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One Year in Now Media Vol VI

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What was the year in media like in 2016? And what should we look out for in 2017? Featuring a compilation of blog posts from 2016 and interviews with some of the most brilliant creators around, this publication features 110 pages of enticing, interesting and challenging content.

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One Year in Now Media Vol VI

  1. 1. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 1 One$Year$in$Now$Media Vol$VI by Simon$Staffans
  2. 2. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 2 Introduction$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$i The$Posts$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$6 STORYTELLING$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$7 Storyteller$and$bridge$builder$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$8 Creating$a$future$through$stories$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$10 Layered$storytelling$H$the$art$of$the$future$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$12 Rebooting$our$creative$minds$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$14 Visualizations$and$layers$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$16 The$value$brought$by$stories$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$18 Making$stories$together$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$20 Be$the$salient$story$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$22 The$age$of$the$storyteller$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$24 The$age$of$stories$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$26 Five$focus$areas$for$successful$multiplatform$storytelling$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$28 Dancing$on$the$point$of$a$needle$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$32 Chasing$the$story$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$34 Musically$speaking$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$36 The$power$of$true$stories$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$41 THE$MEDIA$INDUSTRY$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$43 Blowing$up$silos$H$the$evolution$of$media$is$just$beginning$$$$$$$$$$$$$44 Solid$economics$in$a$Wluid$content$world$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$45 The$corporate$angle$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$47 Where$does$virtual$reality$Wit?$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$49 Marketing$and$the$unending$complexity$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$50
  3. 3. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 3 Only$as$strong$as$your$weakest$link$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$53 The$creative$society$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$55 Evolution$is$around$the$corner$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$57 On$the$importance$of$long$term$thinking$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$59 Lean$content$creation$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$61 THE$AUDIENCE$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$63 Be$there$for$your$audience$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$64 Earning$the$trust$of$your$audience$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$66 A$word$on$trust$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$68 Creating$a$community$from$scratch$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$70 On$the$future$of$media$and$audiences$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$72 How$to$make$your$story$resonate$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$74 The$Interviews$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$76 Introduction$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$77 Michael$Monello$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$78 Maya$Zuckerman$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$81 Steve$Peters$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$84 Andrea$Phillips$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$86 Angela$Natividad$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$88 LeeHSean$Huang$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$90 Asta$Wellejus$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$92 Christy$Dena$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$96 Jeff$Gomez$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$101 THE$END$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$108 About$the$author$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$109
  4. 4. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 4 Introduction This$is$the$sixth$year$of$me$publishing$this$round$up$of$the$year$that$was$in$what$I$call$ “Now$Media”,$a$convenient$term$to$use$to$avoid$getting$tangled$up$in$deWinitions$and$ buzzwords.$As$per$usual$it$is$a$mix$of$two$things$H$a$compilation$of$my$blog$posts$from$ the$year$that$was$(as$published$on$simonstaffans.com)$combined$with$interviews$with$ some$brilliant$people,$representing$different$aspects$of$the$Wield$of$media$from$around$ the$world.$As$it$stands,$please$read$it$as$a$complement$to$your$own$conclusions$of$the$ year$that$was,$a$complement$that$hopefully$gives$you$some$new$input$and$information$ going$into$the$year$2017. For$my$own$part$the$past$year$has$been$a$highly$interesting$one.$Having$worked$for$ different$employers$since$the$midH90s,$this$was$the$year$I$Winally$took$the$step$to$fully$ start$my$own$company,$together$with$Anders$Wik$who$was$my$colleague$at$my$last$ place$of$work.$We$call$our$company$ReThink$New$Media$Solutions,$or$ReThink$NMS$for$ short$(www.rethinknms.com),$and$we$present$ourselves$as$a$research$and$innovation$ company. Over$the$past$eight$months$we’ve$been$moving$in$all$kinds$of$directions.$One$highlight$ was$launching$our$Wirst$TV$series$on$YLE’s$VOD$platform,$a$look$at$how$to$make$it$as$a$ youtuber,$seen$through$the$eyes$of$a$15Hyear$old$rising$star.$$Another$project$saw$us$ launch$a$GPSHbased$app,$as$a$walking$guide$to$the$city$centre$of$our$home$town$Vaasa,$ with$the$narrative$being$driven$by$video$and$audio$mainly.$Seeing$that$app$on$the$Play$ Store$and$App$Store$felt$pretty$neat,$I’ll$admit.$We’ll$have$two$more$coming$out$in$ January!$ We’ve$created$marketing$campaigns$and$produced$TV$ads,$held$talks$and$workshops,$ helped$form$a$thought$leader$campaign$for$a$multiHbillion$euro$company$and$written$a$ report$to$help$a$European$broadcaster$draw$up$their$tenHyear$strategies$regarding$ production,$distribution$and$audience$engagement.$ All$through$this$“making$stuff”$business$we’ve$still$been$able$to$innovate$anew.$We$shot$ a$pilot$for$the$project$“The$Energy$Challenge”$in$late$November,$documenting$as$a$family$ tried$to$cut$their$energy$consumption$to$a$globally$sustainable$level$(difWicult$to$do$in$ dark$and$cold$winterHFinland).$We’ve$also$created$a$number$of$new$formats$for$online$ or$TV,$and$signed$a$coHdevelopment$deal$with$a$major$German$production$company$ regarding$one$of$them.$ All$in$all,$2016$has$been$busy$enough$for$me$not$to$have$had$the$time$to$explore$all$the$ new$and$interesting$creative$projects$and$best$practices$that$have$sprung$up$all$over$the$ globe.$We’re$only$taking$the$Wirst$tentative$steps$into$VR$and$what$the$whole$AR/VR$ phenomena$can$mean$for$content$creators$and$storytellers$and$audiences.$We’re$ experimenting$with$new$forms$of$audience$engagement$and$coHcreation.$ The$world$is$changing$and$so$are$we.$And$despite$all$the$saddening$realHlife$events$of$
  5. 5. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 5 2016,$I$refuse$to$believe$that$the$world$will$grow$darker.$I$think$there$is$enough$of$ people$that$want$good$in$the$world$for$the$dark$to$be$kept$at$bay.$What$I’m$certain$of,$ though,$is$that$we$need$to$tell$better$stories$in$better$ways,$that$resonate$better$with$ people$and$help$us$all$understand$each$other.$ And$that$would$be$my$New$Year’s$resolution$for$2017$H$to,$in$even$more$ways$than$ before,$strive$to$do$good$and$promote$good$in$this$world.$ Please$enjoy$this$publication,$and$let$me$know$any$comments$or$addHons$you$might$ have.$I$look$forward$to$meeting,$talking,$debating,$discussing,$arguing,$collaborating,$ laughing,$coHproducing$and$generally$just$being$alive$together$in$2017. Finally,$a$special$thank$you$to$Mike$Dicks$of$Descience$and$Mike&Scrabble$fame$who$ supplied$me$with$the$nifty$picture$for$the$title$page.$Thanks$Mike! Vasa,$Finland 31ij $December$2016 Simon$Staffans
  6. 6. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 6 THE-POSTS This$year$I’ve$had$less$time$to$blog$than$previously.$The$reason$is$simple;$I’ve$been$ working$long$days,$long$weeks$and$long$months$to$get$our$company$upHandHrunning.$ Pouring$all$my$energy$into$new$business$propositions,$into$productions$and$ development$projects,$into$editing$episodes$and$standing$in$for$the$sound$guy$at$pilot$ shoots…$between$all$of$these,$there$has$been$precious$little$time$to$actually$reWlect$on$ the$things$I’ve$learnt$or$come$to$understand$during$the$past$year. Still,$some$posts$have,$magically,$appeared$on$my$blog.$You$can$Wind$these$compiled$ below.$As$per$usual,$most$of$the$posts$deal$with$issues$I’ve$encountered$in$my$ professional$life,$ranging$from$principles$for$producing$and$distributing$over$many$ platforms$to$engaging$the$audience$in$meaningful$and$coHproductive$ways.$ One$thing$I’ve$learnt,$though,$is$the$need$to$constantly$keep$innovating.$It$might$be$that$ the$things$you$innovate$around$see$no$traction,$perhaps$even$no$understanding,$but$ they$will$all$propel$you$forward$into$new$territories$where$new$innovations$can$take$ place.$As$someone$once$said:$“It$doesn’t$matter$if$you’re$on$the$right$track.$You’ll$get$run$ over$if$you$just$sit$there.” Let’s$all$agree$not$to$sit$there.$Let’s$move$forward$together,$and$invite$others$to$join$us.$ —— For-clarity-I’ve-divided-the-posts-into-three-different,-overarching-themes:- STORYTELLING-features-the-posts-where-I-describe-challenges-and-thoughts-around-the- craft-of-telling-stories-in-a-world-of-Now-Media,- THE-MEDIA-INDUSTRY-features-reKlections-on-where-the-different-parts-of-the-media-world- is-heading-and-how-they-can-be-addressed-and-taken-into-consideration-in-the-best-possible- way,-while- THE-AUDIENCE-features-posts-on-the-most-important-aspect-of-them-all,-the-everNchanging- and-everNevolving-relationship-with-the-people-we-want-to-take-part-of-our-content.
  7. 7. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 7 STORYTELLING
  8. 8. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 8 Storyteller-and-bridge-builder When$I$examine$the$craft$of$the$creator$–$or$the$storyteller,$the$producer$or$whatever$ other$term$you$want$to$use$–$bridge'building'comes'to'mind.$What$we$are,$essentially,$ trying$to$do$is$build$a$bridge.$It’s$a$bridge$that$is$constructed$between$the$stories$and$ the$content$we’ve$come$up$with$by$using$our$imagination$and$our$experience$and$the$ people$we$want$to$reach,$inWluence$and$engage$with$that$content. Where$a$builder$of$a$real$life$bridge$would$study$the$surrounding$area$and$test$the$ bedrock$for$the$most$suitable$place$to$start$building,$we$do$audience'research,' examine'their'habits,'their'needs'and'wants'and'their'preferences. Where$a$builder$of$a$real$bridge$starts$constructing$with$the$help$of$blueprints$drawn$ up$by$construction$experts$or$architects,$we$construct$our$content$and$distribution$ plans$according$to$audience'engagement'strategies,'strategies'for'social'media$and$ so$on. We$need$to$use$the$material$most$suitable$for$reaching$the$intended$audience$–$some$ that$we$want$to$reach$can$only$be$so$by$using$a$bridge$built$predominantly$of$ Instragram$content.$Another$has$to$be$reached$by$traditional$TV$content.$A$third$has$to$ have$everything$built$on$Facebook.$We'need'to'know'who'we'want'to'reach,'and' how'we'best'reach'them,'or'our'bridges'will'falter. We$do$wisely$to$create$bridges'that'allow'for'two:way'traf<ic.$Whereas$the$builders$of$ yesteryears$could$content$themselves$with$fewer$bridges,$and$oneHway$bridges$at$that,$ the$builders$today$know$that$they$need$a$steady$stream$of$trafWic$going$both$ways,$in$ order$to$keep$the$precious$audience$connected$to$their$own$content,$in$the$Wiercely$ competitive$environment$this$content$exists$nowadays. Another$complication$in$comparison$with$the$builders$of$yore$is$the$people$we$want$to$ reach.$Whereas$these$were$inhabiting$a$few,$large$islands$back$in$the$day,$nowadays' it’s'a'sprawling'archipelago$that$calls$for$the$construction$of$a$great$number$of$ bridges,$only$to$reach$the$same$amount$of$people$one$bridge$would$cater$for$earlier. Luckily,$bridge'creation'has'never'been'easier.$The$cost$of$material$has$plummeted,$
  9. 9. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 9 as$has$the$amount$of$time$needed.$And$funnily$enough,$we’re$not$the$only$ones$creating$ bridges$anymore.$If$our$stories,$our$content,$is$engaging$and$exciting$enough,$the' people'around'will'happily'create'their'own'bridges,'in'their'own'fashion,$just$to$ be$able$to$connect$with$what$we$have$to$offer$them. Then$again,$as$Isaac$Newton$said,$and$which$I$regard$as$a$challenge$for$all$of$us$–$”We' build'too'many'walls,'and'not'enough'bridges”.
  10. 10. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 10 Creating-a-future-through-stories The'future'is'here.$You$might$not$recognize$it$yet,$not$know$it$yet,$but$it$travels$with$ you$whereever$you$go.$You$hold$the$future$in$you,$and$it'is'yours'to'mould'and'shape$ into$whatever$you$want$it$to$be. We’re$living$in$uncertain$times.$Refugees$and$migrants,$economic$hardships$and$war,$ climate$change$and$climate$change$denial.$The$list$is$nearly$endless.$As$I$talked$about$in$ a$couple$of$posts$last$year,$I’m$actively$exploring$how$narratives$and$stories$can$help$us$ shape$the$future$into$something$that$holds$more$promise.$”The$Great$Narrative”$was$a$ term$I$used,$a$term$to$encompass$everyone,$and,$by$default,$everyone’s$stories. I’m$Winding$that$this$train$of$thought$has$a$direct$inWluence$on$the$way$I$approach$more$ handsHon$projects$as$well,$be$it$entertainment,$documentaries,$experimental$stuff,$social$ media$campaigns$or$something$else.$If$we$accept$that$we$–$and$everyone$else,$naturally$ –$have$the'power'to'shape'and'change'our'futures'through'stories,$isn’t$this$ something$to$be$taken$into$consideration$when$working$with$audience$engagement$and$ other$similar$strategies?$I$think$so,$clearly. What$we’re$looking$at$is$an$evolvement$of$the$old$adage$from$propagation$planning,$of$ giving$people$a$direction$and$the$necessary$tools,$and$they$will$tell$the$stories$you$ would$like$them$to$tell. Now,$instead,$we’re$looking$at$something$that$goes$deeper.$What$I$Wind$I$want$to$create$
  11. 11. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 11 is$an'alluring,'enticing,'engaging'image'of'a'possible'future$for$the$audience.$It$is$a$ future$they$hopefully$long$for,$yearn$for,$and$one$that$holds$promises$of$the$solutions$ and$possibilities$they$crave$(even$if$they$didn’t$even$know$they$craved$them$from$the$ outset).$It$is$out$of$necessity$a$true$image$(if$perhaps$not$the$full$image)$that$is$clearly$ accessible,$through$means$and$tools$provided$by$us,$the$creators.$This$means$that$when$ the$audience$interacts$with$my$story,$it’s$not$only$in$order$to$advance$the$storyline,$it’s' in'order'to'create'a'future'for'themselves'to'arrive'at. If'we'can'dream'it,'we'can'make'it.$Our$task$as$creators$is$to$paint$the$dreams$we$ want$the$engaged$audience$to$have,$and$make$sure$they$mirror$the$future$they$arrive$ into,$when$following$those$dreams.
