Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about Storytelling on Sunday 13th March

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  • Decision Trees: YouTube's New Breed of Interactive Storytellers

    by Tony E. Valenzuela, Marc Hustvedt and Rafi Fine

    YouTube's annotations tool opened up a whole new way telling stories, with the rise of interactive videos that let viewers "choose-their-own-adventure" as they navigate through the story. This panel bring together the best and most creative of YouTube's new breed of interactive storytellers to share their secrets of how they pull off these complex creations—including a walkthrough of actual viewer decision trees from their projects.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Sunday 13th March

    In Room 18ABCD, Austin Convention Center

  • Transmedia Storytelling: Constructing Compelling Characters and Narrative Threads

    by Barbara Vance

    Transmedia storytelling is increasingly being seen as the future of entertainment. A film is no longer just a film; its narrative extends to games, books, online documents, Internet videos, mobile applications, and beyond.

    But at the foundation of these new storytelling methods are certain narrative traditions that have held up over the centuries. Without a clear understanding of these structures and methods of character development, a narrative will struggle to survive. We must, therefore, look beyond the Matrix, going back instead to the Greeks, whose myths provide some of the first examples of genuine transmedia. These ancient tales crisscrossed through a complex web of drama, poetry, ritual, role playing, and oral recitation, utilizing archetypes that are still the foundation of stories today.

    In this panel, I will address key archetypes and plot formations found repeatedly in both historical narratives as well as recent successful transmedia franchises. I will discuss how to asses an audience, then strategically choose specific plot lines and characters for specific mediums based on those audience segments.

    We will look at:

    1. Making sure your narrative has a solid premise on which to build – without a foundation you cannot lay bricks.
    2. Key characteristics of appeal characters – how to have bad heroes and good villains
    3. How to structure the story in an appropriate narrative thread
    4. Choosing mediums and messages

    Spoken of here, transmedia narratives are not adaptations; they are extensions, networks composed not as afterthoughts to an “original” creative work, but conceived instead in conjunction with them, with thought given to the story, the medium, the audience, and how these elements relate to a cohesive fictional world.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Room 18ABCD, Austin Convention Center

  • The Death of the Death of Longform Journalism

    by Evan Ratliff and Max Linsky

    The web was supposed to kill longform journalism, relegate it to a slow demise in the pasture of print. The stories were just too long, conventional wisdom held. The web was about the efficient delivery of information—who had time to read 5,000 words on a browser, let alone pay for the privilege?

    Longform journalism was going to die. And it almost did.

    But the combination of elegant mobile devices and innovative apps has proven that the audience for longform journalism still exists—and has the potential to grow. Turns out, the problem wasn’t that the stories were too long. People love stories! The problem was that nobody had spent much time thinking about how best, for readers, to present and distribute them digitally.

    At the same moment that many publishers were being forced to give up on the feasibility of longform work, readers were finally given the tools to read pieces when, how, and where they wanted to.

    This panel will discuss: what those tools are, how they’re being used, how some publishers are taking advantage of them, how other publishers are failing to take advantage of them, how the digital reading experience will continue to evolve, why journalists will always be the core audience for longform journalism, the iPad and the Kindle, Instapaper and Readability, and whether or not anyone is making any money from this stuff.

    This panel will not discuss: the upside of paginating long stories.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Sunday 13th March

    In N. Capitol View, Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol