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THE ONLINE WORLD OF IMMERSIVE STORY TELLING : THE BLURRING OF AUTHORSHIP

Dramatic story telling is as old as humanity and has had some pretty clear structures to guide it along,  not only for the story itself to follow but in the way it was told. Basically there was a story telling medium and an audience who passively absorbed the story, you read a book , went to see a movie or watched a tv show from your living room chair.

Today it is a different story, because we are not using a linear medium to experience a story, it is multi media platform that allows us to immerse ourselves in the story in a way we have never been able to in our history.

 A new book by Wired writer  Frank Rose  layouts a different world that is beginning to re write the way in which stories are experienced.

from the website

NOT LONG AGO WE WERE SPECTATORS, passive consumers of mass media. Now, on YouTube and blogs and Facebook and Twitter, we are media. And while we may be watching more television than ever before, how we watch it is changing in ways we have barely slowed down to register. No longer content in our traditional role as couch potatoes, we approach television shows, movies, even advertising as invitations to participate—as experiences to immerse ourselves in at will. In THE ART OF IMMERSION, longtime Wired contributing editor Frank Rose talks to the people who are reshaping media for a two-way world—people like Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse (Lost), James Cameron (Avatar), Will Wright (The Sims), and dozens of others whose ideas are changing how we play, how we communicate, how we think.

After centuries of linear storytelling, we are witnessing the emergence of a new form of narrative that’s native to the Internet. Told through many media at once in a nonlinear fashion, these new narratives encourage us not merely to watch but to participate, often engaging us in the same way that games do. This is “deep media”: stories that are not just entertaining but immersive, that take you deeper than an hour-long TV drama or a two-hour movie or a 30-second spot will permit.

Today this new narrative is still nascent. But we see signs of its emergence all around us: in television shows like Mad Men and The Office, which spin a nuanced tale not just on TV but through online videos and games. In movies like The Dark Knight and Tron: Legacy, which have drawn millions of people into an elaborate game that gives them a role, however fleeting, in the latest Hollywood production. In social media, from YouTube to Facebook to Twitter, which encourage people to document their lives online in a fluid, collaborative, and very public autobiography. Everywhere we look, stories are breaking the bounds imposed by the technologies of 20th-century mass media. A TV show is not just a TV show. A movie is not just to be watched onscreen. A diary is splayed out for the world to see.

This isn’t the first time the way we tell stories has changed. Every major advance in communications has given birth to a new form of narrative: the printing press and moveable type led to the emergence of the novel in the 17th and 18th centuries; the motion picture camera, after a long period of experimentation, gave rise to movies; television created the sitcom. The Internet and the World Wide Web, like all these technologies in their earliest days, was at first used mainly as a vehicle for retransmitting familiar formats. For all the talk of “new media,” they served as little more than a new delivery mechanism for old media, from newspapers to music to TV shows.

That was then. In the months and years ahead, professional storytellers of every persuasion—people in movies, in television, in video games, and in marketing—will need to function in a world in which distinctions that were clear throughout the past century are becoming increasingly blurred:

  • The blurring of author and audience: Whose story is it?
  • The blurring of story and game: How do you engage with it?
  • The blurring of entertainment and marketing: What function does it serve?
  • The blurring of fiction and reality: Where does one end and the other begin?

THE ART OF IMMERSION shows how this is happening and why, and what it means for us all.

 

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