  12. 12. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 12 Layered-storytelling-N-the-art-of-the-future I$think$we$can$all$agree$that$the$world$is$a$pretty$complex$place.$It$would$be$easier$for$ most$of$us$if$it$was$simply$cleary$black$and$white,$right$and$wrong,$for$and$against,$like$ a$LOTR$movie$with$all$nuances$wiped$away.$That$is,$however,$never$the$case. Whatever$stories$we$want$to$tell,$whatever$experiences$we$want$our$audience$to$ experience,$whatever$feelings$we$want$to$convey$and$whatever$information$we$would$ like$to$communicate,$we$need$to$take$this$into$consideration.$We$can$achieve$a$great$ initial$impact$with$a$message,$a$story,$that$is$clearly$and$shiningly$blackHandHwhite$–$ easy$to$grasp,$easy$to$encompass,$easy$to$react$to$and$easy$to$Wind$likeHminded$people$to$ ally$with$around.$But$for$a$longerHlasting$impact,$we$need$to$think$deeper,$further$and$ longer. This$is$where$the$practice$of$layered$storytelling$comes$in.$In$a$series$of$blog$posts$from$ a$couple$of$years$ago,$Gary$Goldhammer$from$Hill+Knowlton$talked$about$layered$ storytelling$from$their$perspective,$focusing$on$journalism$and$to$some$extent$on$ marketing$as$well: It’s$about$layers$–$not$how$media$comes$together$but$how$it$works$together,$while$still$ retaining$the$“native”$characteristics$of$the$individual$media$types$whether$Paid,$ Earned,$Owned$or$Shared. This$can’t$happen$with$a$mediaHcentric$or$channel$speciWic$approach$–$we$must$be$ audienceHcentric$and$channel$agnostic.$Story$and$audience$must$sit$at$the$center,$ powered$by$digital$and$social$means.$This$is$how$ideas$spread$and$ultimately$can$stand$ out$in$a$fragmented$world. From$this$central$idea,$narrative$“layers”$cut$across$channels$and$forms$of$media$so$that$ we$can$reach$more$people$at$scale.$A$Layered$Narrative$allows$space$for$interaction,$ sharing,$collaboration$and$contribution.$Every$unique$layer$makes$the$source$material$ stronger$and$the$core$story$more$engaging. These$are$all$good$thoughts$and$principles.$Through$layers$can$we$reach$more,$we$can$
  13. 13. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 13 offer$more,$we$can$offer$up$nuances$and$possibilities$and$we$can$foster$interaction.$I$ feel,$however,$that$we$need$to$take$it$a$step$further.$I’m$talking$about$the$ultimate$ release$of$control,$and$the$trusting$of$our$audience. Think$of$your$story$as$the$island$of$an$archipelago,$and$the$audience$as$the$people$ traversing$the$waters$by$boat.$Underneath$the$surface,$all$your$islands$are$connected,$ but$it’s$only$the$islands$themselves$that$are$approachable$directly.$They’re$all$ connected,$but$separate.$And$it$would$require$a$wet$suit$and$some$scuba$gear$to$dive$ below$the$surface$and$track$how$all$the$different$islands$are$connected. Now$you$can$help$your$audience$as$much$as$you$like,$and$show$them$how$the$different$ parts$Wit$in.$I$talked$about$a$process$like$this,$when$I$wrote$about$building$bridges$a$ while$ago.$These$bridges$would$be$the$links$in$your$narrative$–$if$you$feel$your$audience$ needs$them.$Alternatively,$you$can$leave$it$up$to$them$to$Wind$the$connections,$and$if$ they$deem$it$necessary$or$desirable,$build$the$bridges. We$need$to$dare$be$more$Wluent$and$more$”loose”,$for$want$of$a$better$word,$regarding$ our$stories.$We$can’t$reWlect$the$complexity$of$life,$if$we$insist$on$a$formalized,$well$ contained$story$that$is$over$and$done$and$dusted$in$93$minutes$Wlat.$And$we$need$to$be$ prepared$to$not$try$to$hold$on$to$our$audience$–$instead$allow$them$to$be$as$clingy$or$ nonHclingy$as$they$see$Wit;$as$engaged$or$as$laidHback$as$they$feel$appropriate. This$is$a$big$step$for$me$as$well,$coming$from$a$traditional$media$background,$with$a$ dire$need$to$keep$control$over$all$aspects$of$production$and$distribution.$I$can$certainly$ believe$it$is$an$even$bigger$step$for$brands,$sponsors$and$Winanciers$of$different$sorts;$ without$control,$how$can$anyone$guarantee$revenue?$I’ll$share$thoughts$on$that$in$my$ next$blog$post.
  14. 14. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 14 Rebooting-our-creative-minds-N-are-we- worthy-of-an-audience? Over$the$past$few$weeks$I’ve$been$writing$about$some$principles$I$feel$are$crucial$for$ anyone$creating$stories$and$content$today,$while$hoping$to$reach$and$engage$people$ with$said$stories$and$content. There$are$many$ways$for$us$to$look$at$what$we’re$doing.$There$are$many$tips$and$tricks$ to$keep$at$the$back$of$our$heads$while$creating$our$stories,$planning$for$their$ distribution$over$different$media,$anticipating$and$enabling$interaction$and$engagement$ and$drawing$up$the$strategies$for$the$harnessing$of$all$of$this$in$a$way$that$will$boost$ future$stories$and$future$engagement.$But$drawing$on$a$number$of$conversations$I’ve$ had$over$the$past$week$or$so,$I'think'we'all'need'to'take'a'couple'of'steps'back'and' lift'ourselves'to'another'abstraction'level,$before$we$get$down$to$business. The$discussions$I’ve$been$having$with$people$from$different$Wields$–$journalists$as$well$ as$marketing$professionals,$writers$as$well$as$Wilmmakers$–$all$point$more$or$less$ directly$to$a$fundamental$misunderstanding$regarding$our$role$as$creators$and$ producers$and$storytellers$in$today’s$world. The'audience'is'no'longer'here'for'us.'We’re'here'for'the'audience'–'if'we’re'lucky. What$I’m$hearing$are$professionals–$great$craftsmen,$gifted$storytellers,$skilled$ producers$and$so$on$–$who$say$the$right$things,$but$clearly$has$not$grasped$what$those$ things$mean It’s$not$enough$to$profess$that$the$relationship$with$the$audience$has$changed$to$a$more$ interactive$one.$We$need$to$accept$and$acknowledge$that$this,$in$the$eyes$of$the$(entity- formerly-known-as-the)$audience,$means$that$they'are'the'ones'producing,$merely$ building$on$from$a$prompt$we’ve$provided$them$with$as$we$told$them$our$original$story. It’s$not$enough$to$say$that$strategies$for$engaging$an$audience$are$imperative.$We$need$
  15. 15. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 15 to$realize$that$these$strategies$must'allow'for'a'great'deal'of'<lexibility,$as$our$ audience$might$have$their$own$strategies$for$getting$a$rise$out$of$us,$for$using$our$ stories$as$platform$for$their$own$agendas$or$any$number$of$other$possibilities. And$it’s$absolutely$not$enough$to$express$a$conviction$that$a$story$is$best$told$the$way$ we$intend$for$it$to$be$told.$This$might$be$the$best$way$WE$can$envision$for$it$to$be$told.$ For$the$majority$of$the$people$we$reach,$another$way$–$slightly$or$greatly$altered$–$ might$be$the$optimal$way.$We'need'to'let'go'of'the'control'of'our'stories.$If$we’ve$ managed$to$create$something$gripping$and$engaging$and$immersive$enough,$it$will$ survive$the$clash$with$the$audience.$Survive$and$thrive.$And$if$it’s$not$good$enough…$ perhaps$someone$else$might$turn$it$into$something$better.
  16. 16. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 16 Visualisations-and-layers-N-storytelling- evolving While$researching$methods$from$around$the$world,$in$order$to$see$how$I$can$ incorporate$the$best$practices$into$my$daily$work,$I’ve$stumbled$upon$a$great$number$of$ interesting$solutions,$methods$and$principles.$One$of$these,$that$I$felt$resonated$very$ clearly$with$the$post$I$wrote$last$week$about$”Layered$Storytelling”,$is$an$interesting,$inH depth$look$at$the$work$Giorgia$Lupi$and$the$Accurat$Studio$have$been$doing$together$ with$the$Italian$publication$Corriere$della$Sera$over$the$past$few$years.$They$sum$up$ their$philososphy$thus: Experimental-visualizations-design-should-always-aim-at-balancing-conventions-and- familiar-forms-people-are-comfortable-with,-and-novelty:-truly-imaginative-visuals-able-to- attract-individuals-into-the-exploration,-able-to-transform-the-strange-of-any-visual- experiment-we-include-into-the-known,-and-ultimately-able-to-invite-readers-to-explore-the- richness-of-the-stories-lying-behind. Now,$does$this$sound$like$we’ve$heard$it$before?$Yes,$indeed.$We$–$no$matter$what$kind$ of$creators$we$are$–$would$like$nothing$more$than$to$create'something'compelling' and'engaging'enough'for'our'users'/'readers'/'listeners'/'viewers'to'want'to'learn' more,'to'jump'down'the'rabbit'hole,'to'–'indeed'–'”explore'the'richness'of'the' stories'lying'behind”. In$the$case$talked$about$in$the$link,$the$subject$is$a$publication,$which$puts$its$own$ strains$and$demands$on$the$design$of$the$narrative$and$the$complex$visualizations.$ When$I$look$at$the$processes$that$Lupi$describes,$I$see$a$narrative$–$perhaps$Wictional,$ perhaps$factual,$perhaps$something$in$between$–$that$plays$out$over$a$number$of$ platforms.$The$leadHin$can$be$a$short$Snap$on$Snapchat,$or$why$not$a$witty$meme$over$ on$Facebook$or$Reddit,$leading$to$the$exploration$of$everything$beyond,$on$other$
  17. 17. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 17 platforms. What$I$really$like$about$the$work$Accurat$have$done$with$the$dataHvisualizations$ though,$is$something$I$feel$could$be$incorporated$into$other$Wields. If$we$think$of$our$story$on$different$layers,'it'is'logical'that'certain'layers'should' have'different'purposes'and'different'traits'than'others.$Some$are$dependent$on$the$ characteristics$of$the$layers$themselves$–$social$media$layers$are$for$sharing$and$ reaching$many$people,$longHform$video$on$Vimeo$or$YouTube$are$for$telling$a$story$ from$beginning$to$end$in$a$fulWilling$and$hopefully$entertaining$and$immersive$way,$ pictureHbased$media$like$Insta$are$for$conveying$more$of$a$feeling,$an$impression$of$the$ tone$of$the$story$and$storyworld$(and$point$/$lead$to$deeper$stories)$and$so$on. But$what$Accurat$do,$and$what$I$feel$would$be$beneWicial$for$us$as$well,$is$to$create' reading'guides'for'anyone'wanting'to'take'part'of'the'content.$A$handsHon$guide,$ telling$WHY$the$different$parts$are$created$and$HOW$they$are$supposed$to$be$read$and$ understood.$This$very$handsHon$method$would$lead$to$metaHcontent$that$helps$ everyone$involved$understand$how$different$parts$Wit$together$–$and$if$we$do$not$want$ to$break$the$fourth$wall$into$tiny$pieces,$we$can$add$this$guide$as$another$piece$of$our$ story,$if$we$manage$to$craft$it$well$enough.$As$Lupi$states: Every-time-we-aim-at-moving-away-from-mere-quantity-in-order-to-pursue-a-qualitative- transformation-of-raw-statistical-material-into-something-that-will-provide-new- knowledge:-unexpected-parallels,-not-common-correlation-or-secondary-tales,-to-enrich-the- main-story-with. And$that’s$exactly$what$we$need$to$do$as$well.$Read$Lupi’s$post,$it$is$highly$enlightening.$ The$methods$they$have$for$mindmapping$out$correlations$between$different$pieces$of$ content$are$a$direct$parallel$to$how$you$draw$up$a$transmedia$landscape$and$story$ world$for$a$narrative,$while$their$thoughts$and$principles$regarding$visualizations,$ legends,$design$of$different$pieces$and$layers$in$order$to$help$the$user$read$it$all$as$ correctly$and$Wluently$as$possible…$all$of$this$is$highly$beneWicial$to$think$about$for$any$ storyteller.$And$what$it$will$lead$to$–$what$kind$of$new$literacy$possibilities$arise$from$ people$beginning$to$fathom$stories$in$new$ways$–$I$can$only$guess$at.
