Igniting imagination

Steve Davenport

Interactive Media Manager

“Interactive storytelling” is a buzzword in our industry. It can mean many things to many people, but for me, it’s about breaking down a story, and making a powerful emotional connection with the audience through clever use of technology.

Once upon a time, we told stories round the campfire. Then via the printing press and through cinema. Even now, the way we tell stories continues to evolve. Stories no longer have to be linear. Taking our cue from gaming, we can give our audience the power to choose their own path. Virtual reality and augmented reality provide different opportunities to ignite people’s imaginations.

Storytelling involves the listener as much as the speaker – it demands more of the listener, but offers greater reward. Stories are a building block of how we understand and remember information. We know that learners, when presented with stories, are more actively engaged than when they are just faced with facts, so interactive storytelling can be a valuable tool in educational programmes.

I remember when we built websites comprising pages of dry scientific content, and hoped that people would engage with it. But to reach audiences now, we have to be more astute. More creative. We have to be aware of what can be achieved using different technologies. With the clever layering of video, audio, images and copy we can tell stories that really resonate.

In my view, these new forms of storytelling fundamentally redefine the role of the writer. Creative technologists such as myself should be considered fellow authors, as we can help shape the story and bring it to life. I’d always encourage the early involvement of a designer and developer, in both format and content, as our input is critical to the success of an interactive storytelling project.

Here are some examples which I hope will get you thinking about the possibilities of interactive storytelling, best viewed in Chrome:

http://www.sbs.com.au/kgari/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2013/may/26/firestorm-bushfire-dunalley-holmes-family

http://www.sbs.com.au/theboat/

http://www.handmade-stories.com/#Home

If you'd like us to help tell your story, then we'd love to hear from you.

+44 (0) 1625 668318