Storytelling from the experts

MUMBAI: In the beginning was the word! And then came the Net. So, has the nature of storytelling changed with the emergence of new media like Internet and interactive TV? Well, not really, as the session on 'Master class in storytelling' at Ficci Frames 2005 revealed.

The session conducted by Nigel Cole, BBC Broadcast, London, explored the history of storytelling right from the classical times taking the Shakespearean prologue to the current times where the challenge lies in communicating via promos and commercials. So, whether it's a three hour epic or a thirty second spot the need for great storytelling techniques still apply.

Shedding light on the art of great storytelling, Cole said, "The challenge is to grab the viewer's attention. So the selection of stories has to be timeless, it could cover some historical truths or titanic struggles between good and evil. It's the timelessness of the story which will make the viewer take notice. Citing from Aristotle's concept of drama which should comprise three unities i.e. time, place and action-it should all take place within one day, one place and one singular plot line."

The storytelling fundamentals really depend on the simple structure which has to be a simple exposition of the story. And the storytelling fundamentals really revolve around an incident, complications, crisis, climax and resolution.

So, how does one apply these techniques in the current scenario? Says, Cole, "Over the years there have been hundreds of well-designed title sequences that in their own right have earned a place in our hearts and minds, effectively marketing a time in our lives in 60 seconds or less. Even good promo makers and designers need to understand these basic concepts of storytelling and have a clear understanding of audience response before they put pen to paper. Are we trying to wow the viewer, charm them, intrigue them or inspire them?"

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