The Evolution of Storytelling: A Christmas Carol


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A presentation analyzing the evolution of storytelling using the infamous A Christmas Carol as the primary example. This presentation was developed in order to fulfill my requirements for the Digital Storytelling course at Full Sail University as part of my Internet Marketing degree. The original presentation is set to christmas carols and is animated in order to increase immersion in the story being told. If you would like to receive an original copy of this presentation that includes the music and animations, please send me a message indicating so and Ill email the file. Enjoy!

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  • The Evolution of Storytelling: A Christmas Carol

    1. 1. A Christmas Carol The Evolution: From Print To Digital
    2. 2. The Original Story
    3. 3. Preface I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it. Their faithful Friend and Servant, Charles Dickens December, 1843.
    4. 4. Story Line Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserly old man who believes that Christmas is just an excuse for people to miss work and for idle people to expect handouts. He doesn't believe in all of the good cheer and charity that the season promotes, and he makes sure everyone knows it. That night, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business associate, Jacob Marley -- a man who was as greedy and cold as Scrooge is. Marley warns Scrooge that if he continues to live so selfishly, he will spend eternity wearing the chains that his greed has built. Three ghosts visit Scrooge successively: the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. They show Scrooge his error in valuing money over people. Scrooge is frightened by the bleak picture of his life and promises to change his ways. Scrooge awakes on Christmas morning a new man. He becomes jolly and charitable, and truly turns into the man he promised the ghosts he would become. He carries the spirit of Christmas with him all the year round. (
    5. 5. Structure The story is written in five “staves,” which is intended to further the musical analogy of the narrative taking the form of a Christmas carol •Stave I: Marley’s Ghost •Stave II: The First of Three Spirits •Stave III: The Second of Three Spirits •Stave IV: The Last of the Spirits •Stave V: The End of It
    6. 6. First Movement Toward Interactive Storytelling • Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843 to expose the plight of the bourgeoisie through a classic tale that emphasized the importance of good will to man • The first story was told by print and was a linear narrative. John Leech was responsible for the illustrations throughout the novel • In December of 1852, Dickens performed his first public reading of the infamous tale at the Birmingham Town Hall • Several readings to the working class followed this initial reading and the live performances instantly became a great success as noted in newspapers at the time • Throughout the years, Dickens adjusted the piece to fit a listening, rather than reading, audience
    7. 7. From Print to Feature Film • A Christmas Carol was widely accepted as the savior of Christmas from a commercialized holiday that was losing its spirit and meaning • The printed version was told by many during public readings and then formatted into a play • It wasn’t until the 20th Century that the popular novel and play was transformed into a full length feature film
    8. 8. Reaching New Audiences • Soon, the world-renowned tale was being converted into various depictions targeting specific demographics • Scrooged (1988) starring Bill Murray was developed as a modern day variation to A Christmas Carol • Diva’s Christmas Carol (2000) starring Vanessa Williams encompasses the same plot of A Christmas Carol but instead portrays a self-centered pop singer to embody Scrooge • The Muppet’s Christmas Carol (1992) and Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) contained popular characters from regular children stories and assigned them to principal roles in Dickens masterpiece
    9. 9. Interactive E-Book • An interactive e-book has been implemented to continue telling Dickens story through the use of transmedia • Included with the interactive e-book is a Christmas mp3 jukebox featuring some freeware holiday tunes. You can also listen to a classic radio broadcast of the novel, which originally aired on December 23, 1938 (
    10. 10. Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009) • Set for release on November 6, 2009, Disney’s A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carrey is sure to propel Dickens masterpiece into the 21th Century with an interactive flair • This digital animation of the Victorian morality tale has fully embraced transmedia storytelling by executing a nationwide train tour leading up to the film’s release date • Visitors have the chance to become part of the story by utilizing digital technology supplied by Hewlett-Packard
    11. 11. Train Tour • HP has supplied digital technology that allows visitors to create avatars of their favorite character. Visitors can take a picture of themselves and combine it with their preferred character’s animation and like magic the visitor has become apart of the feature film. An email of the picture is then sent to the visitor as a keepsake • Video games are present to simulate the five staves giving the visitors the opportunity to rewrite the ending of the story. No longer is the story linear; instead a non-linear version can be developed through the power of interactive digital storytelling • 3D movie clips are available as a way to interact with the audience while giving them a sample of the much anticipated film
    12. 12. Elements Gained Through Digital Storytelling • Interactivity: digital technology has provided directors with the opportunity to involve the audience by bestowing upon them choice and control. i.e. Dickens used to hold public readings to tell his tale in a well rehearsed manner. Now, Disney is using digital storytelling to allow the audience to play virtual games, communicate on forums, purchase merchandise, create avatars and has implemented 3D technology to literally bring the action to the audience • Immersive: although digital technology is not necessary to experience catharsis, these new advancements are giving audiences the chance to fulfill their fantasies and actively escape reality. Audience members are now deeply involved with the story and feel a sense of ownership due to their emotions and time invested in the production. i.e. Dickens, himself, was said to have experienced escaping from reality and subconsciously becoming his characters, however, the audience may not have felt the same way. Today, Disney has offered its audience the chance to virtually become a character in the tale, write about the production on a blog and even control Scrooge’s actions on a video game
    13. 13. Elements Lost Through Digital Storytelling • Original Theme: Dickens meant for his novel to become a catalyst for sparking an awareness of social injustice and poverty issues. Due to digital technology, this important element has been lost. The attention is instead on the virtual effects and new age animation rather than the real theme of the story • Human Element: Dickens was an outstanding orator and could captivate his audience through public readings of his story. Having massive hardware and cyberspace in between the audience and the story creates a wall that could hinder true attachment to the tale. Thus, it is essential for directors of the modern day tale to implement interactive techniques to help immerse the audience once again. Though the human element is gone, replacing it with an avatar for the audience to control
    14. 14. Multicultural Favorite • Tales of immorality always grab human attention and when its combined with spiritual afterlife it is an instant hit • Drama and conflict are essential to a successful story. The internal and external conflicts Scrooge faces are the same that many of us, in various cultures, face everyday. Being able to relate to the drama and conflict allows the audience member a chance to become immersed in the plot • Value and moral correctness are prominent themes throughout this story. People enjoy learning of others that have overcome their demons and the Good prevails Synopsis: Although cultural differences may seem extreme, we are all humans and, therefore, have more in common than we may think. The holiday season, regardless of your religion, tends to blur cultural lines and opens our minds and hearts. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol pulls at our heart strings and reminds us of what it means to be kind.
    15. 15. References %20tour&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv#