Blog Post 11: Storytelling

Both the TED Talk and Ira Glass’s talk on storytelling drew some parallels about what constitutes good storytelling. In Glass’s case he believes that a story needs to main things. The first thing is an anecdote which is simply a sequence of actions where one leads to the next. This momentum can create suspense in even the most boring stories. This anecdote also has to raise questions to the audience that will be explored and answered throughout the story. The next thing a good story needs is a moment of reflection where the story tells you the real purpose behind why the story is being told. An exciting, action-packed story is useless if it doesn’t mean or represent anything in the end. This helps the story create something larger than the sum of its parts.

In the TED Talk, JJ Abrams talks about his love for storytelling and how it originated. He said that the best thing about stories is the infinite possibilities. With how much technology has come in the last few decades, we are now able to do so much more with storytelling and for JJ Abrams that is enough to inspire him to keep filling blank pages with engaging stories.

In my own final project, I think I definitely will be using a lot of these elements to create a compelling story. I think the best advice I got from the videos was to keep the audience wondering what will be happening next and to make sure that the story is being told for a reason.

Blog Post 10: Pry

Pry was an extremely interesting storytelling app. Unlike some of the other apps I have downloaded and immediately deleted for class, I could see myself using this one in the future because I am very intrigued by the format it uses and the story that is being told. From what I gathered the story is told from the point of view of a young man who works on a construction site. The story goes back and forth between the main characters dialogue, subconscious, and actual real-life perspective. In some of his subconscious thoughts it seems like he may have been involved in a war of some kind. His internal dialogue suggests that he is insecure about his boss firing him, and his actual perspective shows him at the job site.

While the unfolding story is a little hard to follow, there is something really special about the interface and navigation that is used to tell this story. No longer is storytelling limited to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd perspective. A story can offer you so many other kinds of information and insight to get a compelling story across to its audiences. The app pry is doing an excellent job of this and is definitely onto something.

Blog Post 9: Story and Games

I chose to explore the “game” Galatea because I don’t do much gaming in my own time and thought it would be easier to interact with a game that had more to do with something, I was familiar with, stories. This app offers a wide selection of love stories and scary stories to choose from. Since I hate scary content, I chose to explore one of the love stories, despite breaking up with my boyfriend of four years three days ago. While I was somewhat dreading the experience, I was immediately captured by the story’s format. It offered background noise, and only offered a sentence or a short paragraph at a time to make the audience feel like they are experiencing the story rather than just reading it. While I have never come across a game like this myself, I think this type of story can offer the audience a lot more meaning than a traditional book or story. There doesn’t seem to be a goal to the app outside of exploring narrative ideas and the different ways they can be delivered to an audience. They are engaging because they aim to stimulate more of your senses within the reading experience. The story I accidently chose ended up being a straight to the point erotica about werewolf orgies. Instead of suscepting you to that, I chose to include some screenshots of the apps descriptions that give examples of the experiences you will have while using the app.

Blog Post 8: Symbol, Index, and Icon

I chose to watch the short video The Ordeal of Scentless. When I first started watching the video, I immediately felt a connection to it. In my own life, I’ve been having a lot of troubles and anxiety lately and have been feeling very overwhelmed by life. I could relate to how the author feels in nature vs being surrounded by strangers. One of the very first examples I saw of the author using symbol to convey an emotion was when they used an expanding white screen to make the statement “It is so vast it makes me feel dizzy” feel very powerful to the audience. When describing the Grand Canyon, the author uses an overly exposed image of the canyon, accompanied by the sentence “I can barely keep my eyes open.”

This was another great use of symbolism because I could infer that not only was it was bright, hot, and sunny there, but the author felt a sense of being overwhelmed by how peaceful and vast the Grand Canyon really is.

At this point the story got kind of confusing to me. I wasn’t really sure what story the author was telling and how the different elements were connecting but I did pick up on a few signs and symbols that helped me piece it together as much as I could. Throughout the entire story the author uses a white silhouette to show people’s bodies in the streets.

I think the author is eluding to the fact that they are strangers and are just nameless, faceless people to them. I could tell that the author might be feeling alone or like the world was chaotic because of how he chose to represent people like this. Eventually, the author meets a girl and little colorful bubbles start appearing within their white silhouettes. I think these thoughts represent emotions that are being developed between the two of them. After they meet, these bubbles show up in other ways. You can now see them being a part of other experiences they have and it seems like he might have gained a more positive outlook. Honestly, by this point in the story I was feeling pretty confused about the way the story was unfolding but I think I got a really good sense of the tone and emotions behind the words.

Blog Post 7: Hypertext and Hypermedia

How to Rob a Bank by Alan Bigelow was actually a really fascinating story about life. There is definitely a sense of coherent-ness to the story world as most of it is written in a digital diary by a mother to her baby daughter. The part that kept me the most engaged was how in between really personal and specific diary entries to her daughter, it would show what she googled that day to fix the problem she was having with her baby or her husband.

