Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds The word storytelling is a combination of two words. Story and telling. This means the delivery of a narrative. In other words, it implies the kind of content and how is it conveyed. Most of you have probably had an experience similar to the following. You heard a very interesting story and go off to share it, but the reaction you get is rather indifferent. It is clearly an interesting story, in your opinion, and you are physically somewhere else but sharing it as it is, but you get a totally different reaction than what you expected. This scenario is pretty common. The story is the same, so what explains the different responses? There are two changes that occur in such a situation.
Skip to 1 minute and 12 seconds First off, the audience has changed, where the first audience showed a good response and the second a less than positive one. The second difference is in the telling. My style of conveying a story will differ from that of a famous comedian. So while the story itself seems to be the same, the dissimilar reactions may be due to the narrative style. The audiences and techniques of storytelling are different, so even if the story is meant to be the same, reactions are different. We first need to know what the story is. We need a good story and we need a good storytelling technique. One problem that arises often is focusing too much on the story itself.
Skip to 2 minutes and 20 seconds Let me show you a picture now. This is the Bayeux Tapestry in Bayeux, France. Bayeux is a small town in Normandy that is famous for its key tourist attraction, the said tapestry, which is listed as on UNESCO’s Memory of the World register. The tapestry is striking not just because of its high quality, but also because of its length of 70 meters. It’s a 70-meter long tapestry that is in the Guinness Book of Records, listed as embroidered in the 1200s. For something that was made 800 years ago, it has been kept in pretty good condition. I have a question here. Why is it 70 meters? 70 meters. There probably wasn’t any machinery back then capable of making something this long.
Skip to 3 minutes and 46 seconds And why stop at 70 meters? Perhaps they just ran out of material at 70 meters. Maybe that’s all the woolen yarn they had. To look for a compelling reason, let’s scrutinize the figures depicted on the tapestry, a series of 50 odd pictures in a row that somewhat reminds us of etched webtoons (internet cartoons). Apart from the exquisite embroidery, these 50 pictures, too, share a story, one of legendary heroism and valor, of how their ancestors had fought for their land, Normandy. The pictures depict a battle waged against England and the struggle against England’s lords. There is quite a long story there on that tapestry.
Skip to 4 minutes and 58 seconds The story of how a battle started, how it progressed, and how there was defeat, followed by victory, and how the conflict ended. This content is expressed in these 50 odd images. We have solved our mystery. The reason for the Bayeux Tapestry being 70 meters is because the battle stories lasted 50 pictures. A linear story of 70 meters. The story finished there, and so there was no reason to continue weaving. Thus, it became a 70-meter-long tapestry. Now, isn’t this an interesting story?
Skip to 5 minutes and 43 seconds The details are there: the weaponry used, the battle strategies and tactics, what was lost, what was won. Everything appears in the pictures. A fascinating story. However, I came here with this photo, and as much as I’ve tried, I have not been able to convey each and every detail of the story to you. Also, those who have gone there to see the tapestry in person probably did not go there all the way there to hear the story. As amazing and well-preserved as this 800-year-old historical cultural piece is, we have to recognize that its power lies in its storytelling ability and method.
Skip to 6 minutes and 44 seconds There may be hundreds if not thousands of such battle tales scattered all over France, but this is the only 70-meter-long tapestry to accompany this story. For this reason, it has become recognized as a World Heritage Site. We need a lot of emphasis in storytelling, and so I’m spending a lot of time here demonstrating that point. The meaning behind traditional storytelling remains preserved in transmedia storytelling when we consider the characteristics of different media, how they are utilized and consumed, and how we can create a credible, powerful story. Starting next week, I will discuss story composition and creation over the upcoming five sessions. We will see that 50 different stories can be structured into a clear narrative.
Skip to 7 minutes and 55 seconds As we complete this session, I again emphasize the three things to note
Skip to 7 minutes and 58 seconds about this topic: story composition, storytelling methods, and an understanding of the media platforms used. This is all important in transmedia storytelling.
Delivering the story
The story itself and the way of delivering the story are both very important.
Most of you have probably had an experience similar to the following. You heard a very interesting story and go off to share it, but the reaction you get is rather indifferent. It is clearly an interesting story, in your opinion, and you are physically somewhere else but sharing it as it is, but you get a totally different reaction than what you expected.