Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Death of the Story - Redux. Responding to Prof Ken Kobre

Prof Ken Kobre posted this on his site, which got me replying below.

Here's two paras of his post.

The Death of the Story?

"We've often said that videojournalists have much to learn from Hollywood when it comes to storytelling and creating dramatic narrative arcs.

But now it seems that even Hollywood is beginning to lose its way, according to this New York Times report about a new MIT Media Lab project called The Center for Future Storytelling".

Hello Professor Kobre,

Very topical post and link.

I wholeheartedly agree that video journalism has a huge amount to learn from cinema-making and not necessarily in structure per se, but in production drawing audiences to their films.

We’re seeing some of the best VJs grasp that, but video journalism is still new territory for many and therefore a sizeable number of practitioners appear more susceptible to exclusively use TV’s lingua franca.

I just happened to have posted about this yesterday on - Video Journalism is not a one-size-fits-all medium.

Hollywood’s dominance in story telling has consistently been under threat from one wing or another. Take for instance film movements such as French New Wave and dogme.

It was only the grand plan, the emergence of the pop corn Blockbuster, mega movie merchandising and TV/DVD rights sales that saved Hollywood from disappearing.

And then there was digital which has yielded youtubing, torrenting and outfits such as Onedotzero, Filminute, and a new wave of independent digital film makers [remember 405] making their mark.

Microcinemas, outdoor screens, urinal video faces, XTPs and a whole glut of platforms have been the interesting developments in disrupting Hollywood’s film going process.

Here, a new brand of marketers have emerged believing anywhere people gather or pause for a minute [holograms on cereal boxes one day –Minority Report] is an opportunity to show your wares.

In 2001 we (colleagues and I) contributed towards the thinking and short films/ adverts that would go on London Undergrounds Cross Track Projection ( XTP). That’s short ads on the subways, which have only recently come on stream.

Then we played around with non narrative forms such as this The Family, which I have been redeveloping into a form that is video hyperlinking, which subverts the narrative - reported by The Economist.

At the UK’s film representative body, The Film Council, whilst hosting their event in digital opportunities one company talked about its video jump system called Avalon.

Narrative mania
My opinion, I think the narrative will always matter.

That’s what we do, tell stories, whether here in the UK or indeed Ghana and South Africa TV whereo I has the pleasure of working alongside on a unique video journalism co-production.

It’s how fast we can arc the story, play around with its form and get into the exposition in our contracted time span that’s exciting [see film minute] and it’s here where spatial films spoken at length by Lev Manovich leads to the sort of work we’re doing here at the Smart Lab.

That MIT is doing this should come as no surprise given their pioneering work, Negroponte et al did in paperback movies and spatial data systems brilliantly captured in Stewart Brand’s The Media Lab Inventing the Future at MIT

Thanks for triggering this.

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