Monday, July 7, 2014

The Infinite Storyteller

By Rich

On one of the author forums I follow, I came upon a topic that struck the depths of my writing soul. The topic leader wondered if the advent of CGI technology for movies and television programs had destroyed the art of storytelling. He believed the DVD and IMAX had eliminated the need for people to gather around an individual and listen to them reel off a tale of adventure while we created mind images to go along with the verbal soundtrack. Among the examples he gave of its demise were the latest round of James Bond movies that featured more explosions than dialogue.

The good news is most of those who responded declared the art of storytelling quite healthy, and I was one of them. Here was my answer to the topic in question.

"Have you watched The Fault Is In Our Stars or Life of Pi? Yes, Pi did have CGI but it's the story that got people to the theaters. Same thing for Fault, which had zero car chases and aerial battles with laser cats. As for the latest Bond movies -- the gadgets were used sparingly. In the end the Daniel Craig era dealt with a super spy who was starting to tire of the business.

"Go to a library in your area and watch the rapt attention of the kids who sit criss-cross applesauce while a librarian or other person keeps their attention during a story. Or watch a young child stare at you or a book as you read them a tale. Or, think of how your mind goes into an adventure your mate tells you over a pint at the pub. Hell, look at shows like Breaking Bad, Sherlock, or the fantastic Broadchurch.

"Storytelling is still around, just not in the same forms, and it'll change as we change."

I think of storytelling this way. I'm pretty sure the cave painters sulked the first time someone decided to write down a story on papyrus. And I'm guessing public orators almost soiled themselves when that pesky Gutenberg printed the first book. Like everything else throughout time, storytelling changes as society does. What we know today may be different in a generation or after the zombie apocalypse. Either way, the art of telling a tale will continue as long there are those who ignore CGI and make literary special effects of their own.

Do you think storytelling is dying?

Self-promotion alert: Join me this Saturday, July 12, from 5 to 7 p.m. at BookBar Denver, 4280 Tennyson Street.  I'll will be signing copies of Coffee Cup Tales and joining two other authors as we discuss our work.


Sarah Sullivan said...

I spend a lot of time thinking about how much our culture is changing vis a vis storytelling in this era of rapid technological innovation. Sometimes I really worry about the loss of language as I know it and I also recognize the language of today is quite different from the language of, say, Shakespeare. It's an evolution I suppose. My husband agrees with you that it's all ok and laughs at me for being like a 1950s parent with the Beatles. In any case, it is interesting to think about. Thanks for the post.

Rini K said...

I don't think CGI destroys storytelling - after all, movies and TV are a form of visual art. It limits imagination when compared to words describing something. People have different ways of taking in information - some learn better visually, some learn better by doing and others take it in better when they hear it. Same for storytelling, I feel they all have a place.

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