It would also show that she used a meditation app or watch a cartoon when she was feeling particularly overwhelmed. The sequencing was pretty linear because you could tell the story was moving in order of date/time, but it was also a little unimportant to the story. If anything, I would stay this story is more real than most content because it gives insight into what humans actually do all day in our technology driven world. Not only do we get to see the drama of the story unfold but we also get to experience some of life’s more mundane activities with the main character.

The second story that really stood out to me was CityFish by J.R. Carpenter. Also, a type of diary, the story is told from the perspective of a young girl from Nova Scotia who visits family in New York every once in a while. This story is a lot less coherent than the first because part of it tells us the experiences from the girl’s perspective, part of it is quotes she chooses to include for various reasons, and part of it is pictures that either have to do with the diary entries or other random things. Sometimes it was a little hard to follow, but what kept me the most interested was that I could really relate to the girl’s thought process. While the story itself could be read in a linear way, our life and thoughts don’t always follow a linear pattern. They’re random and intrusive and I thought this story did an excellent job of portraying that.

Blog Post 6: Cinema Language

The film adaptation of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” offers the audience a lot less detail than the short story written by Ambrose Bierce. In the video, there is a lot less information about the main character, his background, and what led to his ultimate demise. There were also a few scenes, like the ticking of his watch, that felt a little bit more random in the video version. This particular event felt much more powerful in the written story.

“Striking through the thought of his dear ones was sound which he could neither ignore nor understand, a sharp, distinct, metallic percussion like the stroke of a blacksmith’s hammer upon the anvil; it had the same ringing quality. He wondered what it was, and whether immeasurably distant or nearby— it seemed both. Its recurrence was regular, but as slow as the tolling of a death knell. He awaited each new stroke with impatience and—he knew not why—apprehension. The intervals of silence grew progressively longer; the delays became maddening. With their greater infrequency the sounds increased in strength and sharpness. They hurt his ear like the thrust of a knife; he feared he would shriek. What he heard was the ticking of his watch.”

While the film does a good job of telling the important parts of the story and maintaining the concept of going back and forth between reality and imagination, the text version does a much better job of explaining what being on the brink of death and death itself feels like. I had never read a story before that detailed this kind of experience in such a compelling way. Even though I preferred the written version, I think the video did an excellent job using pacing and editing to build the story. Toward the end, when the wife is running up to her husband in slow motion, you can tell that something is wrong, and everything is not the way it seems. I think one of the best examples of shot composition from the video is when it showed Peyton’s body hanging under the bridge from a great distance away.

It did a great job of paralleling the ending of the written story which is simply, “Peyton Farquhar was dead; his body, with a broken neck, swung gently from side to side beneath the timbers of the Owl Creek bridge.”

Blog Post 5: Visual Narrative II

I chose to use some pictures from a hike that I went on a couple days ago. The first picture shows my group of friends toward the beginning of our hike. Between the first two pictures there is a scene to scene transition, and we move to later on in the hike when I was struggling a little bit more and wondering if I was going to be able to make it to the top. Then there is a subject to subject transition as the camera shows my point of view and my friends encouraging me to keep going. Then there is another scene to scene transition of when we finally made it to the top and could rest. There is one last subject to subject transition between the last two photos as we move inside the destination and begin reflecting on the journey we just had as we prepare to watch the sunset.

Blog Post 4: Visual Narrative I

While reading Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, I gained a lot of valuable information that I can use when complete ling the typographic storytelling assignment. I’ve never been much of a comic fan, so I wasn’t feeling particularly excited about this particular reading assignment. However, I found so many different aspects of life that invoke a lot of the rules and techniques used in comics. I also really enjoyed reading the book and it opened me up to the idea that I might be a comic fan after all.

When it comes to time frames, the first thing I learned is that an image does not have to represent a single moment in time. A variety of methods can translate to the reader the duration of time in which certain actions are taking place. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by showing a sound of an activity that is familiar to the audience so they can get a realistic idea of how much time is passing. You can also lengthen a duration of time by adding more panels (with no new content) or by creating a wider panel to show a longer period of time than the panels next to it. One thing I found really interesting was that a silent panel usually offers no clues of duration and will often linger in the reader’s mind and follow them through the rest of the story.

The section of the book that I think was the most influential for me was about how to show emotion in your comics.

Scott McCloud tells us that “the idea that a picture can evoke an emotional or sensual response in the viewer is vital to the art of comics.”

For the Typographic Storytelling assignment, I am planning on there being two distinct emotions that I want the reader to feel. McCloud gave me a lot of ideas about the powerful way we can use lines and images to convey emotion.