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Skip to 1 minute and 8 secondsStorytelling language goes far back in history, but its importance has become more prominent in the digital age. There have been attempts at this in the past as well. During the era of written text, many people tried to unify languages of the world. This can be seen in such examples as Tower of Babel from the Bible, or the invention of the Esperanto language. There have been several attempts to unify languages, all of which have failed. Before the era of script, however, it was the era of images. Images could have functioned as a universal language, but crossing over to the era of script made each language more complicated, increasing the level of accuracy seen in messages.

Skip to 2 minutes and 4 secondsThat eventually led to the loss of a universal trait in language, as was evident when we touched upon the history of media in a past lesson. From a historical viewpoint, the invention of photography helped the image regain its once lost prominence. Photography was a tool used to materialize the desire of the past. With it came a unified language, a universal one. First photographs were invented, next came images of movement, and then came films digital storytelling had finally become possible. Dissecting how sound pictures, color pictures, and film techniques came about would be similar to examining the history of the expansion of the digital storytelling language. Lev Manovich ’s work provides remarkably useful evidence for this.

Skip to 3 minutes and 33 secondsHis work offers an incredibly in-depth study on how silent films would convey scenes using only images in the absence of verbal sounds. With spoken words unavailable due to the rudimentary nature of the technology, filmmakers were forced to develop creative strategies for communicating their messages. Filmologists say that silent films marked the beginning of movies and carry a great deal of significance in the history of film, while also being very useful. By that I mean that if film media had started out with sound pictures, then it would rely on the audio component too heavily for the film language to develop. Because silent films were made first, they triggered people’s desire to tell stories using film images without sound.

Skip to 4 minutes and 31 secondsThe use of images on their own satisfied the deficient aspects that had emerged in the era of written language, resulting in the images regaining their power. Once spoken dialogue started being added to films, the genre of sound film was born, and then music and color were also added. Editing techniques aided in the development of “film grammar,” or the language with which motion pictures create meaning. When combined, these elements make up the complete language of digital storytelling. That language constructed by films has had a wide array of effects. One person who understood these effects was Hitler and military parties in Germany and the Soviet Union.

Skip to 5 minutes and 32 secondsFilm was deemed the perfect media for political propaganda, with each party well aware of the enormous impact it had on audiences. This is a scene from a documentary called Triumph of the Will (1935). Hitler knew that showing the incredible size of his army would be much more powerful in terms of expressing the “triumph of the will” than describing it in mere words. As a result, he fully invested in videos such as this. In the era that followed, films possessed a range of expressions incomparable to that of scripts, and were solidly positioned as a powerful media form. For this reason, the foundation of transmedia storytelling is based on the founding of film as a medium.

Skip to 6 minutes and 35 secondsThe latter eventually developed further, and now film editing has become much easier with the invention of digital video cameras such as compact DSLRs. Now anyone can be involved in creating the dramatic film effects that caught Hitler's attention in the past, all possible due to technological advancement. In the past, extensive knowledge was required to make content such as films, but now the average university student is capable of making a simple video and uploading it on to their blog. This phenomenon is described as User-Created Content. Like past processes, the first step is that a simple story must be written. Next, however, the story needs to be filmed, edited, and uploaded, all of which were not required in the old form of storytelling.

Skip to 7 minutes and 55 secondsThis process may not sound so difficult, but a whole new concept has been born. When previous generations only had a pen, some paper, and a typewriter to tell a story, a literary imagination and the ability to write a story were the key components of becoming a good storyteller. These days, however, you have to be equipped with the technology to film and the ability to edit with an artistic mind. You also need the ability to communicate with people while acquiring a social nature to share the work. One's literary imagination, artistic talent, and access to technology are equally important elements of transmedia storytelling.

Skip to 9 minutes and 6 secondsIn other words, for the process of creation to occur, a convergence of different elements must take place, and do so without external force or pressure. This process is not limited to convergence within the sphere of media, but the content producer witnesses it during the process of production. These days, individuals can possess the technology and the ability to write a story and add artistic, musical, and other talents to one’s technological and narrative skills simultaneously, which makes it possible for anyone to create something that could have met the standards of the experts in the old days. In the past, every individual's artistic ability varied from skill to skill, but we now have the capacity to handle all of them at once.

Skip to 10 minutes and 9 secondsIn other words, we are now able to do transmedia storytelling.

The sphere of transmedia storytelling (1)

When previous generations only had a pen, some paper, and a typewriter to tell a story, a literary imagination and the ability to write a story were the key components of becoming a good storyteller. These days, however, you have to be equipped with the technology to film and the ability to edit with an artistic mind. You also need the ability to communicate with people while acquiring a social nature to share the work.

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This video is from the free online course:

Transmedia Storytelling

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)

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