Wanted: storytellers for the web and for brands

Last night I was channel flicking across Anthony Lilley’s Huw Weldon lecture abotu interactivity and the future of television which was broadcast on BBC2 – I can’t find a video cast of it but here’s a reference about the content.  He demolishes the notion that TV is about channels and argues that the future of TV lies in the creation of programming which create interactivity or at least much deeper involvement than the current buzz word ‘engagement’ would suggest. What TV can do better than user generated content is to tell stories.

Which ties in neatly with the strike of the storytellers of Hollywood – namely the screenwriters who are worried that if they don’t take royalties off internet broadcasts and DVDs then their future is uncertain. It seems strange to me that storytelling can be so central to engaging audiences but that the storytellers have such little power that they need to be unionized. One of the challenges of the new media is the unbundling of storytelling so that you don’t need a TV company or film studio to find a creative team to execute the story. Are storytellers as beleagured as they sound or is the corporate gravy train sliding to a standstill. Certainly they ought to be well placed.   The endangered species seems to me to be the miniaturists namely advertising creatives who have to somehow engage us long enough to namecheck the brands and to create a positive association. There will always be a role for this kind of miniaturism but if you can’t get a mass audience then you really can’t justify the origination costs. Enter a different kind of content creator who engages people for hours where brands express opinions, self parody and promote their passions rather than themselves. This is starting to happen all over. It just isn’t at all clear whether this isn’t best done inside the client organisation- agencies and intermediaries needn’t apply. So  those screenwriters who get fed up with the current dispute – start posting your resumes to large corporate clients.

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