReturn – Hero goes back and tells the othersLife’s lesson is learned and passed along
  • Structured narrative is the presented top-level story as told. The actual words on the page/script and the story events they portray. DELIVERY MECH “Structured” means the choice of events and order they are given in the narrative To resonate, at least one character is challenged to change and grow through the arc of the story. As a result of their success or failure to change, at least one participant will learn lessons about life and how it should be lived. DELIVERY MECH. Decisions a character makes in conflict reveal their genuine character through their actions – regardless if their decision was right or wrong
  • Subtext is how story distinguishes itself from a factual diary, reportage or instruction manual Subtext delivered via “knowledge gaps,” i.e the difference in knowledge held by different participants* in a story participants are characters in the story, the audience, the author, etc.  Subtext: how story distinguishes itself from a factual diary or instruction manual by delivering an underlying story. DELIVERY MECH means to deliver underlying story is via “knowledge gaps.” i.e the difference in knowledge held by different participants in a story (participants are protagonist, antagonist, other characters, audience and author) Example 1: one character knows more than another = knowledge gapExample 2: the audience knows more than the protagonist = knowledge gap (Matrix: we the audience, know Neo’s office world is an illusion when he is summoned to join the resistance, Neo does not. This knowledge gap jointly held by the participants gives the events implicit story power)
  • questionsdialogactionpromisesubplotsubterfugeimplication and suggestionmisinterpretationsubconscious aimsmetaphorQuotes:“Story begins when an event, either by human decision or accident in the universe, radically upsets the balance of forces in the protagonist's life, arousing in that character the need to restore the balance of life.” Robert McKee 1998 “Psychologists have learned that ‘fictional’ story forms provide the structural lines in terms of which real lives are organized.” Jerome Bruner, 1990
  • questionsdialogactionpromisesubplotsubterfugeimplication and suggestionmisinterpretationsubconscious aimsmetaphorQuotes:“Story begins when an event, either by human decision or accident in the universe, radically upsets the balance of forces in the protagonist's life, arousing in that character the need to restore the balance of life.” Robert McKee 1998 “Psychologists have learned that ‘fictional’ story forms provide the structural lines in terms of which real lives are organized.” Jerome Bruner, 1990
  • ● Knowledge gaps of a story are the logical “exits” and “on ramps” – branches if you will - for a story to Transmedia (transpose itself across medias)● Knowledge gaps give transmedia story participants (audience) alternative outlets for their story projections
  • How do you define Transmedia Story?And then how do you define a Transmedia Story?
  • ● Focus on telling a good story for your defined audience and intended purpose● A good Transmedia Story is like all good stories: engaging and interactive – but it also encourages audience participation in helping to shape the story
  • Consider how each platform and their participants will engage with the Story. e.g. blogs or videos or movie theatres or Kindle texts,to explore one or more of the Story’s main structural elements (Subject ● Treasure ● Obstacles ● Return ● wHy) or its underlying story, the subtext
  • ● The Hero must return – changed – and tell others about what he has learned● The path to self-awareness is torturous – setbacks and defeats are expected● The end as the beginning – non-linear experiences and the “Never-ending Story” (”… this is another story and shall be told another time”)
  • ● The Hero must return – changed – and tell others about what he has learned● The path to self-awareness is torturous – setbacks and defeats are expected● The end as the beginning – non-linear experiences and the “Never-ending Story” (”… this is another story and shall be told another time”)
  • Does it lend itself for Transmedia?
  • Five-Steps to writing or developing a story for TransmediaKnown your purposeKnow your audienceKnown your messageKnow your medium(s)Write your story

Transcript

  • 1. Story in the Context of Transmedia Projects by Joel Blom Story Advisor 4 Sept. 2013 – Colab Zurich Transmedia Zurich Presents: realfreshstory.com ⎪ @joelblom.net
  • 2. Story and Transmedia Roots of Story Story Structure Application for Transmedia Story Time
  • 3. Why stories? Roots Why Story Matters Stories have a practical application in building and advancing society. Co-operation requires learning and stories taught primitive mankind how to co-operate to survive and thrive. Civilization is really nothing more than co-operation in the extreme
  • 4. Why did these primitive humans tell stories? Roots Why Story Matters Stories have a practical application: to perpetuate society. They’re used as teaching and learning and memory tools
  • 5. Two components of Story; but we cannot do Emotional and Analytical learning at the same time … except when …. Roots Why Story Matters we absorb a STORY Emotionally, the protagonist takes us on journey … pain, joy, danger, rewards But we’re safe in the megaplex, or behind our Kindle, analyzing what’s going on with the hero or characters … what happened before … what happens after …
  • 6. Why is a Story so powerful? What makes a Story resonate in our minds? Roots Why Story Matters
  • 7. Roots Why Story Matters Freud’s model of human psyche • id (instinctual) • super-ego (society’s norms) • ego (Latin for “I”) ID Super EGO EGO Internalized parent You! Unconscious “child” Conflict MIND Personal decisions are the result of the conflict between id and super-ego. Ego is uniquely you, and changes over time as one develops. Your true character is revealed through the actions you take in response to your internal id/super ego conflict.
