Digital Storytelling 4e: A creator's guide to interactive entertainment, 4th Edition (Paperback) book cover

Digital Storytelling 4e

A creator's guide to interactive entertainment, 4th Edition

By Carolyn Handler Miller

CRC Press

824 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-11-27
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Digital Storytelling shows you how to create immersive, interactive narratives across a multitude of platforms, devices, and media. From age-old storytelling techniques to cutting-edge development processes, this book covers creating stories for all forms of New Media, including transmedia storytelling, video games, mobile apps, and more. This book features case studies that cover a great spectrum of platforms and different story genres. It also shows you how to plan processes for developing interactive narratives for all forms of entertainment and non-fiction purposes: education, training, information and promotion. Features interviews with some of the industry’s biggest names.

Key Features

  • Coverage of works of virtual and augmented reality, second screen TV, 4D dark rides and projects for motionbased devices like Kinect.
  • Creating stories that use ‘gamification,’
  • Narrative in open-world games,
  • Stories told via mobile apps and social media.
  • Developing stories for different types of audiences.
  • Table of Contents

    Part 1: New technologies, new creative opportunities

    1. Storytelling, Old and New

    This chapter examines the origins of storytelling and older forms of narrative and human activities that have influenced Digital Storytelling, such as participatory dramas, rites of passage and athletic games. It will retain many sections of Chapter 1 from the Third Edition, but they would be shortened whenever possible. The chapter would include a section on nonlinearity and note the special characteristics of Digital Storytelling, as opposed to traditional storytelling. Sections that would be deleted or drastically shortened include discussions of myths and rituals.

    2. Backwater to Mainstream: The Growth of Digital Entertainment

    This chapter investigates the beginnings of Digital Storytelling and how Digital Storytelling is being utilized. In addition, the chapter on convergence would be integrated into this chapter (Chapter 3 in the Third Edition) and some concepts from the chapter on kiosks (chapter 23) would be added. The section on convergence would be titled "Harnessing Convergence to Digital Storytelling." It would define convergence and offer examples of convergent genres of Digital Storytelling, including a greatly shortened discussion of transmedia, which is examined in Chapter 10, and which would now be deleted. This section on transmedia would include a description of Westworld, a transmedia TV series, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter transmedia attraction at Universal. It would also contain a greatly shortened discussion of Alternate Reality Games taken from Chapter 18, which would be eliminated as a chapter, and a discussion of Location Based Entertainment (p. 283), which include the examples of The Q Game (p. 331) and Ingress (p. 436) and any good new examples that can be found.

    I would also offer another new section called "Borrowed Technologies." This would be about technologies not normally thought of as being employed for storytelling, but which, surprisingly, are sometimes used for this purpose. They include these references from the Third Edition, plus new material if there are any new developments to use as examples:

        • QR codes (originally discussed on pages 330, 421)
        • GPS (pp 49, 87,433)
        • Electronic kiosks (using a small amount of material from Chapter 23, which would now be deleted)

    This chapter would include a condensed history of the first video games; a discussion of how content for a new medium evolves; and how Digital Storytelling is impacting everything from journalism to politics. The sections that would be cut include a history of the computer and the Internet and a history of other platforms that have become obsolete.

    Moving towards Convergence – delete as chapter; though basic concept will be included in Chapter 2, plus examples, as noted above

    Part 2: Creating Story-rich projects

    3. Interactivity and Its Effects

    In what ways does interactivity impact storytelling? The major concepts and examples from the chapter in DS3 would be retained, though tightened wherever possible, and new examples would be offered.

    4. Old Tools/New Tools

    What old storytelling tools work in Digital Storytelling? What new tools should be considered? Most of this chapter (Chapter 5 in Third Edition) would be retained, though tightened wherever possible.

    5. Characters, Dialogue and Emotion

    What kinds of new characters can be found in Digital Storytelling? How do characters (and the users) communicate with each other? What role do emotions play in Digital Storytelling? Most of this chapter (Chapter 6 in Third Edition) would be retained, though tightened wherever possible, and relevant new examples would be included.

    6. Structure in Digital Storytelling

    While creators of movies and novels pay a great deal of attention to structure, the same is not always true in the creation and consumption of works of Digital Storytelling, although it is equally important to Digital Storytelling. Much of this chapter would be devoted to describing the various kinds of structures that are employed in Digital Storytelling. Chapter 7 in the Third Edition covered this subject and much of it would be retained, though tightened wherever possible, and relevant new examples would be included. Certain sections, such as "Spaces to Explore," would be revised and updated. A new section would be added that would discuss the use of the open world structure in works of virtual reality and in some cases, works of augmented reality.

    7. Your Audience

    No work of Digital Storytelling is going to appeal to everyone, just as no movie or novel appeals to everyone. What are the different types of audiences for Digital Storytelling and what do you need to consider in order to target a specific audience? Most of this chapter (Chapter 8 in Third Edition) would be retained, though tightened and updated wherever possible, and relevant new examples would be included. The section on young audiences would be significantly condensed. In the section on senior audiences, new material would be added to discuss how seniors respond to VR (surprisingly, with great enthusiasm). And it would also give examples of target demographics for various media productions. For example, according to a producer of promotional videos for TV shows, the target demographic for one genre of shows is… "upscale professional women sitting alone at home watching TV while eating popcorn and drinking red wine."

    8. Social Media and Storytelling

    The telling of stories by employing social media is relatively new, but creative people have been quick to see its possibilities. Most of this chapter (Chapter 9 in Third Edition) would be retained, though tightened wherever possible. The section on the Lizzie Bennet Diaries would be condensed and examples of new works of Social Media storytelling would be added, as well as a brief discussion of how social media storytelling is being used to promote political agendas.

    Transmedia Storytellingthis chapter would be deleted as a chapter, though sections of it would be incorporated into other parts of the revised edition, especially in Chapter 2.

    9. Creating New Projects: The Development Process

    This chapter offers guidelines for creating works of Digital Storytelling, reviews the types of documents typically used in this process, and offers a ten-point development checklist. Most of the content offered in the third edition (in what was Chapter 11) would be retained, and an example of the development of successful new works, the two new apps for Very Hungry Caterpillar, would be offered.

    Part 3: Harnessing digital storytelling for pragmatic goals

    10. How Digital Storytelling is Used for Teaching, Marketing and Informing

    This new chapter combines three chapters previously found in the third edition: how to use digital storytelling to teach and train; to promote and advertise; and to inform. (Chapters 12, 13, and 14.) These three endeavors have many considerations in common and thus combining them into a single chapter works well. An overview of these commonalities would be offered and then each of the three fields would be discussed in more detail, with more recent examples given. Terms specific to each endeavor would be offered and defined, such as serious games, gamification, viral marketing, social marketing, advergaming, and locative journalism.

    Using Digital Storytelling to Teach and Train – Deleted as a chapter; incorporated into chapter 10

    Using Digital Storytelling for Promotion and Advertising -- Deleted as a chapter; incorporated into chapter 10

    Using Digital Storytelling to Inform -- Deleted as a chapter; incorporated into chapter 10

    Part 4: Media and models: under the hood

    11. Video Games

    Video games play a major role in the entertainment universe, but not all video games are alike. What are the unique characteristics of games and what are the major game categories? What role does narrative play in games? Examples would be updated and a new section would be added focusing on games that use virtual reality and augmented reality. The section on Toontown would be greatly reduced, since the game was taken offline in 2013, though a fan-made version of the game, Toontown Rewritten, is now available.

    12. The Internet

    This chapter examines the Internet as a platform both for entertainment and information, and promotion as well. Formerly Chapter 16 in the Third Edition, it would be significantly condensed, and newer examples would be offered. The sections on stickiness and on unique Internet genres would be retained.

    13. Mobile Devices and Apps

    It is only relatively recently that mobile devices have become platforms for entertainment and information, and that apps have been created to bring a world of entertainment and news to the public. Most of this chapter would be retained, though in condensed form from Chapter 17 in the Third Edition. A new section on voice enabled devices and apps would be included.

    Alternate Reality Games This chapter, formerly Chapter 18 in the Third Edition, would be deleted as a chapter and important material from it would be merged into Chapter 2.

    14. Interactive Cinema and Interactive Television Two chapters from the Third Edition, the chapters on iCinema and iTV, would be merged together. The development of content for both iTV and iCinema has enough in common to bring both arenas together in a single chapter. While iTV used to be an area of great interest to developers, very little is being produced in this field currently, so it does not justify having its own chapter. However, new cutting-edge developments in iCinema can be found on a regular basis. Thus, the focus of the chapter would be on iCinema, though it remains something of a niche genre.

    Interactive Television Deleted as a chapter and merged with chapter 14.

    15. Smart Toys and Life-Like Robots

    Smart toys and robots are a fascinating arena of Digital Storytelling. They can be so life-like that they raise perplexing questions about the nature of human-ness and the difference between a living creature and a mechanical construct. This chapter will be condensed and new examples of both smart toys and life-like robots will be offered.

    Electronic Kiosks -- deleted as a chapter, but some highly condensed material from it would be merged into Chapter 2

    Part 5: Immersive Environments

    This section is a brand-new addition to Digital Storytelling, but it will use some material from the former Chapter 22 in the Third Edition. There are so many new developments in this arena that it would be unwieldy to try to contain them in a single chapter.

    16. AR, VR and Mixed Reality

    This chapter would contain a description of each area; the rapid developments here; and fresh examples.

    17. Immersive Narratives and Environments

    Immersive narratives are experiences in which stories are embedded into a physical space, like an abandoned house. With Meow Wolf leading the way, new immersive experiences are being created that give audiences an active role in discovering the narrative. Escape rooms are also immersive environments, though the emphasis is on finding clues and solving an overall puzzle rather than story. Other types of immersive environments are pure artistic endeavors, such as the new Gustav Klimt exhibit in Paris.

    18. Immersion Via Movie Screens

    Digital Storytelling offers a variety of immersive experiences that utilize large screens, like the screens found in movie theatres. These include 4D dark rides, military simulations, multiplayer games and experiences where the audience controls the narrative with "pistols" that shoot laser beams. The types of projects described in this chapter emphasize the immersive experience, as opposed to the examples in Chapter 14, which emphasize interactivity.

    19. Immersive Theme Park Rides

    Traditionally, theme park rides strive to be immersive, but with the use of digital technology, the feeling of immersion can be increased exponentially. New examples will be given of such rides, including the flying ride through Hogwarts in the Harry Potter world at Universal Studios.

    Part 6: Career considerations

    20. Working as a Digital Storyteller

    This chapter would combine chapters 24 and 25 from the Third Edition. The former Chapter 25 would be deleted as a chapter and material from both chapters would be condensed. What kinds of jobs are available in Digital Storytelling? What are the advantages of working on staff as opposed to freelancing? How can you best showcase your talents? A new interview would be offered showing how the creation of a digital showcase led to a plum job.

    Creating Your Own Showcase -- deleted as a chapter, with material from it merged into Chapter 20

    About the Author

    Carolyn Handler Miller is one of the pioneering writers in the field of digital media, moving into the field after a successful career in TV and feature films. As a writer of New Media content, a profession she calls "digital storytelling," Carolyn’s projects include video games, virtual worlds, Web series; intelligent toy systems, and transmedia entertainment. She was a contributing writer for the classic "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?" series of games and wrote the interactive version of the original Toy Story movie for Disney and Pixar. She’s an international speaker on New Media (Rome, Paris, the UK, South Africa, Malaysia, and Australia) and works as a consultant on digital media projects for a roster of national and international clients.

    Subject Categories

    BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
    ART / Digital
    COMPUTERS / Programming / Games