Storyteller Secrets

How Stories Grab Visibility

It was estimated that 12 million viewers watched Super Bowl LIII from home; if you add the restaurants, bars, and clubs who also tuned-in the total number of viewers was closer to 112.7 million people (according to the Nielsen report).  The commercial spot cost $175,000 dollars per second, or $5.25 Million dollars for 30 seconds.  What did these companies get for their money?  Visibility, Attention, and Connections.

First, Visibility.  There are 28 million businesses online and more being developed every day, but they are also competing with daily news, entertainment sites, social media and more.  If your site is camouflaged with the wrong message than you are invisible.

Second, Attention. The one thing all businesses have in common is to attract people to their site.  The average clocked time when viewing a site for the first time is 3-8 seconds.  If you can’t capture the viewer in this time segment you’ve lost a sale.

Rolin
Madonna of Chancellor Rolin 1434:                           Wikimedia Creative Commons

 

 

Third, Connections.  All the commercials in Super Bowl LIII made connections not only with the game but also the winner-The Patriots.  This type of connection is important, and has been done since ancient times.  In both the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods, rich patrons paid big money to commission well known artists to paint their likeness into a religious painting.  For example, the patron, Chancellor Rolin, is seen kneeling before the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus.  Putting him in the same picture with the Virgin and Child was a 14th Century branding spot.  It elevated his prestige among the people, his place in the nobility, and his place in Heaven.

Most businesses online could not even imagine having the funds to produce a 30-second Super Bowl commercial spot; however, everyone has a story to tell.  A story that makes the emotional connection can produce an action; if you have the right story to tell.  The key is to connect the emotions of the viewer to the product or service as a solution.

Flickr_-_cyclonebill_-_Spejlæg
Wikipedia: Creative Commons

Back in the 1980’s, there was a PSA on addressing the subject of drug addiction.  In 15 seconds the viewer would see an egg fried on a hot skillet.  The narrator had only 14 words: “Okay, last time. This is drugs.  This is your brain on drugs.  Any Questions?”   A quick storyline like this has three immediate points:  Attention, Arousal, and Action.  The commercial has had several parodies over the years, but the message is still clear.

I have written about the chemical changes that occur in the human brain when a story is told. It doesn’t matter whether the story is told by a person or an animation; the results are the same if emotions are triggered.  (See: The Perfect Story)

In March, I will be hosting a free Webinar to teach how to develop digital storytelling.  I will not be selling any books, CD’s, or material.  There will be time for questions.  If you are interested send a request for more information and to reserve your place.  Hope you will be able to join us online.

Peter.Rome@Mail.com

 

Storyteller Secrets

Digital Storytelling-P3

Sand-Watch-Detail-89483

The rules for digital stories have changed.  Story themes that go viral have created a new set of rules.  But the first rule that still applies--is your story compelling?  The six elements that work together to make this happen are: the message, content, visual images, color, action and timing.

Timing is more than the length of the story, it also represents viewer’s attention.  This is one reason I keep my daily blogs down to 500 words, that is about 2-minutes of reading  time out loud.  My blog competes with thousands of other blogs for not just your attention–but your time.

Digital stories have more elements to combine than regular storytelling, so the timing is very important in both presentation and delivery.  I cannot emphasize enough that a digital story should be created and developed on a storyboard—yesterday’s lesson.  A storyboard helps to craft and develop how the six elements bring continuity and appeal to attract visitors to your site.

Remember, that it is the message not the story you are really trying to deliver.  If this is a strategic story then the message has a call to action for a response step.  It all begins with your script.  Scripts are generally written in font 12 and double spaced.  Depending on the script, one page formatted in this matter could be equal to one-minute or more.

An actor can be a narrator’s voice, an actual person, an animated character, or even an object.  The story will have a certain pace to emphasize points towards your message.  Back in the 1980’s, John Moschitta, made several commercials for different companies.  He was known as the fastest speaker on record.  Here is an example of a 1980, 30-second commercial he made.

The fast pace kept the viewer’s attention because it motivated the listener to pay attention to the words.  Had John spoke at a normal speed this probably would have been a one-minute commercial.  The hook was John’s pace and lack of pauses, it forced the listener’s attention and was quite successful.

When to release your story is another timing issue.  If your digital story is for brand marketing or sales then Thursday’s and Sundays are the best days to reach customers surfing on the Net.  If your story pertains to a current event then releasing the story as soon as possible will be important.  Adding twitter hash marks will help . During the day, the best times for release are between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on the West Coast.  These times will vary across the world depending on highest commuter traffic.

Rehearsal is probably the last important key to timing.  I enjoy the character Data, an android character, on the Star Trek Next Generation series.  In this clip, Data is trying out his joke to Guinan (played by Woopie Goldberg).  What this clip will illustrate is that you can have quality material, but if timing is off, you lose reliability.  In humor that’s the punch line.  In Digital Storytelling that’s your message.

Storyteller Secrets

Digital Storytelling-P1

A_Story-teller_reciting_from_the_"Arabian_Nights."_(1911)_-_TIMEA

For thousands of years, storytellers passed down their stories orally.  Around 8,000 years ago, the first story was recorded on a clay tablet called a cuneiform.  That story was called, “The Epic of Gilgamesh.”  Oral tradition was the preferred method of telling stories until the 15th Century when the printing press was invented.   Today, the magic of digital technology has created a whole new reality in storytelling–digital storytelling.

fire

Digital Storytelling can combine: pictures, video, multimedia, audio, hypertext, 2D & 3D animation, music, sound effects, text, and narrations into an interactive and engaging format that can motivate and increase learning across the board.  In addition, the four learning styles: auditory, visual, reading, and kinesthetic are in full force in the majority of good digital stories.

So, what is Digital Storytelling?  Jerome Gratigny did a fine job of telling exactly what it is.

But at its core is still the message.  The rest of the digital storytelling elements are metaphors that keep supporting the message.  Therefore, the music must become a metaphor for the message, the colors, animation, images, dialog, whatever you are using becomes a metaphor  for the message.

Now, because of the wide array of digital elements available the old method of ‘writing it up’ needs to evolve.  It is best to use a storyboard.  So, what is a storyboard?

calvin 7+3=73

A comic strip is a good example of a storyboard.  This is a four-panel storyboard from beginning to end reading left to right.  Every time I mention storyboard a hand goes up followed by, “I can’t draw!”  In truth, you don’t have to know how to draw.  You must just understand a storyboard is no more than a map showing where you start and finish.  We will go over in more detail tomorrow about how to put a storyboard together.

The next element is timing.  How long should your story be?  That depends on your message.  The commercials in Super bowl 2018 will cost over $5 million dollars for a 30-second ad.  Take a look at these 2017 Super Bowl ads, which cost only $166,667 dollars per second.  Can you identify the message?

When telling a story all you need is a little creativity and imagination.  When putting a digital story together you must think outside the box.  Don’t just think of still images anymore.  Think of images that actually move.

face4     pcofjejcjjec1i1kza4o

There are thousands of ways to add digital media.  It is not about how much, but more what you need in order to move the story and the message forward.  The big difference between the 1951 and 2008 remake of, “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” was the 1951 had a message; whereas, the 2008 decided to concentrate on CGI and SFX.  That is why the 2008 remake movie bombed.  People go to the movies to be entertained with a story and to come out with a message.

A computer hooked up the Internet is a magic wand for you to deliver your message.  But it can also be Pandora’s box.   Tomorrow, we will explore the story-board.

NaaM