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Interactive Storytelling 101 Workshop Resources

co-hosted by Laurie Sumiye and Annie Berman - UnionDocs, Sun March 24, 2013


  1. SLIDES from workshop

  2. Interactive Storytelling 101
    Interactive Storytelling 101
  3. Interactive Storytelling 101
    Interactive Storytelling 101
  4. Interactive Storytelling 101
    Interactive Storytelling 101
  5. LINKS from workshop

  6. Excerpt from Paul Chan's Badlands: "

    Then there’s the new media tendency to create e-books that are actually interactive apps, with all the bells and whistles of 90s CD-ROMs, a mania of animated distractions that seem to say, “Look! Reading doesn’t have to be a chore!” Which ends up obliterating the activity of reading itself.

    All of this is just an identity crisis in the gestating infancy of the e-book form. At Badlands we recognize this infancy as a moment of freedom, an opportunity to re-imagine how text, image, and sound can come together to expand the fundamental activity of reading. What that actually looks and feels like is the question we are asking, in the form of the books we make."
  7. Mediums constantly evolve, as we learn from the book
  8. Convergence is Real, as we see in children's books for the ipad, comic books, artist's e-books, theater
  9. PopOut! The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  10. “Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.”

    -- Chinese Proverb
  11. What is interactive design?

    “Designing interactive products to support the way people communicate and interact in their everyday and working lives. It’s about creating user experiences that enhance and augment the way people work, communicate and interact.”

    -Interactive Design: Beyond Human-Computer

    In interactive design, a participant is called a “user”. “Audience” tends to suggest passive media consumption so I am going to say “user” instead of “audience.”

  12. What is an interactive story?

    From the moment you enter the site, the story begins. What we call ‘story’ is the entire story experience, it is a story space. It’s theater. A set. The aesthetics - sights and sounds set expectation. And you enter into that world.

    What it is not: a grid of embedded videos on a webpage

    Interactive Stories are fluid and transmutable:

    -- multiple entry points

    -- multiple exit points

    -- plastic by nature

    -- gives the audience control

    -- pacing and time commitment is determined by the audience

    -- telling multiple stories from multiple perspectives

    -- story experience changes for every person, each and every time they engage/participate it is unique

    There are almost limitless choices an audience might expect or want


    Good stories have:

    -- memorable characters

    -- dramatic tension

    -- agency

    -- plot

    -- structure

    -- satisfying payoff (twist ending, happy ending, resolution of conflict etc.)

    Good interactive stories also have:

    -- a guide, either in the form of navigation or map because it is the equivalent of a self-guided tour

    -- a premise or concept to frame the whole experience, otherwise it dissolves into a random exercise of clicking on buttons

    -- attention paid to the actions and choices of the user, so they are clear and enticing.

    -- a bit of mystery and suspense (like any good story!)

    -- a goal or objective for the user, often works better to be defined by the director but can be user-driven.

    Answer these questions:

    1. Choose a story idea that you want to turn into an interactive project. Describe the interactive story (not the film) in one sentence.

    2. Why should this story be interactive?

    3. Who is your audience? Really. This is not everyone.

    4. What are your goals? (educational, activism, entertainment, outreach)


    1. What elements are at your disposal?

    Describe what kind of media you want to use, a video, animation, audio, photo etc. to tell this part of the story.


  16. Interactive Story Models differ from the traditional, Linear Storytelling (films and books), point A to B.

    Let’s begin thinking of structures spatially.

    The linear, as a “hallway”

    -- it’s like going on a roller coaster ride

    -- one way in, one way out

    -- temporal by nature

    -- the audience experience has a consistent and fixed time commitment (e.g. 2 hr. long film) You understand what it is. Relax into the space, and enjoy it.

    -- audience experiences the complete story the same way each time

  17. LABYRINTH story model