  • 8. Roots Why Story Matters Story “psyche” ANTAGONIST (ID) PROTAGONIST (Super EGO) STOR Y Good Guy The true character of protagonist and antagonist, revealed Bad Guy Conflict Story comes from conflict between “doing good” for society (super-ego) and “forces of antagonism” (id instinct) The true character of protagonist and antagonist, revealed through the actions they take in response to the conflict between them. Story: the path of the protagonist and antagonist are in direct opposition. In conflict from the start, the journey through the conflict is the Story: actions revealed through protagonists response to conflict -> leading to resolution of conflict and life’s lessons learned.
  • 9. Stories resonate when, directly or via metaphor, deal with a common conflict we all face Roots Why Story Matters
  • 10. What does this journey look like to a writer or storyteller? Roots Why Story Matters Maslow’s 1954, “Motivation and Personality” Different stages along a human’s journey to personal fulfillment
  • 11. The journey from id to self-actualization is long and tortuous – there are no shortcuts Roots Why Story Matters
  • 12. Structure Story is in the subtext Structure of Story
  • 13. Structure Story Structure Template thanks to Mrs. Munson, my 9th grade English teacher (and Joseph Campbell) of Story C --> Context (character, time, place) A --> Action (forces of opposition, conflict) R --> Result (explains the lesson learned and links back to the purpose of the story - what has changed?) S --> Subject T --> Treasure O --> Obstacles and Opposition R --> Return Y --> whY (why this story matters, communicates your story’s call to action)
  • 14. Structure Narrative’s 3 crucial elements and their delivery mechanisms of Story Deliverable Element Delivery Mechanism Structured narrative (the telling) Choice of events, order and words to describe Character development Action through conflict, leading at least one participant in the story to change – and learn life lesson(s) Subtext: the underlying story Knowledge gaps, leaving space for audience projection and interpretation
  • 15. Structure Subtext (underlying story): of Story
  • 16. Structure Subtext: 10 Types of knowledge gap A knowledge gap, jointly held by the story participants, gives the events implicit story power of Story
  • 17. Structure Subtext: 10 Types of knowledge gap A knowledge gaps gives events implicit story power of Story 1. questions 2. dialog 3. action 4. promise 5. subplot 6. subterfuge 7. implication and suggestion 8. misinterpretation 9. subconscious aims 10. metaphor Credit to David Baboulene, “The Story Book”
  • 18. Structure Knowledge gap for Transmedia of Story Knowledge gaps of a story are the logical “exits” and “on ramps” for a story to Transpose across medias. Knowledge gaps give transmedia story participants (audience, author, characters) alternative outlets for their story projections.
  • 19. Story Structure and Transmedia Story Application for Transmedia How do you define Transmedia? Joel Blom: “Transmedia is telling Stories across multiple media platforms where Story elements are strategically dispersed, each making a contribution to S. T. O. R. Y.
  • 20. Story Application for Transmedia An on-line distributed story template Image credit, Gary Hanes, 2008
  • 21. Developing Transmedia Stories Story Application for Transmedia Start with a Good Story ● Focus on telling a good story for your defined audience and intended purpose. ● A good Transmedia Story is like all good stories, engaging and interactive – but it also encourages audience participation in helping to shape the story.
  • 22. Good Stories and Transmedia Story Application for Transmedia “Young people do not simply consume transmedia narratives; rather, transmedia encourages playful participation.” Henry Jenkins
  • 23. Developing Transmedia Stories Story Application for Transmedia Consider how each platform and their participants will engage with the Story, e.g. blogs or videos or movie theatres, comics or Kindle texts; How each will explore one or more of the Story’s main structural elements (Subject ● Treasure ● Obstacles ● Return ● wHy) or its underlying story, the subtext
  • 24. Distributing Transmedia Stories Story Application for Transmedia
  • 25. Developing Transmedia Stories Story Application for Transmedia How will you end the Story? ● The Hero must return – changed – and tell others about what he has learned. ● The path to self-awareness is torturous – setbacks and defeats are inevitable. ● The end as the beginning – non-linear experiences and the “Never-ending Story” (”… this is another story and shall be told another time”)
  • 26. How will you end the Story? Story Application for Transmedia
  • 27. What’s your favorite Story ? Story Time
  • 28. 5 Steps to writing and developing a story for Transmedia ● know Story structure ● know your Story’s purpose ● know your audience ● know your medium(s) ● write your Story* * and rewrite it, and re . . . Story Take-away
  • 29. Story Take-away What happens next? Let’s connect and find out ⎪ @joelblom.net ⎪ realfreshstory.com
  • 30. Story THE END Thank you CoLab, Liz, Mark and all of tonight’s Story Participants Stay tuned for the next Transmedia Zurich event because your story matters⎪ @joelblom.net ⎪ realfreshstory.com