Digital storytelling part 1 writing

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Slides for a workshop on applied storytelling, using writing exercises. Used as teaching aid for my course at http://www.mmm.unifi.it/ .Follow me at @ppolsinelli for more.

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Story tell your (Software) product

Digital Storytelling:

writing By Pietro Polsinelli

Who am I

Pietro Polsinelli Twitter: @ppolsinelli

Blog: http://pietro.open-lab.com E-mail: ppolsinelli@open-lab.com

Im applying storytelling to:

Web apps for team & personal productivity,

Videogame marketing

Videogame design

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Todays workshop

Intro

Writing Exercises part 1

On writing

Writing Exercises part 2

Feedback

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Story tell your (Software) product

Storytelling is so popular

But what we do here is not actually pure storytelling, its storytelling for. That is, writing and telling stories for ends which are not literary.

There are definite and precise techniques for

storytelling.

Narrative techniques can be acquired with a lot of

exercise, developing a specific sensitivity. Here you

can give it a first try.

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Introduction: why digital storytell?

Many of your former colleagues

work (part or full time) is companies

that are startups in some sense. In interactive educational tools,

videogames, music production

services, ... .

As a jack of all trades you will need stories. Stories are presented

in many forms, but are mostly

created in written form.

Movies scripts, comic scripts, videogame scripts.

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Story tell your (Software) product

Here for

Learn to detect / create / analyze / use / apply

storytelling.

Detect: not only ads

Create: exercises

Analyze: schemas

Use: used more widely than you may believe.

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Ambiguity alert!

Applying storytelling can mean working on:

A product / service / company with a story at its heart,

that unfolds and guides work and developments.

Creating a short, sticky story that somehow points to a product / service / company. Auto-conclusive story.

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Storytelling gives

A product / service / company with a story at its heart,

that unfolds and guides work and developments.

Storytelling gives coherence, sense. We have

stories in continuity.

Creating a short, sticky story that somehow points to a product / service / company. Auto-conclusive story.

Storytelling can get and keep peoples attention. We have auto-conclusive stories.

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Acquiring storytelling sensitivity

helps in both cases

And in many kinds of

stories.

A soundtrack tells a

story.

A video.

A podcast.

A comic.

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Learn to write

Its possible.

You learn by example,

practice, feedback.

Things are born interesting

or are made interesting?

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Books: this is just the beginning

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Story tell your (Software) product

Saturday, March 17, 2012 Story tell your (Software) product

Exercises part 1

Write on paper what you will say if Id ask you to present yourself to this group.

3 Min.

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Exercises part 1

Write on another paper your product / service idea how you would present it in a few sentences.

10 Min.

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Concreteness in writing part 1

1. Write down as many things white in color you may think of.

15 Secs.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012 Story tell your (Software) product

Concreteness in writing part 2

Write down as many things white in color that may eventually end up in

your fridge you may think of.

1.15 Secs.

15

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Listing features vs. telling

stories

The USP approach

I here give a first negative definition of my approach, by contrasting with

some existing marketing habits.

The Unique Selling Proposition (a.k.a. Unique Selling Point, or USP) is a

marketing concept that was first proposed as a theory to explain a

pattern among successful advertising campaigns of the early 1940s. It

states that such campaigns made unique propositions to the customer

and that this convinced them to switch brands.

Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unique_selling_proposition

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The USP approach

USP is like classical economics: assumes perfect information and

rational choices. Users are neither informed nor rational.

This fragmented approach does not help users in getting their insight.

Lacking a unified anthropological model of and for the user, this will not

work.

Marketing recipes draw a simplistic picture of the marketing project.

A USP tends to obscure your real motivations, your agenda. A purely

functional description will leave out what is most interesting.

This also shows that deep limitations of AdWords based approaches:

you story is missed, you cant do a contextual presentation.

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Rational choice models

A few years ago, we had a brief discussion about the power of ads. A

friend of mine was skeptic about that, he stubbornly held that ads had no

effect on him. This is an example of illuministic optimism which is

factually false.

How wrong this belief is is shown by data from many possible fields

(next slide).

What matters for us is that this kind of wrong modeling of human

behavior leads to wrong marketing models: models based on the rational

choice idea.

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Learn more

The political mind, A Cognitive Scientist's Guide to Your Brain and Its

Politics , George Lakoff

Idea Framing, Metaphors, and Your Brain - George Lakoff

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_CWBjyIERY

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Establish the context

You should not talk in terms of differences with the competition (this too

is a mistake which several marketing experts make). This is the traditional mistake of political weak candidates. Your point is to tell a

completely different story.

Obama stopped saying Bush is doing this and that He started saying: This is MY story. This is a NEW story.

Story mark: by telling a good story, its you establishing the context. this

way you can win in the most unlikely situations

By fighting on features, you are adapting to a context where its the

others setting the context -> you are going to lose.

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The storytelling approach

You are bringing a ship across a hill in the jungle: your effort *deserves

to be told*.

You product is a free creation, shaped from the learnings you can get

from early shipping.

The basic point of this marketing technique is simply to tell the truth, and

bring it across in its subtlety and complexity. Its useful if what you are saying is not trivial, if there are ideas to be expressed. Articulating your

proposal in a story instead of a USP is much more conductive to express

it integrally.

The MBA typical idea of competitive advantage results empty for this perspective. The union of story and execution is no single competitive

advantage.

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Using stories

Learning from classical storytelling

The first point is NOT saying

clearly (for you) what you

provide, and neither to talk

about users advantages.

The first point is getting

attention and start telling

YOUR STORY.

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Unifying power of storytelling

Your aim is to create an opportunity for a magic meeting of needs, tastes, choices. You are facilitating

it, but you are not the cause.

Unifying power of the storytelling approach: if you defined your story, this

gives unity to the expression of your idea in different media (see Licorize

in the examples). Once you have a story, it becomes easier and more

interesting to write articulated connections. And to write other, connected

stories touching other fields.

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