Storytelling for New Technologies and Platforms
A Writer’s Guide to Theme Parks, Virtual Reality, Board Games, Virtual Assistants, and More
Want to know what it’s like to write for a theme park attraction? Or an interactive toy? Or a virtual reality game? Wait – those tell stories? And there are jobs for people who write them? Thanks to technology, interactive products and live experiences can now engage us with memorable characters and exciting adventures that were once destined only for the cinema.
Storytelling for New Technologies and Platforms: A Writer’s Guide to Theme Parks, Virtual Reality, Board Games, Virtual Assistants, and More is a handbook for writers, students, producers, teachers, scholars, career changers, early tech adopters, and just about anyone who loves story and technology. As a collection of articles from some of the best creative writers in their medium, this book will prepare content creators of tomorrow to tackle some of today's most exhilarating creative challenges found on a screen ... or off!
- Expert advice from several industry professionals who have worked for some of the world’s biggest tech and interactive companies.
- Best practices that not only guide writers on how to apply their craft to new fields, but also prepare them for the common ambiguity they will find in corporate and start-up environments.
- Breakdown of platforms that shows how tech capabilities can fulfill content expectations and how content can fulfill tech expectations.
- Basic storytelling mechanics customized to today’s popular technologies, live experiences, and traditional game platforms.
Table of Contents
Preface: Why this Book
Why These Contributors Were Chosen
Who This Book Is Meant For
How This Book Is Organized
Location: Shared vs. Exclusive
Social Nature: Social vs. Autonomous
Exclusive + Autonomous
Exclusive + Interdependent
Shared + Autonomous
Shared + Interdependent
A Final Note
1: “Virtual Assistants and Storytelling” by Flint Dille and Zane Dille
What’s Coming Next
2: “Writing for Toys – Actually a Job” by Rob Auten
How Toys Tell Stories
Play is Personal
Knowing the Audience
Every Player Matters
Extending the Experience
3: “Approaching Virtual Reality Storytelling” by Sarah Beaulieu
Identify the Narrative Means
Immersion Has Its Limits
Users Are the Core of Any VR Experience
A Ghost Story
Know the Limits of Your Genre
Environment as a Narrative Pillar
Locomotion in VR
Driving the User’s Gaze
The Question of Interface and Transitions
Direct Environment and Collective Experience
Extend Your Writer’s Skills
4: “Building Narrative in Mobile Games” by Bay Anapol
Creating an Immersive World
Problems & Solutions
It’s a Small World, After All
Getting the Job
Most importantly, be flexible. Be understanding. Never stop learning.
5: “Storytelling and Board Games” by Maurice Suckling
Tailored Storytelling Games
Systemic Storytelling Games
Other Games with Narrative Elements
Further Discussion and Guidance for Writers
6: “Storytelling in Hybrid Games” by James Laks
Mechanics and Systems
7: “The Shape of Story” by Matt Parker
There’s a Job for That?
The Design Process
Working with Stakeholders
The Attraction Experience
The Preshow Experience
The Ride Experience
The Post-Show and Gift Shop
The Future of Themed Entertainment
Agency & Immersion
Your Big Break
8: “Red Flags” by Ross Berger
Red Flag #1: One Size Fits All (Not Really)
Physical Limits of Technology
Red Flag #2: Ignoring Consumer Expectations
Red Flag #3: Focusing on the Holes in the Roof When the House is on Fire
Red Flag #4: Cashing in the Chips Too Late
Red Flag #5: No Vision
Red Flag #6: Feeding the Beast Poorly
Red Flag #7: Chemistry Fit … or Lack Thereof
On That Note …
Ross Berger is a writer, narrative designer, and transmedia strategist based in Los Angeles. He is the author of Dramatic Storytelling & Narrative Design: A Writer’s Guide to Video Games & Transmedia (CRC Press, 2020), a "how to" for fledgling game writers and screenwriters. His screenwriting credits include: Law & Order and the Webby-Award winning LonelyGirl15. He also served as the supervising producer for the social media/television experience The Runner. Ross has also worked extensively in virtual reality as a writer for the Oculus Rift launch title Farlands and the award-winning thriller Eclipse: Edge of Light for the Google Daydream and Oculus Go. As a narrative designer in the video game industry, he has written AAA games for Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and many others. Ross is also the author of short stories including "Football with Leatherman" (2020) and "Evie A.I." (2021), both published by TulipTree Publishing in its Stories That Need to Be Told anthologies.
A graduate of Brandeis (BA, Philosophy) and Columbia (MFA, Playwriting) universities, Ross is a member of the Writers Guild of America and the Television Academy.