Technology like art is a soaring exercise of the human imagination.
"Our imagination always outpaces our technology. The gap between the two is the distance the creative spark must jump in order to ignite our forward momentum" — Dr Jason Ohler, digital humanist
For you or anyone who is remotely interested in stories, be it listening to them or sharing them, Ohler's statement will resonate through the head like a parallel voice. And to say that it is an undeniable fact in today's day and age, with evolving technology, would be, to put it mildly. Having said that, it brings us to look at a very fundamental aspect which is - how to tell stories using technology? And would it be in general be a better way with more stories to tell, cutting across demographic issues? Most definitely, yes.
The art of digital storytelling is an exceptional one. It is the lens through which we see others and the world around us. Just like any other piece and/or medium of art, it grows on you. Going back in time, one would imagine the storyteller rounding up people around a bonfire, under the open skies and starting his narrative. The storyteller, however, has now come of age.
The modern-day storyteller is not one but all of us with one or multiple social media accounts; sharing our life and our story in the form of pictures, videos or even texts. It will however not be wrong to say that, the advent of new digital technologies i.e. social platforms understood the significance of storytelling and lay this power in the hands of all of us. Stories are pieces picked from our lives that showcase our identity which includes parts about family, friends, general chatter and maybe stuff about the far end of the world.
But, it’s time to appreciate a slight difference between the stories that we share and carving a perfect story. It’s imperative for you to understand that storytelling is a perfect union of art and science. A good storyteller knows that it is an art to make the story relatable, distil the complexity, and strike a balance between information and accuracy. He also understands the science behind how a human brain perceives a story because every part of the story strikes a chord with our brain in a different way. It involves a gamut of things and is like putting our whole brain to work. Our brains cells are wired in a way that listening to stories can activate different parts of our brains better.
According to most scientists, the left and right halves of the brain are responsible for different forms of reasoning. The left side is associated with logical, analytical and objective functions. Whereas, the right-side controls creative functions which are more intuitive, emotional, thoughtful, and subjective. During the act of storytelling, it’s important to build a viewer’s belief and a level of conviction in the story while giving them the big picture and moving them from Right Brain which is an emotional hook story mostly “problem to solution story” to the Left Brain where you back it up with a model/system and a “how to strategy” which gives the exact steps on how to resolve their problem and then lastly, moving them to the right brain again where you end on this new place of pleasure which is comforting to the listener. The trick to understand here is, a human being only hooks on to those stories where you take them away from pain into a place of pleasure.
Now, it's possible to break from the 'conventional' and go 'hi-tech' as it's more engaging but in this blog, we will stick to the basics to tell you that the end objective of every story that's out there in the world, is to touch one's soul. That is the main reason why emotion and engaging the right side of the brain is the strongest carrier in any story. While resting the case, we want to ensure that we are here to see your story has a heart. While we are not the ones to discount the fantastic skillset that a great writer has, all we want to achieve is to soothe your audience’s eyes and ears, along with their mind.
This is a big, big world but we're here to help you see through the chaos and make a peaceful yarn of digital stories. I would like to put my pen to rest by saying that when you hear the skies rumble; it might make you skip a heartbeat. Writing about it, maybe not so much.
Quoting Ohler again could be a nice way to sum up what we aim to achieve—
"Telling weak stories with technology is like giving a bad guitar player a bigger amplifier.”