Storytelling: Reimagining The Experience Through Different Media

November 10, 2017

Imagine a short playing on screen, a speaker and a live band all happening at the same time. Now imagine that scenario isn’t a total cluster. Picture all of these formats working together to tell one story. Teasing out the various elements of storytelling — setting, characters, plot, conflict, themes and narrative — in unique and powerful ways. The short brings the setting to life visually while the band crescendoes to bring your emotional self along on the roller coaster toward the resolution. The speaker becomes your central character, narrating the ride and offering unparalleled ways of building the story through dialogue and plot development.

The above scenario isn’t as intimidating as you may think — certainly not if you attended last week’s Pop-Up Magazine at the Fitzgerald. The creators of Pop-Up Magazine have reimagined storytelling by creating “the world’s first live magazine, created for a stage, a screen, and a live audience.”

Notable writers, journalists and everyday people with great stories took the mic for two hours. Their stories were vividly brought to life through animation and illustration on the screen behind them and other interactive elements — dancers on stage, a live soprano, a four-piece band, “graffiti” around the theater, laughter and more.

We learned about the highest court in the land (aka a basketball court, above the Supreme Court), watched a high-speed chase unfold, did karaoke to the most annoying song ever, fell in love with a couple’s love story, took a deep dive into the world of NYC graffiti and got familiar with the diva of all divas, Maria Callas.

Even the advertisements took the same format and received the same applause from the audience. There was even a well-known marketing automation company that comped a free drink for everyone via email as a way to demonstrate rewarding your online customers.

The evening got me thinking about how we tell stories at Fast Horse, whether it’s our clients’ stories or our own. Our work typically spans media, optimized for the format and platform it’s experienced on. But how often do multiple formats pieced together make up a singular experience? What expertise is needed to make someone a storyteller? Does today’s audience — with our cell phones and constant multi-tasking — need multi-format storytelling to stay engaged? These are all questions I was left chewing on as the night wrapped, thinking about how this experience could help me engage audiences in new, memorable ways.

All in all, the night was like nothing I had ever experienced before.

Curious to check it out for yourself? Well, you can’t. Each show “self-destructs” after it’s complete — never to be seen again in-person or online. You’ll have to see the traveling act, and its new talented storytellers, next time it’s in town.