Storytelling is an ever-evolving practice and major advances in technology have often had a profound impact on it. Guttenberg’s printing press eventually led to the birth of the novel.
Today’s global billion dollar movie industry is a direct descendant of Lumiere’s first moving image camera.
The computer age has already given us the internet, the videogames industry which is now a bigger money-spinner than Hollywood and the cloud.
We now live in a time where old and new media are converging or rather twisting, squirming and wrestling in and out of each other’s forms like two awkward dancers – the grey old grandfather who has a steadfast, tried and tested set of moves and steps and his young granddaughter with her new agility and a thousand daring, challenging moves – yet they are both dancing to the same storytelling song.
[note color=”#ffffd6″]When we navigate the web we jump freely from link to link in a non-linear fashion; we digress and explore and create our own unique path through the subject material. This illustrates the need for new narrative structures that shape story experiences for delivery via non-linear online technologies.[/note]
We need to radically rethink traditional linear narrative structures but this should not be seen as some form of ruthless ‘revolution’ – it is more ‘evolution’ – and is not the digital death knell sounding for books, theatre, film and television. Whatever the new storytelling creature looks like, it will exist alongside the others and each will learn and absorb aspects from one another.
At present we only have our toes dipped into a vast and exciting new storytelling ocean and we should be diving head first into its depths with delight and unbound creativity rather than recoiling because of old hang-ups and an unnecessary fear of the future.