  18. 18. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 18 The-value-brought-by-stories If$you’ve$read$some$of$my$other$blog$posts$here$on$”Evolving$Media”$you$have$probably$ noticed$that$I'put'quite'a'lot'of'faith'in'the'power'of'good'storytelling.$Read$my$ posts,$and$you’ll$see$that$I’m$quite$convinced$that$a$well$crafted$story,$standing$on$the$ foundation$of$a$thoroughly$thoughtHout$and$WleshedHout$story$world,$Willed$with$ engaging$points,$calls$to$action,$smaller$arcs$within$the$larger$arcs…$that$such'a'story' can'accomplish'almost'anything'you'would'want'it'to'do,$especially$targeted$in$the$ right$way$and$on$the$right$media$platforms$to$reach$a$wellHresearched$target$audience. I$often$Wind,$though,$that$not$everyone$share$my$conviction.$Stories$are$perceived$as$ ”soft”,$generating$soft$values$and$soft$impact.$And$I$agree$–$stories$are$difWicult$to$ compare$to$more$concrete$examples,$like$for$instance$something$like$”we$made$this$ machine$10%$faster,$so$we$were$able$to$raise$the$price$by$15%$and$still$increase$sales$ by$7%!”. Such$Wigures,$percentages$and$subsequent$revenue$are$hard$facts,$with$a$very$ discernible$impact.$Stories$only$move$in$this$direction$when$you’re$able$to$connect$at$ story$to$an$increase$in$sales,$or$an$increase$in$views,$clicks$or$something$other$very$ measurable.$Even$then$there$are$usually$a$lot$of$comments$about$other$variables$and$ factors$playing$a$part,$diminishing$the$importance$of$the$story. But$there$are$examples$where$this$is$amazingly$clear.$Take$for$example$the$”SigniWicant$ Objects”$project$that$started$in$2009.$I’m$guessing$several$of$you$have$read$about$this$ before,$but$for$those$that$haven’t,$the$project$started$out$with$the$intention$of$testing$ how$stories$affect$the$value$of$items.$The$research$team$bought$trinkets$from$thrift$ stores$and$garage$sales$to$the$tune$of$$$128.74.$They$then$paired$these$objects$with$ writers,$who$wrote$Wictional$stories$about$the$items,$giving$them$a$meaning$and$a$place$ in$the$universe.
  19. 19. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 19 The$items$were$then$put$for$sale$on$eBay$accompanied$by$the$newly$–created$ background$stories.$The$result?$The'trinkets'–'original'worth'$128.74'–'sold'for'a' combined'sum'of'$3,612.51. Now,$we$can$object$that$using$eBay$gives$us$access$to$many$more$buyers,$thereby$ raising$the$prices.$And$perhaps$the$notion$that$people$were$participating$in$a$study$ helped$too.$Still$–$an$uptick$of$close$to$2800%?$The$stories$did$indeed$matter. While$the$”SigniWicant$Objects”$project$centered$around$creating$Wictional$stories$about$ the$object$(and$being$quite$open$with$the$WictionHpart$of$it$all),$the$same$applies$to$ factual$stories.$It$doesn’t$matter$if$it’s$a$service,$a$product,$a$project,$or$even$someone’s$ personal$story.$A'well'crafted'story'raises'the'value'of'whatever'the'story'is'about'–' also'if'it'is'a'story'about'you,'your'company'or'your'products. Sit$down$and$think$about$what$it$is$you$want$to$”sell”.$And$by$”selling”$I’m$not$ necessarily$talking$about$actually$handing$someone$something$and$getting$money$in$ return.$Someone$else$can$”buy$into”$how$you$look$at$the$world,$can$exchange$their$ currency$”time”$for$your$product$”my$story”,$can$pay$with$engagement,$with$loyalty,$ with$access$to$their$social$media$circles$through$shares$or$comments…$the$currencies$ and$their$valuations$are$many$and$sometimes$difWicult$to$grasp. Try$your$story$out,$and$tweak$it$to$suit$your$audience$–$no$matter$if$the$audience$is$a$ room$full$of$buyers$from$an$industry,$or$your$own$children,$or$anything$in$between.$Use$ your$stories$to$give$yourself$and$your$products$a$value…$and$in$the$long$run,$use$your$ stories$to$give$your$other$stories,$and$your$entire$story$world,$an$increased$value. Stories$–$use$them$wisely,$to$increase'value'through'quality,'engagement,' immersive'possibilities'and'clarity.
  20. 20. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 20 Making-stories-together Have$you$felt$it?$I’m$thinking$you$have,$but$perhaps$you$haven’t$really$identiWied$it,$or$ put$it$into$context$with$regards$to$what$you$youself$is$working$on.$The$feeling$of$being$ part$of$something$bigger$than$yourself$–$a$community,$a$group,$a$niche,$a$gathering,$a$ tribe…$A'”we”'instead'of'necessarily'a'”me”. We’ve$heard$quite$a$lot$about$how$we$live$in$a$narcissistic$world$where$selWies$and$selfH fullWilment$are$Wlooding$every$content$outlet,$how$”I”$and$”me”$are$the$two$words$most$ meaningful$to$each$and$everyone$of$us,$and$how$we$now$have$more$routes$to$fulWilling$ this$need$of$”celebrating$the$self”$than$ever$before.$This$is$all$still$true,$but$even$thought$ the$Wiercely$individual$strand$is$strong$within$most$of$us,$the'lure'of'the'community'is' becoming'stronger'and'stronger. Venturebeat$had$a$good$article$a$couple$of$days$ago$on$the$matter,$labeling$it$”groupH storytelling”$and$discussing$how$brands$and$companies$should$approach$this$newHish$ turn$in$the$behaviour$of$the$audienceHcustomerHuser.$It’s$a$good$read,$with$some$very$ valid$points$–$chief$being$that$people'will'move'towards'using'social'media'to'link' their'narratives'to'other'narratives,'creating'a'fuller'story'and'a'richer'context' around'any'given'story;$the$”we”$replacing$the$”me”. One$of$the$points$the$article$discusses$is$the$increased$urge$to$collaborate.$People$want$ to$participate,$be$connected$and$feel$an$authentic$connection.$New$callsHtoHaction$ facilitate$mass$collaboration,$which$I$feel$is$a$necessary$evolvement.$What$the$article$ doesn’t$stress$though,$and$what$I$feel$is$even$more$necessary,$is$the$need$to$validate$and$ celebrate$the$people$taking$part,$interacting,$engaging.$Even$if$we$engage$in$a$”we”,$the' ”me”'still'needs'to'feel'appreciated,'unique'and'worthy'of'attention.$These$ mechanics$need$to$be$integrated$into$every$project$from$the$beginning$as$well,$so$they$ feel$like$a$natural$extension$of$the$rest$of$the$narrative,$and$not$like$a$clumsy$late$ addition. Another$point$talks$about$the$dynamics$of$groupHstorytelling,$stating$that$”the$best$ stories$have$no$beginning$or$end$and$instead$continue$to$get$better$over$time”.$While$I$
  21. 21. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 21 don’t$necessary$agree$100%$–$there$are$stories$that$are$simply$perfect$while$contained$ in$a$certain$form,$quickly$risking$dilution$if$expanded$upon$–$there$is$a$lot$of$truth$to$ this$point.$We$all$need$to$stop$thinking$of$the$newspaper$ad$or$the$30$second$spot$on$TV$ or$the$banner$or$the$blog$post$or$the$Facebook$update$or$just$about$anything$as$a$ separate$entity.$It’s$a$chapter$in$a$book,$precluded$by$other$chapters$and$followed$by$ even$more.$It’s$a$great$big$chooseHyourHownHadventure$spanning$over$many$different$ media.$It’s$a$mirror$of$real$life,$but$contained$in$a$story$world,$framed$by$a$narrative$and$ explorable$by$anyone. Let’s$celebrate$the$”we”,$without$losing$the$”me”.$Together$they$will$be$unstoppable.
  22. 22. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 22 Be-the-salient-story So,$I$hold$a$position$as$a$developer$and$strategist$at$a$university.$This$means$I’m$in$ touch$with$a$lot$of$research$and$academic$studies,$articles$and$papers,$and$also$that$I$ conduct$research$and$publish$stuff$myself$from$time$to$time. Now,$in$one$of$the$projects$I’m$working$on$at$the$moment$–$and$which$I’m$fairly$excited$ about,$and$should$be$able$to$talk$more$about$in$the$near$future$–$I’ve$been$researching$ the$term$”salient”$and$”saliency”.$The$deWinition$in$the$picture$above$is$the$brief$version.$ What$it’s$basically$about$is$how$important$a$certain$issue$or$a$certain$thing$is$to$our$ own$interests,$how$urgent$and$how$interesting$it$is.$If'it’s'more'salient'to'us,'we'feel'it' is'more'important'and'we'pay'more'attention'to'it. It’s$a$term$used$in$a$lot$of$different$Wields.$For$instance,$political$parties$are$trying$to$ ”own”$issues$that$they$feel$are$salient$to$the$voters.$I’ve$been$more$and$more$inclined$to$ take$it$into$my$own$box$of$tools$that$I$use$when$developing$and$producing$projects$ based$around$different$kinds$of$storytelling.$The'more'salient'I'can'make'my'content,' the'more'people'I'can'reach'and'engage;'without'coaxing'them'or'luring'them,' simply'because'they'feel'it'is'in'their'interest'to'do'so. There$are$three$key$issues$we$need$to$keep$in$mind$when$thinking$about$creating$ salient$work: 1. We'need'to'know'what'is'important'to'our'audience.$This$means$that$we$ need$to$know$very$clearly$and$very$adequatly$who$our$audience$actually$is,$what$ their$habits$are,$what$their$needs$and$and$what$matters$to$them.$There$is$no$ other$way$of$knowing$this$except$to$do$research$–$and$to$do$proper$research$on$ the$right$people,$we$need$to$deWine$who$these$people$are.$No$more$”this$is$for$ everyone”;$<ind'the'right'niche(s)'to'target.
  23. 23. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 23 2. We$need$to$build$the$content$and$the$strategy$around$the$content$in'a'matter' that'stays'logically'connected'to'past'pieces'of'salient'content,'as'well'as' future'pieces.$Think$of$the$saliency$of$a$subject$or$an$issue$as$a$river$–$it’s$new$ water$Wloating$by$every$second,$but$the$river$stays$the$same.$And$for$someone$ depending$on$the$river$for$food,$transportation$or$water,$the$saliency$of$the$river$ remains$the$same. 3. We'need'to'be'extremely'<lexible'–'<luid'–'in'our'approach'to'content'and' the'audience.$What$is$salient$today$can$have$changed$by$tomorrow,$depending$ on$any$number$of$external$factors.$And$there$are$levels$of$saliency$that$needs$to$ be$taken$into$consideration.$Almost$everyone$feels$a$need$to$be$happy,$to$be$ content,$to$be$successful$etc$–$but$these$are$vague$salient$factors,$and$need$ honing$and$narrowing$down$for$anyone$to$be$able$to$act$on$them.$The$better$you$ can$narrow$down,$the$better$you$can$create$stories$and$content$that$build$on$that$ saliency.$And$with$all$the$tools$available$today$for$research,$social$media$ monitoring$etc,$there’s$nothing$stopping$anyone$of$us$from$keeping$our$ears$to$ the$ground$24/7.
  24. 24. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 24 The-age-of-the-storyteller I$think$we$can$all$agree$that$these$are$challenging$times$for$storytellers.$Times$ brimming$with$opportunity$for$sure,$but$also$pretty$challenging.$As$we’ve$discussed$in$ previous$posts$over$the$past$years,$there$are$a$lot$of$things$to$take$into$consideration$ and$a$lot$of$crossroads$where$choosing$the$right$path$–$or$paths,$even$–$is$crucial. It$could$be$worse$though.$I$read$an$article$the$other$day$where$insurance$companies$ lamented$their$lack$of$success$when$is$comes$to$getting$the$18H35y$old$interested$in$life$ insurance,$home$insurance,$car$insurance…$there’s$a$noticeable$and$undeniable$change$ in$all$sorts$of$patterns$of$behavior. In$the$article,$the$shift$is$indentiWied$as$being$the$effect$of$a$number$of$causes: ”$Young$people$simply$don’t$have$the$disposable$income$that$they$had$in$the$past,$ thanks$to$a$wicked$combination$of$debt,$poor$job$opportunities$and$expensive$housing.$ Moreover,$the$sharing$economy$has$taught$many$that$just$as$you$don’t$need$to$own$the$ DVD$of$the$Wilm$you$want$to$watch,$you$don’t$need$your$own$car$to$get$around.” Access'is'de<initely'becoming'the'new'ownership,$as$Brian$Chesky$of$Airbnb$put$it$ back$in$2011$already.$It’s$no$longer$only$about$owning$things,$about$showing$off$your$ new$whateverHitHisHthatHyouHwouldHwantHtoHshowHoff…$it’s'about'experiences,'about' things'that'you'carry'with'you,'in'your'memories,$and$not$keep$around$and$worry$ about. There’s$also$the$question$of$the$Winancial$situation$of$today’s$younger$generations,$ where$study$after$study$shows$that$young$people$will$be$poorer$than$their$parents$at$ every$stage$of$their$lives.$Today’s$young$people$have$lived$through$the$bust$of$2008,$ more$noticeable$in$some$places$than$others$for$sure,$but$they’ve$also$struggled$on$the$ job$market,$on$the$housing$market,$just$about$everywhere. Why$do$I$talk$about$these$issues?$Well,$simply$because$of$what$was$stated$a$couple$of$ paragraphs$up.$We’re$looking$at$generations$of$people$NOT$looking$to$own$a$new$car$or$
  25. 25. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 25 a$fancy$apartment$–$if$from$convenience$or$Winancial$possibilities$or$something$else$–$ but$instead$looking'to'have'experiences'to'enrich'their'lives.$As$storytellers,$that’s' exactly'what'we'should'be'providing'them'with$–$access$to$experiences$on$different$ scales,$with$different$demands,$different$possibilities$to$dive$in$and$engage,$different$ communities,$different$niches….$And$not$tied$down$to$material$things. I$feel$there$is$a$slight$shift$needed$in$mentality$on$our$–$or$at$least$my$–$part,$where$I$can$ think$of$the$content$and$the$stories$I$create$as$being$the'equivalent,'experience:wise,' of'buying'a'new'car$or$something$else.$An$experience$can$be$as$profound$and$as$ rewarding…$and$in$fact,$even$more$rewarding,$as$it'can'–'and'should'–'be'expanded,' built'upon'and'engaging'in'the'long'term'in'a'way'few'physical,'static'objects'can. Is$the$age$of$the$storyteller$here?$It$very$well$might$be.
