The day opened with a ferry ride at 8 AM on Friday, Oct. 5th, that took Al Gore, me and 275 of our closest friends, past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty to a plot of land covered in buildings that felt akin to a 19th Century small university campus, called Snug Harbor. This place was covered with ancient-looking, but wonderfully constructed buildings, park-like sprawling lawns, grand halls, and a wonderful theater that served as the presentation space for the opening and closing ceremonies and entertainments associated with the first conference conceived and excellently produced by Charles Melcher of Melcher Media called, "The Future of Storytelling" aka FoST.
This conference was a wonderfully choreographed presentation and series of experiments around the idea that story-telling and the associated mediums and mechanisms through which narrative will now and into the future be delivered, is clearly not going to remain the domain of bound books and printed magazines and newspapers. Therefore, there is an opportunity and perhaps even an obligation to discover the forms and mechanisms for delivery that will supplant it.
While this might occur to be a foregone conclusion to anyone paying passing attention to the rapid rearrangement of decks chairs of the music industry for the last five years or the how the film industry struggles to understand the new paradigm of film distribution outside traditional exhibition and even those who struggle to understand how to respond to those folks with Roku boxes, Apple TV boxes, Hulu accounts and Netflix accounts that don't buy cable or dish to get their TV.
Why would book publishing and the myriad new forms of getting great stories to audiences always hungry for them, not be in turmoil and looking for a stable path or platform that they can turn to? The challenge may be clear, but the form and future is uncertain.
The day began with one way story is delivered--in song. Damien Kulash, lead singer of OK Go, played a lovely tune and sang us into attention and set a tone of playfulness and joy that truly lasted for the 12 fully packed hours we all spent on the island campus.
Immediately following, The Moth presented narrative's relevance in an amazing display of how 'stand and deliver' speaking to an audience with a story that takes you on a journey that delivers suspense and joy and fear and disdain and love and resolution and hope can be as powerful as any film or play or television show.
With that demonstration, the inspired attendees each completed at least three of perhaps a dozen or more small roundtable discussions and workshops with a broad and widely varied set of practitioners of narrative, from starving artists working on original projects to agencies trying to spin narrative into quick commerce. There was talk of apps and games and social media and transmedia and performance art (I am working on a YouTube Video to provide more precise detail about all that happened in the form of interpretive dance inspired by Pilobolus).
Why would Backward Heroes, who is in the business of creating, designing, engineering and delivering online marketing to support stories in the form of film be interested? This is clearly rhetorical, but the message here is that we wanted to share with you that we share the vision and understand the needs being requested from our clients to deliver 'the story about the story' that shines the appropriate light on the value of their products as narrative and spectacle and entertainment. And the best way to do that is to create compelling and engaging content with its own embedded story.
I could write you a novella about this day and the events and the people, but you can discover this yourself at www.futureofstorytelling.org and other associated ways to follow, connect, and discover on your own and I truly encourage you to do so.
I just want to thank Melcher Media and all associated with their event. It was a great opportunity to hang with my buddy, Al Gore and be inspired to re-focus our thinking that the business of marketing is communication and communication is best delivered with story and being a digital shop requires us to re-think, re-package and newly define how that is done.
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