  26. 26. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 26 The-age-of-stories I’d$like$to$take$a$moment$to$follow$up$on$my$last$post.$In$”The$Age$of$the$Storyteller”$we$ talked$about$the$current$trends$of$no$longer$focusing$on$ownership$–$no$matter$what$ kind$of$ownership$we’re$talking$about$–$and$instead$being$more$interested$in$access$to$ the$things$previous$generations$were$interested$in$owning.$We’re$moving$on,$from$a$ focus$on$things$to$a$focus$on$experiences,$for$good$and$for$bad.$What$I$described$in$that$ post,$was$what$I$saw$as$a$clear$opportunity$for$storytellers;$as$”softer”$values$become$ more$important,$our$craft$–$that$of$telling$stories$and$conveying$experiences$–$becomes$ more$valuable. But$what$about$that$craft,$and$what$about$those$stories?$Look$at$anything$today,$from$ marketing$to$media,$from$travel$agencies$to$heavy$industries,$everyone$seems$to$have$ received$the$same$brief.$”Tell$your$stories!$Your$stories$make$you$unique!”.$ Everywhere'around'us'everyone'is,'or'would'want'to'be,'telling'stories. And$that$is$what$everyone$does…$with$mixed$success. Can$every$story$be$told?$Absolutely.$Is$every$story$worth$telling?$Absolutely'not. The$simple$truth$is$that$there$is$not$an$audience$for$every$story$that$someone$would$ want$to$tell.$It$might$be$due$to$a$lot$of$circumstances$–$reach$and$distribution,$wrongly$ targeted$marketing…$but$most$often$it’s$about$the$story$itself,$and$it$simply$not$being$ good$enough,$entertaining$enough$or$simply$right$enough$for$the$targeted$audience. What$can$we$do,$in$this$age$of$stories,$to$make$our$stories$succeed? For$me,$it'all'starts'with'a'clear'vision$of'whom'we’d'want'to'reach.$Ideally$we$also$ know$as$much$as$there$is$to$know$about$these$people$–$future$customers,$future$ viewers,$future$readers,$future$collaborators…$or$whatever$they$might$be. We$also$need$to$be$even$surer$about$what'we’d'like'the'outcome'to'be,$as$our$target$
  27. 27. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 27 audience$takes$part$of$our$story. We$need$to$make$sure$we’re$not$telling$stories$for$the$sake$of$telling$stories.$We'must' only'tell'the'stories'that'support'the'two'criteria'above$–$reaching$the$right$ audience$with$the$desired$outcome$–$100%.$No$other$stories$need$to$be$told,$as$they$ only$serve$to$confuse$and$distract,$us$as$well$as$them. We'have'to'test'these'stories'out$before$we$launch$them,$and$not$on$our$own$families$ if$we$can$help$it.$We$must$not$say$that$something$is$”good$enough”$–$it$must$be$spot$on. We$must$use$our$stories$to$show'our'audience'a'clear'route'forward,$supported$by$ clear$calls$to$action$and$even$clearer,$tangible$rewards$for$the$engaged$audience. We$need$to$be$vigilant,$prepared'to'act'and'react$based$on$uptake$and$feedback$–$we$ need$to$live$with$our$story,$for$as$long$as$we’ve$planned$for$it$to$engage$an$audience. Finally,$we$have$to$avail$ourselves$of$all'the'research'possibilities'available'to'us' when'it'comes'to'analyzing'results'of'our'storytelling'efforts.$This$knowledge$is$ something$we$take$with$us$to$the$next$venture.$Nothing$beats$experience$–$as$long$as$we$ know$how$to$take$advantage$of$what$we’ve$learned. If$we$can$do$all$this…$we$might$be$looking$at$an$Age$of$Wonders,$as$well$as$an$Age$of$ Stories.
  28. 28. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 28 Five-focus-areas-for-successful-multiplatform- storytelling SUSTAINABILITY We$won’t$be$creating$a$documentary,$or$a$series,$or$a$Wilm$when$we’re$working$ multiplatform$–$we’ll$be$creating$an$experience$that$will$stretch$further$than$most$ traditional$narratives$can$hope$for.$This,$in$turn,$means$more$complexity$to$the$project$ and$a$lot$more$work.$The$upside$is$that$we$can$arrive$at$a$longHterm$engagement,$a$ longHtail$experience$previously$neighHon$impossible.$But$like$anything$that$is$intended$ to$live$on$for$a$long$stretch$of$time$our'story'needs'a'sustainable'base. One'part'of'this'sustainability'includes'audience'engagement.$We$need$to$plan$for$a$ continuous$engagement$that$does$not$end…$when$the$audience$has$watched$the$Wilm,$ what$will$that$make$them$want$to$do?$What$calls$to$action$spur$them$on,$where$do$they$ go$from$there?$When$they’ve$done$that,$what$then?$And$when$they’ve$done$that,$what$ happens$then$–$and$why? Another'part'is'the'story'itself'–'will'it'hold'up'over'time?$What$installments$can$we$ create$in$the$future$–$or$create$now,$for$the$future?$How$can$we$keep$the$solid$ foundation$of$the$story$world$intact?$What$impact$will$new$content$–$content$that$is$ sure$to$arise$in$one$form$or$another,$given$that$the$initial$project$is$a$success$(hopefully)$ –$have$on$the$overall$narrative? In$my$world,$sustainability'also'includes'the'<inancial'side.$I$am$very$fond$of$projects$ that$have$logical,$well$thoughtHout$and$compelling$plans$for$achieving$a$healthy$return$ on$investment$–$if$it’s$about$working$with$sponsors,$or$well$working$product$placement$ –$in$creative$ways$of$course$–$or$crowdfunding,$or$buyHin$options,$shares$or$the$likes…$
  29. 29. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 29 whatever$it’s$about,$in$my$mind,$if$you$can$show$that$you$not$only$can$craft$at$good$ immersive$story,$but$you$can$also$make$a$proWit$doing$so$–$then$you’ll$have$a$much$ easier$time$with$your$next$project,$or$with$the$continuation$of$the$current$one. FLUIDITY Fluidity$is$the$art$of$moving$with$the$Wlow$of$the$story.$I’m$from$a$traditional$media$ background$and$I$know$the$comforting$security$of$working$against$a$deadline$and$ having$a$set$launch$date$or$a$broadcast$spot,$and$then$you’re$Winished$with$your$ program$or$your$show$and$it’s$broadcast$and$then$you$move$on$to$the$next$thing.$It’s$ very$reassuring,$very$stable$and$very$nice. Now$I$believe$we$need$to$be$more$Wluid$regarding$our$content$and$our$approach$to$our$ audience.$We$know$what$we$want$to$create,$but$if$we$know$our$audience$and$who$we$ want$to$reach$and$affect$with$our$content$and$our$stories,$we'need'to'keep'alive'the' possibility'to'react'to'things'that'are'happening'around'us.$This$is$where$ transmedia$storytelling$methods$come$in$handy. See$–$if$we’ve$applied$transmedia$storytelling$methods$to$our$project$from$the$ beginning,$we$have$done$some$things.$We$have • described$the$world$our$story$exists$in,$the$world$that$makes$up$the$foundation$ of$the$story$we’re$trying$to$tell$in$our$documentary$for$instance.$We$know$the$ rules$of$this$world,$the$characters$(also$the$ones$not$appearing$in$our$main$piece$ of$content),$their$motivations,$the$environment$–$all$the$things$that$are$not$told$ in$the$documentary • We$have$drawn$up$some$plans$about$other$stories,$parallel$to$the$main$one$in$the$ documentary,$that$can$be$told$from$other$parts$of$the$world$we’re$describing;$ perhaps$on$other$media$platforms,$perhaps$in$other$ways • we$have$also$analyzed$our$main$target$group$and$know$some$things$about$what$ platforms$they’re$on$–$are$they$predominantly$NetWlixing$content$or$do$they$ watch$broadcast$TV$as$well?$Can$we$reach$them$on$social$media,$and$how$in$that$ case?$What$are$their$interests$and$their$motivations?$What$engages$them? All'of'this'allows'us'to'be'more'<luid'and'more'able'to'respond'to'movement' among'our'target'groups.$If$someone$takes$part$of$what$we’re$talking$about,$cuts$it$out$ from$context,$puts$it$together$with$other$sentiments$and$starts$an$eager$discussion$ about$that,$we$can$use$one$of$the$other$story$lines$we’ve$been$thinking$about$to$tell$ another$facet$of$the$same$issue,$reclaiming$the$narrative$and$guide$the$discussion$in$a$ desired$direction. VALIDATION Validation$is$as$important$as$any$of$the$other$principles.$I$know$that$I’ve$wanted$to$
  30. 30. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 30 produce$my$content,$publish$it$–$on$TV,$online$or$whereHever$–$and$be$done$with$it.$ Yeah,$sure,$I$can$talk$about$it$with$people$and$accept$awards$for$it$an$so$on,$but$on$the$ whole,$when$I’ve$come$up$with$something,$produced$it$and$distributed$it,$I’m$done$with$ it. Not$anymore$though.$If$we$manage$to$create$something$that$engages$people,$and$we’ve$ managed$to$retain$Wluidity$and$authenticity,$and$we’ve$even$managed$to$come$up$with$a$ great$plan$for$interaction$and$engagement,$we’ve$embedded$brilliant$calls$to$action$in$ the$narrative,$and$we’ve$gotten$people$to$actually$commit$themselves…$then$we$need$to$ be$prepared$to$validate$their$engagement. We$need$to$have$strategies$in$place$for$how$to$celebrate$everyone$who$engages$ themselves$in$our$narrative.$Is$it$enough$with$a$Facebook$”like”?$Do$we$need$to$ acknowledge$them$and$then$challenge$them$further$–$if$they$want$to$engage$themselves$ further?$How$do$we$showcase$their$engagement$to$other$people?$And$how$do$we$retain$ our$authenticity$and$Wluidity$throughout$this$process? Our$content$is$moving$to$a$future$when$it$is$becoming$a$long$term$engagement$…$for$ good$and$for$bad. STRUCTURE A$terrible$pain$in$the$ass$when$it$comes$to$creating$multiplatform$narratives,$engaging$ an$audience,$interacting,$and$letting$it$all$play$out$over$time$is$an'overwhelming'need' to'build'structures. One$form$of$structures$we$need$are$timelines$for$everything$–$for$each$and$every$ platform$we$work$on,$for$each$and$every$social$media$we$are$active$on.$We$need$to$ make$them$logically$interact$and$connect.$We$need$to$think$of$people$who$just$dip$in$ and$people$who$are$active$from$the$very$beginning.$We$need$to$see$to$it$that$the$ narrative$arch$works,$even$if$we$come$at$the$project$from$unexpected$angles. But$Wirst$we$need$to$know$what$platforms$we’ll$be$engaging$and$producing$on,$what$ social$media$we$will$look$to$activate,$what$our$possibilities$are$to$actually$interact$with$ an$active$audience$and$what$we$will$do$if$we$don’t$have$these$possibilities.$For$instance,$ can$we$make$our$narrative$selfHsustainable$in$any$way,$and$how? This$all$goes$back$to$the'very'<irst'structure$we$need$to$have$down$in$as$concrete$form$ as$possible$–$the'structure'of'our'story'(or'stories)'and'what'platforms'should'be' utilized'to'bring'them'to'the'audience'(or'bring'the'audience'to'them).$If$we$can$–$ and$we$should$make$sure$we$can$–$these$structures$should$be$based$on$a$thorough$ research$of$our$intended$target$audience,$their$wants,$needs$and$habits. I$can$guarantee$you$one$thing$–$there$will$be$a$LOT$of$postHit$notes$and$white$boards$ with$big$black$letters$that$say$“DON’T$ERASE$THIS”.
  31. 31. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 31 CLEAR'GOALS We'need'clear'goals'in'order'to'be'able'to'quantify'our'success'or'lack'of'success.$ What$do$we$hope$to$achieve?$Do$we$want$5.000$likes$on$your$Facebook$group?$Do$we$ want$10.000$people$to$share$your$video?$Do$we$want$20.000$people$to$come$to$the$ theater?$Do$we$want$a$200%$ROI?$What$softer$values$can$we$measure?$Why$have$we$ chosen$these$metrics$–$what$is$it$that$make$them$reWlect$on$our$project,$unlike$other$ metrics? We'need'to'analyze'which'metrics'matter'for'our'project,'and'what'numbers'are' realistic'or'desirable'for'us.$Also$be$prepared$to$move$these$goal$posts$further$or$ nearer,$depending$on$how$the$project$evolves.$These$goals$are$important$for$us$as$a$ creator$and$producer$to$be$able$to$have$something$to$mirror$the$progress$of$the$project$ against,$in$order$to$be$able$to$adequately$adjust$during$rollHout$and$longHtail,$as$well$as$ take$heed$when$looking$at$upcoming$projects. And$Winally,$take$a$good$look$around$at$your$collaborators…$do$we$all$have$the$same$ goal$within$the$project?$If$not$–$time$to$sit$down$and$have$a$good,$long$talk.
  32. 32. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 32 Dancing-on-the-point-of-a-needle-N-the-art-of- stitching-stories-together Recently$I’ve$been$involved$in$evaluating$and$consulting$on$a$number$of$projects$ touching$on$transmedia$storytelling$as$well$as$virtual$reality$and$generally$striving$to$ explore$new$territories$and$new$ways$of$telling$stories$and$reaching$people. A$discussion$I$had$with$one$of$the$projects$led$to$an$analogy$that$feels$truer$the$more$I$ think$about$it;$it$made$sense$in$the$context$of$that$discussion,$and$it$holds$true$for$other$ projects$as$well.$See,$we’re'a'lot'like'handicraft'artists'ourselves$–$and$in$a$sense,$ even$seamstresses$and$tailors. Anyone$can$sew.$All$you$need$are$the$required$tools$and$materials$–$much$like$a$ storyteller.$If$you$have$a$needle$–$or$a$computer,$a$camera,$a$sound$recorder,$or$even$ just$a$pen$or$a$mouth$–$and$some$thread$–$the$story$you$want$to$tell$–$you$can$begin. Everyone$is$not$necessarily$good$at$sewing,$and$talent$does$come$into$the$picture.$But$ just$as$with$storytelling$–$and$especially$with$regards$to$the$tools$we’re$using$–$one$does$ become$better$with$practice.$We$might$be$looking$to$just$mend$something$while$sewing$ –$that$is,$enhance$a$message$or$add$to$something$already$existing$–$but$more$ challenging$and$more$rewarding$is$to'start'with'a'blank'canvas'and'with'a'picture'of' the'<inished,'beautiful'tapestry'clear'in'our'mind.$That$story$is$the$one$we$want$to$ tell.$Our$craft$and$our$skill$is$to$physically$create$something$that$resembles$and$reWlects$ this$vision$as$closely$as$possibly. We$choose$the$material,$the$colors$and$the$pattern.$We$put$our$needle$to$the$canvas$and$ punch$through,$trying$to$keep$to$our$original$plan$and$pattern$as$closely$as$we$can But$here$we,$as$content$creators$and$storytellers,$start$to$differ$from$the$traditional$ seamstress,$even$on$an$analogyHbasis.$The$seamstress$does$not$have$a$great$big$ audience$standing$behind$her,$especially'not'an'audience'that'have'needles'and' tools'of'their'own'and'look'decidedly'eager'to'have'a'go'at'our'creation'
  33. 33. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 33 themselves. This$is$where$we$need$to$develop$a$new$skill$–$that$of$planning$for$audience$ engagement,$how$we$would$want$them$to$interact,$what$we$will$do$with$said$ interaction.$Do$we$want$to$make$sure$our$new$collaborators$and$coHcreators$follow$our$ original$plan$for$our$creation,$supporting$it$as$closely$as$possible?$Or$are$we$ comfortable$with$letting$them$choose$on$their$own$and$follow$their$own$visions.$And$ are$we$in$that$case$prepared$to$embrace$this$new$creation$with$as$much$fervor$as$we$ did$our$original$one? What$we$need$to$do$–$as$I’ve$mentioned$in$earlier$posts$–$is$to$be$prepared$to$relinquish$ control.$By'letting'the'audience'in'on'our'creation'it'can'become'bigger'and'more' beautiful'than'we'could'have'imagined'ourselves.$It$might$even$be$some$of$our$coH creators$show$up$without$needles$or$thread,$preferring$some$other$kinds$of$tools;$spray$ paint,$glue$and$mosaics,$you$name$it.$And$if$it$enhances$our$creation$–$why$not? Then$again$we$might$want$to$keep$some$control$over$our$creation.$In$that$case$we’d$ need$to$put$aside$a$part$of$our$canvas$and$direct$our$audience$there,$allowing$them$ freedom$within$certain$borders,$while$keeping$it$a$part$of$the$whole$of$the$creation.$This$ does$carry$the$risk$of$trying$to$harness$the$creative$power$of$the$engaged$audience$–$if$ they$do$engage,$and$if$they$do$involve$themselves$creatively,$the$piece$of$canvas$set$ aside$for$them$might$quickly$start$to$feel$too$narrow.$This$could$see$us$facing$coH creators$that$have$put$up$their$own$canvases$and$gone$off$in$their$own$direction. What$we$choose$to$do$and$how$we$choose$to$approach$our$craft$is$up$to$us.$But$what$ reach$and$what$impact$we$can$hope$to$achieve…$that’s$where$we’d$need$to$take$our$ audience,$our$coHcreators$into$account.
  34. 34. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 34 Chasing-the-story Regular$readers$of$this$blog$know$that$I’m$very$much$into$storytelling,$and$almost$as$ much$into$exploring$how$different$media$platforms$can$be$utilized$to$create$projects,$ story$worlds$and$campaigns$where$the$different$parts$build$on$each$other,$offering$a$ total$that$is$greater$than$the$sum$of$its$parts.$Furthermore,$how$can$the$interactive$ nature$of$many$of$these$platforms$be$harnessed$in$the$best$possible$way,$to$achieve$ engagement$and$foster$loyalty?$And$how$do$we$harness$this$engagement$in$the$long$run$ –$how$do$we$grow$our$long$tail$to$be$as$long$as$possible? These$are$questions$and$challenges$that$differ$from$one$project$to$the$next,$from$one$ client$to$the$next,$from$one$target$group$to$the$next$and$from$one$story$to$the$next. For$me$though,$it'all'starts'with'the'story.$What$is$the$story$we$want$to$tell?$What$is$ the$story$world$it$is$founded$in?$What$are$its$siblings$in$the$storyHverse? Having$been$involved$in$quite$a$few$storytelling$ventures,$and$having$over$the$past$few$ years$consulted$or$evaluated$a$fairly$great$number$of$projects$in$the$multiplatform$/$ transmedia$sphere,$this$is$where$a$lot$of$them$go$wrong.$Perhaps$not$totally,$100%$ wrong,$but$wrong'enough'that'it'matters'and'severely'affects'the'end'result. This$goes$for$industry$clients,$who$have$a$difWicult$time$identifying$what$the$real$story$ behind$their$product,$service$or$innovation$is.$It$goes$for$documentary$Wilmmakers,$who$ fail$to$see$what$stories$align$naturally$with$their$original$story$from$the$Wilm.$And$it$goes$ for$many$other$producers$and$creators,$who$fail$in$taking$a$step$back$and$viewing$their$ project$from$a$further$distance,$seeing$the$limitations$of$the$story$they$are$currently$ promoting$and$working$on,$while$another,$adjacent$story,$would$offer$bigger,$better$and$ bolder$opportunities. So,'how'can'we'chase'our'story'more'ef<iciently?$Here$are$three$tools$for$anyone$to$
  35. 35. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 35 use,$that$might$put$you$on$the$right$track$–$the$only$thing$you$need$is$a'willingness'to' challenge'your'story'as'it'stands'today: 1.'Use'an'audience.$You$have$people$around$you,$whether$it$is$colleagues,$partners,$ family,$friends$or$someone$else.$Use$them$as$a$platform$to$get$some$distance$to$the$story$ you’re$trying$to$tell.$Do$like$this:$identify$the$core$issues$in$the$story$you’re$telling.$ Formulate$them$into$a$threeHsentence$description$–$i.e.$“The$countryside$is$slowly$being$ depopulated.$It’s$an$accelerating$movement$and$there’s$not$much$anyone$is$trying$to$do$ about$it.$The$people$living$there$have$almost$given$up.”.$Then$ask$your$audience$what$ questions$or$thoughts$pop$up$in$their$minds.$Mirror$that$against$your$current$narrative$ and$see$how$well$you$address$those$thoughts$or$answer$those$questions,$and$see$if$ there$are$adjacent$stories$to$your$current$narrative$that$would$do$that$better. 2.'Use'the'Internet.$We$have$Winally$got$access$to$the$combined$intelligence,$knowledge$ and$wisdom$of$the$entire$human$race,$from$the$ancient$Greeks$to$the$intellectuals$of$ today.$There$is$absolutely$no$need$not$to$take$advantage$of$this.$In$order$not$to$drown$ in$information$though,$searches$and$hashtags$should$be$carefully$selected;$it$is$worth$it$ to$take$a$day$or$two$to$sift$through$information$related$to$search$terms,$just$to$be$able$ to$Wind$the$ones$that$Wit$your$needs$best. 3.'Use'yourself.$The$most$accessible$way$of$doing$this$is$to$create$a$pitch$for$your$ project.$Write$down$the$elevator$pitch$of$the$story$you’re$writing.$Rehearse$it,$and$pitch$ it$in$front$of$a$camera.$Take$a$break,$have$a$coffee,$and$then$come$back$and$watch$the$ pitch$you$just$made.$If$in$doubt,$have$someone$else$watch$it$and$give$a$verdict.$Your$ approach$should$be$–$would$I$want$to$invest$100k$in$this$person’s$story?$If$not$–$why$ not?$Rinse$and$repeat. There$are$as$many$unique$stories$as$there$are$people$on$this$Earth,$and$probably$quite$a$ few$more$as$well.$There$is$therefore$no$need$to$settle$for$a$story$that$doesn’t$Wit$your$ needs$exactly$–$all$you$need$is$to$chase$it$down,$pin$it$down$and$tell$it!
  36. 36. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 36 Musically-speaking-N-storytelling-on-a- musical-framework Since$we$started$our$own$production$company$last$spring$(feel$free$to$visit$us$here$and$ sign$up$for$the$newsletter$)$we’ve$been$working$on$a$number$of$different$projects,$ ranging$from$creating$marketing'campaigns$to$assisting$with$though'leadership$ projects,$from$TV:series'about'YouTubers$to$GPS:based'storytelling$in$a$cityHsetting. Although$few$of$these$would$satisfy$critical$analysts$as$“true”$transmedia$projects,$I$Wind$ myself$utilising$transmedia$storytelling$and$development$methods$at$many$turns,$ simply$to'get'different'pieces'to'fall'into'place'in'a'logical'and'engaging'fashion.$ Increasingly$I’ve$also$been$looking$at$other$creative$Wields$to$Wind$better$analogies$and$ better$tools$for$creating$and$producing$content,$but$also$to$explain$my$methods,$my$ thinking$and$the$end$result$to$collaborators,$clients$and$partners. One$area$I$have$found$extremely$fruitful$is$that$of$music.$It’s$been$touted$–$back$in$the$ days$–$that$developing$and$producing$a$transmedia$project$is$like$conducting$a$ symphony$orchestra,$where$the$producer$is$the$conductor$and$the$different$ instruments$combine$to$create$a$whole$that$is$greater$than$the$sum$of$its$parts.$While$ this$still$makes$absolute$sense,$there$are$a'lot'of'other'musical'terms'that'have'a' clear'connection'to'multiplatform'and'transmedia'development$and$production$ and$can$be$used$to$jog$ones$creative$nodes$and.$Allow$me$to$exemplify$with$ten$of$them: Beat The-unit-of-musical-rhythm.
  37. 37. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 37 If$there$is$anything$that$is$essential$for$a$well$executed$project$that$spans$different$ media$and$strives$to$foster$engagement,$it’s$the$beat.$Well$planned$and$produced$ content$with$logical,$well$working$calls$to$action$and$a$rewarding$scheme$for$people$ who$engage$in$the$intended$way,$can’t$help$but$attract$the$desired$attention.$The$beat$is$ everything$though;$release$too$soon$and$people$can$be$overwhelmed,$release$too$ infrequent$and$interest$wanes. But$unlike$classical$music,$there$is$one$element$here$that$has$the$possibility$to$act$ different.$Since$the$audience’s$role$is$to$be$engaged$and$active,$they$can$inWluence$the$ beat$as$well.$Stories$are$legio$of$producers$with$a$hit$on$their$hands,$having$engaged$ audience$members$run$through$clues$and$mysteries$in$a$fraction$of$the$time$expected.$ Said$producers$struggle$to$release$new$content$and$new$mysteries$to$keep$up$with$ demand$and$try$to$stay$the$course,$time$wise.$It$might$be$better$to$stay$with$the$ intended$beat,$and$instead$plan$for$the$creation$of$ancillary$content$or$calls$to$action,$ that$deliver$engagement$points$but$do$not$affect$the$general$pacing. Canon- -A-musical-form-where-the-melody-or-tune-is-imitated-by-individual-parts-at-regular- intervals.-The-individual-parts-may-enter-at-different-measures-and-pitches.-The-tune-may- also-be-played-at-different-speeds,-backwards,-or-inverted. With$an$engaging$story$and$well$produced$content,$we’ll$have$many$people$engaging,$ and$not$all$at$the$same$time.$Thinking$in$terms$of$canon,$how$can$we$plan$our$content$ so$that$no$matter$who$jumps$into$the$narrative$(or$starts$from$the$beginning$while$ others$are$already$way$ahead)$their$experience$and$their$voices$add$to$the$harmony$ instead$of$creating$disharmony?$One$way$is$to$foster$and$support$an$active$community,$ which$welcomes$and$integrates$new$members,$helping$them$up$to$speed$as$necessary.$ Another$way$is$to$offer$easy$ways$to$grasp$the$narrative$so$far,$with$added$points$for$ further$involvement$as$necessary. Clef In-sheet-music,-a-symbol-at-the-beginning-of-the-staff-deKining-the-pitch-of-the-notes-found- in-that-particular-staff. Most$people$approach$your$content$with$some$preHconceived$notions$of$what$kind$of$ experience$they$should$be$having.$This$is$good,$as$long$as$those$notions$are$not$the$ completely$wrong$ones.$While$it$sometimes$might$pay$off$to$create$something$that$ offers$the$audience$a$shock$treatment$by$deceiving$them$at$the$beginning$of$their$ experience,$then$revealing$the$true$nature$of$the$content,$this$is$most$of$the$time$not$ something$worth$creating.$Hoaxing$has$a$tendency$to$backWire.$So$for$most$project,$a$ clear$indication$prior$to$experiencing$it,$of$what$it$is$and$how$it$is$intended$to$be$
  38. 38. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 38 experienced,$can’t$but$help$the$overall$impression$of$the$project. Conductor One-who-directs-a-group-of-performers.-The-conductor-indicates-the-tempo,-phrasing,- dynamics,-and-style-by-gestures-and-facial-expressions. While$the$conductor$could$be$considered$to$be$you,$the$producer,$the$conductor$could$ also$be$an$inserted$model$participant,$helping$and$guiding$the$audience$along.$At$times$ you$want$to$set$the$participating$audience$free,$give$them$the$control$over$the$narrative.$ Many$times,$though,$it$is$advisable$to$at$least$have$a$point$of$reference,$some$sort$of$ guidance,$to$help$the$story$and$the$experience$along$in$the$intended$manner$–$or$as$a$ tool$to$help$navigate$unknown$waters,$should$the$overall$project$derail$due$to$an$overly$ engaged$audience. Encore/ A-piece-of-music-played-at-the-end-of-a-recital-responding-to-the-audiences-enthusiastic- reaction-to-the-performance,-shown-by-continuous-applause. The$long$tail$is$a$known$Wigure$of$speech$and$a$known$way$to$engage$the$audience$(and$ new$audiences)$in$the$long$run.$But$the$same$goes$for$the$experience$itself;$when$the$ appreciating$audience$demands$more,$will$you$have$anything$for$them?$Can$you$at$least$ lay$out$some$rudimentary$plans$for$how$to$evolve$and$prolong$the$experience;$plans$ that$make$this$prolonged$experience$feel$logical$and$natural,$and$not$as$something$that$ has$been$hastened$along$“due$to$popular$demand”? $ Fermata/ To-hold-a-tone-or-rest-held-beyond-the-written-value-at-the-discretion-of-the-performer. How$much$are$you$willing$to$let$your$performers$–$i.e.$your$audience$–$inWluence$what’s$ going$on?$Ideally,$they$will$take$your$project$and$the$overall$experience$to$heart$fully,$ encompass$your$intentions$for$it$and$build$upon$it$in$a$way$that$will$purely$add$to$the$ total$of$the$experience$for$everyone.$But$opening$up$for$total$freedom$will$also$mean$ you$run$the$risk$of$being$the$target$of$deliberate$troll$attacks,$and$perhaps$even$more$ malicious$ones$than$trolls.$Now,$this$can$be$approached$as$merely$a$Wlattery$–$they$care$ enough$to$troll$you$–$or$as$a$nuisance.$One$way$to$address$this$is$to$create$the$so$called$ “sand$boxes”,$i.e.$parts$of$the$narrative$where$creativity$and$engagement$are$ encouraged$and$the$limitations$are$few$or$nonHexistent.$Within$these$sand$boxes,$your$ performers$can$sing$their$hearts$out$or$do$whatever$other$creative$thing$they’d$like.
  39. 39. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 39 Harmony- Pleasing-combination-of-two-or-three-tones-played-together-in-the-background-while-a- melody-is-being-played.-Harmony-also-refers-to-the-study-of-chord-progressions. There$are$few$things$more$challenging$in$storytelling$or$in$content$production$than$ trying$to$get$the$narrative,$the$experience,$to$fully$gel$between$different$platforms.$All$ platforms$should$support$each$other,$every$platform$added$to$the$experience$should$ enhance$it…$but$at$the$same$time,$simply$experiencing$ONE$platform$should$be$enough$ to$get$a$fulWilling$experience.$The$harmony$can$be$achieved$by$experience,$gut$feeling,$ knowledge$and$extensive$testing$on$the$target$audience. $ Interlude- Piece-of-instrumental-music-played-between-scenes-in-a-play-or-opera. What$is$your$interlude?$What$can$your$audience$experience$in$the$spaces$between$your$ installments?$How$are$the$interludes$shaped,$can$they$offer$your$audience$a$chance$to$ create$something$themselves$or$interact$with$either$characters,$other$audience$ members$or$someone$else?$How$do$they$begin$and$more$importantly$how$do$they$end$–$ how$do$they$build$in$a$logical$and$engaging$way$towards$the$next$installment$of$your$ content? Polyphony- Combining-a-number-of-individual-but-harmonising-melodies.-Also-known-as-counterpoint. What$you$do$NOT$want$is$cacophony;$that$jarring$experience$of$a$multitude$of$pieces$ that$do$not$Wit$together$at$all.$Instead,$while$designing$and$producing,$try$to$identify$ which$parts$of$content$could$Wit$together$in$ways$your$audience$might$not$expect.$It$ could$be$the$narrative$of$a$side$character$that$starts$somewhere$off$grid,$before$anyone$ even$knows$it$is$a$side$character,$but$that$is$engaging$and$interesting$in$its$own$ways.$It$ could$be$User$Generated$Content,$contributions$from$fans$or$viewers,$that$offer$a$totally$ different$view$point$(and$based$in$Real$Life)$but$still$with$a$clear$connection$to$the$ original$narrative.$Key$is$–$they$should$all$Wit$together. $ Scordatura- The-retuning-of-a-stringed-instrument-in-order-to-play-notes-below-the-ordinary-range-of- the-instrument-or-to-produce-an-usual-tone-color.
  40. 40. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 40 How$creative$can$you$get?$How$can$you$use$platforms$and$techniques$in$new$ways$that$ will$give$your$audiences$unexpected$experiences?$Can$Periscope$be$used$to$tell$a$long$ form$novel$in$“me”$form?$Can$YouTube$be$used$merely$to$create$a$soundscape$for$the$ overall$experience?$The$sky’s$the$limit$–$retune$your$palette$and$your$tool$box$as$ necessary$(and$if$it$sounds$like$crap,$no$worries;$just$tune$it$back$and$say$“oops!”)
  41. 41. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 41 The-power-of-true-stories I$recently$read$an$interesting$article$on$storytelling$by$Jonathan$Gottschall.$I’ve$been$for$ a$long$time$–$like$Gottschall,$apparently$–$quite$fascinated$by$the$power$a$wellHcrafted$ and$wellHtold$story$can$have,$in$almost$any$sort$of$circumstances.$In$my$line$of$work$–$ creating,$developing$and$producing$everything$from$TV$shows$to$corporate$storytelling$ ventures$to$storyHdriven$apps$–$storytelling$is$an$essential$part.$I’ve$observed$the$same$ things$that$Gotschall$mentions$in$his$article;$the$Wlocking$of$companies$to$stories$as$a$ means$to$get$their$message$delivered$to$the$intended$target$groups$with$the$intended$ effect. What$I’ve$also$noticed,$though,$is$a$sometimes'very'apparent'lack'of'knowledge'and' understanding$about$how$a$story$actually$works.$As$I$see$it$there$are$three$important$ steps$to$delivering$a$story$experience$and$being$able$to$expect$a$positive$end$result. First,'we'need'to'know'what'we'want'to'achieve.$As$with$many$buzzwords$and$ popular$terms,$there$are$people$who$simply$want$a$story$created$around$their$product$ or$service$or$brand$or$key$characters$because$that’s$what$everyone$else$is$doing.$Or,$ alternatively,$they$have$a$clear$notion$of$why$this$is$important,$but$the$end$goal$is$still$ blurry,$simply$because$they$haven’t$thought$through$the$full$journey$of$the$story$and$of$ the$people$taking$part$of$the$story. Have-a-very-clear-goal-in-mind-–-where-do-you-want-the-people-who-take-part-of-your-story- to-end-up? Second,'we'need'to'know'what'to'do'when'we’ve'reached'our'goal.$The$people$who$ have$ended$up$where$you$wanted$them$to$end$up,$having$taken$part$of$your$story,$what$ do$you$want$them$to$do$then?$How$do$you$follow$up$in$a$natural$and$logical$way,$and$ what$will$you$be$aiming$for$then?$And$how$do$you$integrate$a$reward$system$into$all$of$ this,$making$the$people$who$engage$feel$appreciated$and$valued? Plan-for-all-the-steps-ahead,-and-don’t-underestimate-an-engaged-audience-–-do-it-right,-
  42. 42. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 42 and-they-will-be-more-eager-than-you-could-ever-hope-–-or-wish-–-for. Third,'we'need'to'be'clear'on'how'we'achieve'the'goals'we'set'up.$Whatever$story$ we$decide$on$telling,$with$whatever$goal$set$up$and$whatever$desired$interactions$by$ the$people$taking$part$of$it,$we$need$to$make$sure$we’re$authentic,$honest$and$true$to$ the$core$of$what$we’re$offering$people.$If$we$con$them,$if$we’re$less$than$honest,$if$we’re$ in$contradiction$with$other$parts$of$our$being$or$our$narrative,$there$will$be$no$long$tail,$ no$matter$how$much$people$engage$with$us$and$our$stories$initially.
  43. 43. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 43 THE-MEDIA-INDUSTRY
  44. 44. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 44 Blowing-up-silos-N-the-evolution-of-media-is- just-beginning I’ve$been$fortunate$enough$to$be$in$a$position$where$I$get$called$in$every$now$and$then$ to$help$different$productions,$creators,$companies,$producers$and$other$stakeholders$in$ their$development$work.$The$stuff$I$work$on$ranges$from$corporate$storytelling$via$ academia$to$pure$entertainment$content,$on$all$possible$platforms$(though$rarely$all$at$ the$same$time$or$in$the$context$of$the$same$project). What$I$Wind$deeply$satisfying$is$the'change'in'perception'I’m'witnessing,$all$over$the$ board.$People$are$much'more'willing'to'accept'the'need'to'move'<luently'over' platforms;'in'fact,'even'ignoring'the'platforms'altogether,$with$the$exception$of$the$ possible$physical$limitations$they$put$on$the$creation$process. It'is'the'content,'the'story,'the'message'that'matters.$More$so,$it$is$how'it'resonates' back$from$the$recipients$that$matter.$Even$more$so,$it$is$how$we$as$creators,$as$ stakeholders,$answer'to'that'message'in'turn$that$matters.$We'live'in'a'fully' resonant'world,$and$it’s$up$to$us$to$make$sure$that$what$we$and$everyone$else$is$ hearing$is$harmonies,$not$dissonant$noise. I$still$Wind$it$a$challenge$to$break$down$the$siloHed$thinking$in$many$organizations,$ broadcasters$not$the$least.$Nowadays$though,$the$old$silos$have$cracked$and$are$ beginning$to$crumble,$but$beyond$them$a$number$of$new$ones$crown$the$horizon.$ Before,$it$was$impossible$to$make$tech$talk$to$content,$to$make$marketing$understand$ research,$and$you$needed$a$translator$or$Wive$to$make$the$web$people$understand$and$ be$understood$by$the$producers$and$the$editors. Nowadays$these$silos$are$merging;$the$content$people$know$a$lot$more$about$tech,$the$ tech$people$know$a$lot$more$about$the$importance$of$compelling$and$engaging$content,$ and$the$marketing$people$have$grasped$quite$a$lot$of$all$of$these.$The$silos$nowadays$ are$within$the$different$areas;$there$are$a$myriad$of$possible$collaborations,$coH production,$coHexistense$and$partnerships,$among$the$different$series$on,$say,$a$TV$ channel,$or$among$the$marketing$messages$from$a$big$corporation.$As$of$yet,$very'few' people'in'these'organizations'see'these'possibilities,'and'even'fewer'want,'or'can,' act'on'them. We$have$the$tools.$We$have$the$technology.$We$have$the$knowledge,$but$we’re$still$too$ stuck$in$our$old$ways.$I$have$high$hopes$though.$The'evolution'of'media'is'not' stopping'here.
  45. 45. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 45 Solid-economics-in-a-Kluid-content-world Following$up$on$my$last$post,$the$post$on$using$layered$storytelling$as$a$way$of$coping$ with$reaching$and$engaging$people$in$today’s$world,$I$promised$some$brief$thoughts$on$ one$of$the$things$we’re$all$concerned$about$–$money.$How$do$we$get$a$credible$revenue$ stream$from$our$stories?$When$we$have$connected$and$engaged$with$the$audience,$how' do'we'turn'that'engagement'into'funding;$funding$that$will$help$us$make$more$of$ what$we’ve$already$made$and$give$us$something$to$point$to$when$we$want$to$enthuse$ future$partners$and$Winanciers$about$new$ideas$and$new$ventures. Of$all$the$success$metrics$we$can$play$with$–$views$on$video$platforms$of$different$kinds,$ comments$or$likes$or$favourites$or$replies$on$social$media,$prizes$and$awards$from$ select$bodies$of$more$ore$less$expertHy$experts$–$of'all'of'these,'revenue'and'ROI'are' the'ones'least'possible'to'argue'with. There$is$also$no$better$way$to$calm$possible$sponsors,$brands$and$investors$than$by$ showing$previous$proWitable$ventures$combined$with$sound$strategies$for$achieving$ similar$results$this$time$around.$But$what$is$it$we$need$to$do? First,$it$has$to$be$acknowledged$that$this$”what”$depends$highly$on$your$project.$A$ documentary$producer$will$have$less$avenues$to$revenue$than,$say,$someone$producing$ sportsHrelated$content,$entertainment$related$content$or$something$similar.$But$right$ now$we’re$seeing$a$lot$of$interesting$developments$that$we$need$to$pay$heed$to. First,$and$this$is$based$on$the$layered$principles$in$the$previous$posts,$thinking$of$our$ stories$and$our$content$as'existing'on'different'layers'with'different'traits'and' different'purposes$will$help$us$notice$possibilities$for$revenue. If$one$layer$is$the$”notiWication”$layer$(since$there$are$a$great$number$of$people$reading$ nothing$but$notiWications$anymore,$leading$to$news$sites$appointing$teams$of$journalists$ with$the$sole$mission$of$writing$stories$as$notiWications)$we$have$a$layer$where$we' catch'the'initial'interest'of'our'audience.$The$task$of$the$layer$is$to$grab$hold$of$their$ interest,$their$imagination$and$point$them$to$what$we$want$them$to$do$next.$The$ headline$writers$are$the$star$writers$of$tomorrow$–$no$matter$if$we$encounter$these$
  46. 46. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 46 notiWications$on$social$media,$on$messaging$apps$or$anywhere$else. Another$layer,$the$interactive$layer,$can$consist$of$stories$and$content$on$personal$ messaging$apps$–$as$more$and$more$stories$and$more$and$more$content$will$come$to$ play$out$on$WhatsApp,$Kik,$Snapchat$and$so$on.$All$of$these$are$–$in$and$of$themselves$–$ extremely$interested$in$anything$that$can$make$them$make$more$money,$and$new$ possibilities$to,$for$instance,$pay$with$micropayments$and$peerHtoHpeer$transactions$ from$inside$these$messaging$apps$(for$content,$for$merchandize,$for$extra$whatHhaveH you)$will$come$to$the$fore$this$year$–$and$this'is'something'we,'when'we'create' stories,'need'to'be'on'top'of. A$third$layer,$a$Wlash$layer,$can$be$the$one$that$tells$parts$of$our$stories$through$live$ streaming$video$platforms$like$Periscope,$live,$direct$and$uninterrupted$–$offering$us$ the$possibility$to$authentically'connect'to'real:life'events,'real:life'brands'and'real: life'overall.$And$so$we$can$go$on$building$layers,$as$our$stories$and$story$archs$dictate,$ always$keeping$the$story$world$and$our$overarching$goals$in$mind. Secondly,$with$our$stories,$we$can$offer$brands$what$they$crave$the$most$–$engaging$ content,$as$opposed$to$content$that$interrupts.$In$a$research$paper$from$Reuters$54%'of' digital'executives'stated'that'”increasing'the'levels'of'engagement”'was'going'to' be'their'top'priority'in'2016.$I$don’t$think$we,$as$content$creators$and$storytellers,$ should$have$this$any$lower$on$our$list$of$priorities. With$our$stories,$we$can$pan$out$the$story$lines$and$the$divergent$stories$of$our$story$ world$on$any$number$of$platforms,$leaving$everything$from$vague$trails$of$bread$ crumbs$that$point$to$attached$brands,$to$clear$routes$to$purchases$of$merchandise$or$to$ possibilities$for$the$audience$to$join$in$crowd$funding$ventures;$all$according$to$the$best$ needs$of$our$stories$and$our$strategies. Thirdly$and$Winally$–$what$you$need$for$there$to$be$any$possibility$for$success$with$these$ strategies$are$great$stories,$engaging$narratives,$logical$connections$between$different$ parts$and$different$stories…$and$preferably$some$other$things$as$well.$I$touched$on$this$ in$a$previous$post$a$couple$of$weeks$ago,$when$talking$about$the$formula$for$building$a$ community.$The$same$formula$is,$of$course,$applicable$for$stories$and$content$as$well.
  47. 47. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 47 The-corporate-angle-N-storytelling-for- business I$will$confess.$I$like$money.$More$speciWically,$I$like$sound$return$on$investment.$Not$so$ much$for$the$money$itself,$but$for$what$it$signiWies.$In$a$world$of$commercial$interests$ and$globalized$business,$a$world$where$metrics$matter$to$a$lot$of$people,$ROI'is'one'of' the'most'indisputable'metrics'around. As$I’ve$professed$many$a$time$on$this$blog,'I'strongly'believe'in'softer'metrics'as' well.$Interest,$long$term$engagement,$loyalty$–$all$of$these$are$extremely$important$and$ crucial$for$the$success$of$just$about$anything$you$would$want$to$create$that$has$ something$to$do$with$storytelling.$But$it’s$when$these$values$convert$into$ROI$that$they$ become$easier$to$talk$about,$to$pitch,$to$convince$future$collaborators$and$Winanciers$to$ get$involved. In$one$of$my$capacities,$I$work$with$global$companies,$hoping$to$help$them$improve$ their$outreach$and$their$business$through$that$which$I$know$best$–$storytelling. When$we$talk$about$B2C$–$businessHtoHconsumer$–$this$is,$well,$not$easy,$but$still$fairly$ straightforward.$The$company$has$a$target$group$in$mind,$they$have$a$product$or$a$ service$to$sell,$they$need$to$pique$the$interest$and$foster$the$engagement$of$the$end$
  48. 48. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 48 consumer$and$they$need$to$convert$this$interest$into$a$Winal$sale.$This$is$not$rocket$ science,$this$is$down$to$experience,$creativity$and$craftsmanship,$and$the$results$can$be$ seen$all$around$you$in$moreHorHless$well$executed$campaigns. But$then$we$arrive$at$the$B2B$–$businessHtoHbusiness$–$relationships,$and$the$playing$ Wield$changes.$More$for$certain$industries,$less$for$others,$but$the$Wields$are$decidedly$ different.$The$inroad$to$sales$are$different,$the$decision$process$vastly$different,$the$ culture,$the$settings,$the$procedures$and$legalities…$all$very$much$different.$And$so,$I’ve$ asked$myself;$is$it$feasible$to$apply$similar$storytelling$methods$to$a$B2B$setting$as$it$is$ to$a$B2C? In$a$sense,$deWinitely,$as$research$has$shown.$A$study$from$Switzerland$in$2014,$for$ instance,$focused$on$the$wood$industry$and$a$comparison$of$a$traditional$pitch$vs$a$ storytelling$pitch$built$with$visualizations.$The$results$were$clear: ”[…]$storytelling$and$knowledge$visualization$in$combination$demonstrate$to$causally$ increase$key$measure$for$companies$in$B2B$environment.$Their$combination$increases$ customer$involvement,$several$attitude$measures$and$Winally$also$results$in$a$higher$ purchase$intention.” Now,$if$I$can$do$something$that$will$increase$every$positive$measurement$point$as$well$ as$increase$the$likelihood$of$the$people$I’m$talking$to$actually$buying$what$I’m$trying$to$ sell$them,$I$will$do$this.$And$in$this$case,$this$”something”$is$storytelling. Then,$of$course,$we$come$to$the$”how”$of$the$matter.$What$kind$of$stories,$how$should$ they$be$told,$do$we$need$callsHtoHaction$or$something$else…$there$are$a$great$number$of$ challenges.$As$the$researchers$above$concluded: ”Our$experience$shows$that$details$count$very$much.$OversimpliWication,$decreased$ credibility$and$lower$trustworthiness$may$result.$[…]$It$is$also$advisable$to$not$only$use$ storytelling$but$also$include$visual$metaphors.$The$entire$presentation$must$make$sense$ to$the$listeners$and$also$engage$them.$FairyHtale$style$stories$are$not$at$all$suitable.” And$all$of$this$comes$down$to$knowing$whom'your'creating'your'story'for,'what' their'needs'and'beliefs'and'habits'are,'and'what'you'would'like'for'them'to'do$as$ an$outcome$of$you$telling$them$your$story. Finally,$I$Wirmly$believe$that$the$”soft$practice”$of$storytelling$will$have$an$important$role$ to$play$in$B2B$relations$and$sales$in$the$future.$At$the$end$of$the$day,$when$the$board$of$ directors$or$the$aquisition$ofWicers$sit$in$the$Winal$meeting$with$the$Excel$sheet$of$ possible$services$or$products$in$front$of$them,$the$stories$you’ve$told$them$about$your$ product,$your$services$and$your$experts$could$be$the$crucial$ones,$tipping$the$scales$in$ your$favor.$If$you’ve$done$them$right,$that$is…
  49. 49. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 49 Where-does-virtual-reality-Kit? Lately$virtual$reality$has$been$the$buzzword$to$throw$around$whenever$any$kind$of$ content$discussion$has$taken$place.$There’s$no$denying$it’s$an$interesting$development$ in$the$content$business,$nor$is$there$any$denying$there$is$a$fair$amount$of$funding$and$ some$pretty$big$movers$and$shakers$involved$in$creating$the$tech$and$the$content$that$ should$make$VR$shine. I’ve$consulted$on$the$storyHangle$of$a$couple$of$VR$projects$and$I’ve$made$sure$I’ve$been$ keeping$tabs$on$different$interesting$projects$in$the$Wield$–$both$when$it$comes$to$tech$ and$when$it$comes$to$stories.$But$the$more$I$delve$into$VR$(and$to$be$fair,$I$haven’t$yet$ fully$dismissed$he$notion$that$it$will$all$turn$out$to$be$the$new$3D$TV$hype$or$any$other$ of$the$myriads$of$hypes$that$have$sprung$up$over$the$past$years$and$decades)$the$more$ I’m$inclined$to$agree$with$Mike$Monello$who$commented$on$VR$that: “A$lot$of$money$and$talent$are$Wlooding$into$the$VR$space,$hoping$to$crack$the$nut$of$VR$ storytelling.$VR$is$incredible$for$so$many$experiences,$but$linear$storytelling$doesn’t$ seem$to$be$one$of$them.$I’m$not$being$a$crotchety$old$man$here$—$over$the$last$25$years$ I’ve$collected$numerous$VR$headsets$and$gear.$A$VR$language$will$emerge,$and$it$will$be$ exciting,$but$it$won’t$be$centered$around$storytelling. I$believe$the'real'strength'of'VR'will'lie'in'providing'experiences,'not'stories'per' say.$Yes,$the$experiences$will$contain$stories,$but$not$in$the$way$the$entertainment$ industry,$say,$would$recognize$them$as. I$can$see$a$VR$project$where$we$follow$someone$canoeing$up$the$Amazonas,$in$real$ time….$Although$we$can$pause$it$anytime$we$want,$and$return$to$it$anytime$we$want.$I$ can$see$–$as$soon$as$live$streaming$speed$and$tech$is$up$to$scratch$–$us$watching$a$ boxing$game$or$a$football$game,$while$sitting$next$to$a$famous$boxer$or$footballer$who$ talk$to$us$throughout$the$game$about$interesting$aspects$of$the$match$or$game.$I$think$ VR$will$be$just$that$–$virtual$reality,$not$virtual$blockbuster$movie$or$virtual$tv$series$–$ and$I$think$we$need$to$approach$the$possibilities$from$that$angle.” Note:-There-are-naturally-a-host-of-other-spaces,-apart-from-storytelling-and-content- production,-where-VR-will-play-important-roles,-from-allowing-judges-and-lawyers-to- better-experience-a-crime-scene,-to-allowing-doctors-to-examine-conditions-more- thoroughly,-all-the-way-to-using-VR-as-pain-relief.-This-post-though-only-addresses-content.
  50. 50. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 50 Marketing-and-the-unending-complexity Over$the$past$few$years$I’ve$helped$produce$a$fair$share$of$marketing.$It’s$not$something$ I’m$ashamed$of,$far$from$it.$In$a$sense$they’ve$been$opportunities$to$utilize$storytelling$ and,$yes,$transmedia$storytelling$methods$for$the$most$logical$of$reasons;$trying$to$ entice$an$audience$to$commit$to$a$buy.$In$many$cases$the$”buy”$has$been,$admittedly,$ less$about$an$actual$purchase$and$more$about$”buying$into”$the$values$of$a$brand$or$the$ experiences$offered$by$another.$What$is$utterly$clear$is$that$stories,$and$how$you$tell$ them,$matter. In$a$post$on$”25$needHtoHknow$marketing$stats”,$published$by$Contently$the$other$day,$ they$state$the$fairly$obvious$–$the$world$of$marketing$is$changing,$and$it’s$changing$ rapidly.$But$some$of$the$stats$in$the$post$point$to$undercurrents$of$a$fundamentally$ changing$relationship$with$the$audience: Stat'one$–$”In$2016,$digital$video$ad$spend$will$exceed$TV$ad$spend$for$the$Wirst$time”. This$feels$like$a$pretty$identiWiable$tipping$point.$Now,$the$TV$ad$business$is$still$ massive.$But$the$stat$above$only$means$that$the$online$video$ad$business$is$even$more$ massive.$If$anyone$reading$this$is$doing$anything$pointing$towards$online$and$video$and$ ads,$you$need$to$–$assuming$you$haven’t$already$–$read$up$and$watch$up$on$a$lot$of$ stories$around$producing$for$digital$and$online.$This$Fast$Company$article$on$Buzzfeed$ is$a$pretty$good$place$to$start$…$since$you$will$have$to$reboot$your$preferred$modus$ operandi$from$the$ground$up.$We$all$know$the$30$second$spot$doesn’t$have$the$same$ impact$is$has$had$–$unless$you$can$shape$it$into$a$part$of$something$bigger$which$leads$ to$better$results,$and$in$such$a$context$online$is$almost$always$a$crucial$part. Audience$engagement$strategies,$strategies$for$social$media$impact,$all$of$these$are$ obvious$yet$hard$to$do$right.$But$for$traditional$video$producers,$simply$the$change$to$a$ totally$other$pace$and$a$totally$other$way$of$looking$at$content$is$a$big$step.
  51. 51. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 51 Stat'two$–$”Adblocking$grew$by$41%$year$over$year$in$the$past$12$months.” Some$organizations$and$content$producers$have$decided$to$block$access$to$their$content$ from$anyone$using$an$adblocker.$And$while$it’s$easy$to$disable$the$adblocker$for$a$site,$ I’ve$lately$found$myself$go$”nah,$I$didn’t$need$to$read$that$article$anyway”$and$switched$ to$other$content$instead. This$struggle$–$adblockers$on$one$side,$companies$relying$on$income$from$ads$on$the$ other$side$–$means$that$we$need$to$be$more$creative$regarding$how$we$present$ads.$We$ could$have$a$preHroll$compilation$of$ads,$guaranteeing$one$week$of$access$to$all$content$ if$we$just$watch$them.$We$could$have$brands$featured$on$a$much$deeper$level$–$ naturally$without$trying$to$”trick”$or$”deceive”$someone.$Or$we$could$try$to$Wind$value$in$ other$things$–$in$an$answer$to$a$brief$survey$question,$in$a$”hot$or$not”$judgement$call$ on$two$or$more$of$the$sponsors$products$or$services,$and$so$on.$Key$to$all$of$this$will$be$ storytelling$–$how$do$we$present$these$solutions,$whatever$they$may$be,$to$the$ audience? In$campaigns$I’m$working$on$at$the$moment$the$longevity$of$the$stories$are$more$and$ more$in$focus,$as$are$them$being$a$part$of$a$greater$narrative$instead$of$oneHoff$ad$spots.$ This$increases$the$chances$of$the$audience$coming$upon$one$part$of$the$narrative$or$ another,$and$following$the$trail$of$breadcrumbs$experiencing$other$parts$as$well. Stat'three$–$”DataHdriven$marketing$led$to$revenue$increases$for$57%$of$marketers”. Data$is$very$good.$Accurate$data$inWluencing$decisions$is$even$better.$But$in$the$end$it$all$ boils$down$to$what$great$storytellers$have$known$–$and$done$–$throughout$the$ages$–$ you$need$to$really,$really$KNOW$YOUR$AUDIENCE.$This,$again,$feels$like$such$an$obvious$ fact$to$state,$but$another$stat$in$the$article$pointed$out$that$many$marketers$have$never$ performed$quality$tests$of$their$data$–$many$didn’t$even$know$if$they$had$done$it.$Take$ care$of$your$data$and$it$will$take$care$of$you.$The$Buzzfeed$article$linked$above$also$tells$ of$how$they$approach$data$–$as$an$integral$part$of$development,$production$and$ distribution. Stat'four$–$”Only$12%$of$marketers$believe$they$have$”highHperformance”$content$ marketing$engines.” So,$there$is$an$obvious$need$for$engaging$stories$and$campaigns$for$brands.$What$does$ this$mean?$This$means$great$opportunities$for$anyone$in$the$cross$sections$of$ storytelling,$tech,$audience$research,$video$producer$and$so$on.$My$advice$is$–$learn$as$ much$as$you$possible$can.$Apps,$IoT,$VR…$there’s$so$much$you$need$to$know$about.$Not$ know$as$in$mastering$them,$but$know-about,$so$you$know$how$they$could$Wit$whatever$it$ is$you’re$working$on$and$whom$to$turn$to$to$make$them$real.$Then$it’s$a$question$of$ Winding$the$right$collaborators$–$and$my$experience$is$that$if$you$have$a$project$ interesting$and$wellHfounded$(and$wellHfunded)$enough,$Winding$these$should$be$fairly$ easy. Stat'<ive$–$”Marketers$who$blog$are$13$times$more$likely$to$generate$ROI”.
  52. 52. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 52 This$I’ve$seen$on$a$number$of$occasions$–$a$perceived$need$of$a$”thought$leader”$arising$ from$an$organization,$in$order$to$distinguish$themselves$from$competitors,$and$an$ urgent$need$for$the$thought$leader$to$have$something$to$say.$This$usually$starts$out$as$ factHWilled$texts$or$videos$with$fairly$low$impact,$leading$to$an$even$more$urgent$need$of$ compelling$and$engaging$stories$to$tell,$that$still$are$informative$and$reputationH enhancing$enough. In$order$to$be$able$to$combine$the$two$–$the$facts$and$Wigures$with$the$story$that$ engages$the$audience’s$imagination$–$means$that$you$need$to$know$the$story$you$want$ to$tell,$intimately,$and$even$more$important,$you$need$to$know$your$own$story.$Who$are$ you$in$this$campaign,$this$project?$Who$are$you$really,$and$how$does$your$reality$align$ with$the$message$you’re$planning$to$tell?$Getting$all$of$this$working$together$smoothly,$ without$friction,$will$make$the$whole$greater$than$the$sum$of$the$parts. Stat'six$–$”TwoHthirds$of$readers$have$felt$deceived$upon$realizing$an$article$or$video$ was$sponsored$by$a$brand”. If$you$want$to$work$with$brands$and$tell$their$messages$to$an$audience,$you$need$to$be$ smarter$than$deceiving$them.$There’s$been$a$lot$of$discussion$regarding$the$“hoaxing”$of$ the$audience,$and$in$general$this$is$a$big$noHno.$No$one$likes$to$feel$duped$or$stupid.$ Conversely,$no$one$minds$if$you’re$being$upfront$and$honest$with$what$you$want$to$ achieve. Integrate$the$sponsors$into$your$creative$process$before$the$development$phase$and$see$ what$works$the$very$best$in$conjunction$with$the$story$you$intend$to$sell$–$while$still$ not$being$at$odds$with$the$values$and$the$message$of$the$brand.$Don’t$deceive$–$unless$ you$can$do$it$in$such$a$original,$funny$or$surprising$way$that$you$can$guarantee$even$the$ most$antiHpeople$will$buy$into$it.
  53. 53. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 53 Only-as-strong-as-your-weakest-link When$developing$stories$and$projects$and$creating$and$producing$content$today,$the$ temptations$are$endless.$Today$we$no$longer$need$to$’only’$write$a$book$or$’only’$create$ a$movie$script,$the'possibilities'are'manifold'and'the'possible'rewards'huge. On$this$blog$I’ve$been$promoting$the$principles$and$methods$of$–$well,$call$it$ transmedia,$cross$media,$multiplatform,$what$have$you$–$over$the$past$few$years.$Back$ in$the$day,$2012$or$H13$or$so,$I$wrote$that$I$couldn’t$wait$for$the$time$to$arrive$when$we$ no$longer$needed$any$of$those$terms,$as$everything$created$and$produced$and$ distributed$already$had$all$the$transmedia$angles$and$multiplatform$stories$needed,$as$a$ natural$part$of$the$setup$from$the$outset.$No$need$to$defend$the$spreading$out$of$a$story$ arch$over$different$media,$no$need$ot$justify$the$extra$costs$of$applying$social$mediaH based$Wiction$for$engagement$and$outreach…'Everyone'involved'would'know'why' different'media'were'utilized'and'how'to'do'it'in'the'best'possible'way. Utopia?$Indeed.$But$while$we$haven’t$yet$arrived$fully,$there$are$still$many$encouraging$ signs.$The'audience'has'–'as'audiences'are'wont'to'do'–'not'cared'one'iota'about' the'plights'of'the'creators,$instead$merrily$moved$into$the$spaces$most$rewarding$and$ suitable$for$them,$leaving$content$producers$and$creators$to$catch$up$as$best$they$can. Creators$all$over$the$world$are$Winding$the$new$possibilities$less$and$less$daunting$and$ more$and$more$exciting$with$each$passing$day.$Looking$at$the$success$of$projects$all$ around$them,$they$take$inspiration$and$best$practices$from$any$number$of$areas,$ applying$them$in$innovative$ways$to$their$own$creations. Even$brands$and$organizations$are$slowly$but$surely$picking$up$pace,$which$will$lead$to$ a$lot$of$headacheHinducing$mistakes,$but$also,$ultimately,$to$new$ways$of$telling$stories,$ engaging$people,$harnessing$engagement$and$providing$longHlasting,$rewarding$
  54. 54. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 54 experiences. There$is$one$point$where$I$feel$the$need$to$stress$caution$though,$especially$looking$at$a$ number$of$projects$I’ve$been$involved$in$in$one$capacity$or$another.$Don’t'overreach.$A$ chain$is$only$as$strong$as$its$weakest$link,$and$a$multiplatform$story$arch$is$only$as$ strong$as$its$weakest$story$or$platform. You’ve$created$your$experience$as$one$where$consuming$the$content$on$one$platform$is$ enjoyable,$but$consuming$the$content$–$as$intended$–$over$all$platforms,$building$on$ each$other$or$complementing$each$other$or$merely$adding$to$the$common$story$world$ will$give$the$full,$immersive$experience$you’re$aiming$for.$But$this,$in$turn,$means$that$ you$have$to$put$100%$effort$into$each$and$every$one$of$these$platforms$and$stories,$into$ their$content,$their$strategies$of$reaching$people,$their$calls$to$action,$their$reward$ structures$for$interacting$audiences… Too$often$do$I$see$people$who$pour$all$their$energy$into$their$Wilm,$their$series,$their$ documentary$or$their$book,$while$adding$on$social$media$or$vlogs$or$graphic$novels$as$ an$afterthought.$Yes,$in$their$plans$and$in$their$outlines$these$are$all$as$important$part$ of$the$full$experience$as$anything$else,$but$their$heart,$as$creators$and$producers,$are$set$ on$certain$parts$of$the$output$more$than$others.$I’ll$stress$that$I$think$this$all$is$fully$ understandable$–$it’s$all$about$our$backgrounds,$our$experiences$and$what$we$feel$the$ most$strongly$about. What'we'should'feel'most'strongly'about,'though,'is'making'sure'we'reach'and' engage'our'audience.$That$should$be$our$priority,$guided$by$thorough$research$and$ sound$strategies.$If$we$can$manage$this,$the$platforms$we$feel$most$strongly$for$will$also$ see$a$bigger$uptake.$It’s$a$winHwinHwin$situation$all$around. What$I’ve$found$is$helpful$is$taking$a$step$back$quite$often$under$the$development$ process,$bringing$in$some$fresh$eyes$if$possible,$even$”playtesting”$the$story$archs$and$ the$bridges$in$the$narrative$on$paper,$to$analyze$the$different$parts.$Are$they$of$equal$ worth,$experienceHwise$(taking$into$account$the$traits$of$the$different$platforms)?$Are$ their$callsHtoHaction$equally$enticing?$Are$they$logically$connected,$or$do$we$risk$losing$ people$in$transition?$Are$the$rewards$for$engaging$equally$fulWilling? Finally$–$don’t'be'afraid'to'drop'parts'of'your'project.$There$is$no$need$to$have$ Wictional$Facebook$characters$for$your$project$if$they$don’t$add$positively$to$the$ experience.$There’s$no$need$to$create$a$graphic$novel$just$to$create$a$graphic$novel.$The$ weakest$story$in$your$project$might$not,$on$closer$inspection,$have$to$be$there$at$all.
  55. 55. One Year in Now Media Vol VI 55 The-creative-society There$are$trends$in$today’s$world,$and$there$are$things$that$could$be$better$described$as$ megaHtrends.$One$of$them$is$–$building$on$things$I’ve$discussed$in$posts$on$this$blog$ over$the$past$few$weeks,$months$and$years$–$the'notion'of'a'creative'society. Everywhere$we$look,$creativity$is$lauded,$creativity$is$longed$for,$creativity$is$heralded$ as$thatHwhichHwillHpullHusHallHupHfromHtheHdoldrumsHandHusherHusHintoHUtopia.$At$the$ same$time,$a$whole$generation$–$and$a$lot$of$other$people$as$well$–$are$familiarizing$ themselves$with$the$multitude$of$tools,$methods,$principles$and$best$practices$that$can$ help$them$discover$their$own$creativity$and$develop$it$into$something$worth$pursuing.$ And$at$the$same$time,$technological$and$sociological$innovations$allow$these$people$to$ reach$out,$reach$other$people,$Wind$an$audience$and$engage$with$them$in$ways$and$on$a$ scale$previously$impossible. Creativity-is-the-act-of-turning-new-and-imaginative-ideas-into-reality.-Creativity-is- characterised-by-the-ability-to-perceive-the-world-in-new-ways,-to-Kind-hidden-patterns,-to- make-connections-between-seemingly-unrelated-phenomena,-and-to-generate-solutions.- Creativity-involves-two-processes:-thinking,-then-producing.-If-you-have-ideas,-but-don’t-act- on-them,-you-are-imaginative-but-not- creative.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------–-Creativity$At$Work As$always,$my$angle$on$this$is$from$the$point$of$a$storyteller,$writer,$producer$and$ content$creator.$As$we$discussed$earlier,$harnessing$the$audience’s$inert$creativity$and$ their$inert$desire$to$engage,$interact$and$create$in$connection$to$content$that$they$ connect$to$and$care$about,$is$imperative$today.$If'you'do'not'engage'your'audience,' co:create'with'them'and'validate'their'interactions,'someone'else'will. This$is,$of$course,$assuming$that$you$as$a$creator$is$interested$in$longHterm$engagement,$ a$loyal$–$if$sometimes$headstrong$and$critical$–$following,$a$giveHandHtake$relationship$ with$an$audience$that$derives$entertainment,$information$and/or$pleasure$from$your$

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