Storytelling Across Mediums: The Magic of Different Methods

There are many different mediums for storytelling that each have their own magical qualities. Read on to learn more about what makes each medium special.

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The beauty of storytelling is the different ways it allows creativity to be expressed. It allows new worlds to be opened up to audiences around the world. There is a lot that can be done with story telling in order to properly engage audiences. Specifically, there are different methods of storytelling that allow plots and details to be told in a variety of ways. There is a certain art to all of the methods of storytelling, and the differences between all of these are what makes each of them unique and special.

Books: Images Through Words

It is difficult to pinpoint one specific way of storytelling when it comes to books. After all there are many different types of books out that are written in a variety of ways. They can be long or short, and they can be meant for the young or meant for the old. What connects the masterful work of stories in books is the use of many details for imagery. Most books do not rely on literally drawing out or showing a situation. It is all about the art of telling and putting descriptions in the reader’s head.

"The Shining" book cover with a door that says 217 on it.
IMAGE VIA BOOKSHOP.ORG

For instance, in the book The Shining, Stephen King was able to instill fear in the reader without showing any horrific images. He had to use descriptions, and that was able to scar everyone enough to make the book an all-time classic. These deep descriptions that allow readers to imagine what is happening in this universe are what make books full of excitement, as well as create a different experience for every reader.

Movies: Vivid Visuals

When it comes to films, visual displays are key. This not only applies to the scenery and how everything looks, but also how characters are represented. It takes the skills of great actors to bring characters to life and make them rich human beings. Acting can make or break a film and can decide whether or not people are interested. In addition, as mentioned before, the various sequences, actions, and settings in the film should be at least a little eye-catching. When there is a visual medium, you have to make the most of it so that audiences can understand this world.

Still from "La La Land," with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling dancing.
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In La La Land, audiences are taken to a pristine-looking Los Angeles. It looks like a normal city, but something about the presentation gives extra pizzazz to what is set up. Also, in this film, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling give performances of a lifetime that make their characters, Mia and Sebastian, feel completely real. The audience could absolutely connect with them. La La Land is all about portraying the magic of cinema, and that is used to demonstrate how films can tell powerful stories.

Television Shows: Stretching Everything Out

Television series have a lot of the powers that are possessed by films, as they are similar mediums. However, the part that separates television from movies is the length and attention to detail. While movies are only a few hours long, television series span many episodes over many seasons. That can bring dozens of hours of content. Therefore, these series have room to share as much detail as possible and really stretch their stories to the furthest extent. No stone will be left unturned, and audiences can learn everything they would have wanted to learn about the story and then some.

Still from "The Sopranos" with male cast standing in a cemetery.
IMAGE VIA HBO

The Sopranos lasted for six seasons with 86 episodes. This mobster series achieved great acclaim for how its story was told. Audiences got to meet so many rich characters, see a lot of plot lines evolve, and have an overall arc that got more developments along the way. It is a great example of television storytelling as it was able to tell so much and give specific details on everyone’s lives. Nothing got muddled together because everything was spread out over all of these episodes. The Sopranos demonstrated the wonderful complexity of television and that a lot can be achieved with the medium.

Theater: In-Person Enchantment

The magic of theater comes from the fact that everything is live and in person. You are only a few feet from the actors, yet it feels like they are in an entirely different universe. The theater has to make the most of a limited stage, and the best plays and musicals are able to succeed at this task. They are supposed to make you forget you are looking at a stage due to the almost fantastical elements at play. Then, there are musicals, which are able to captivate you through song and make you think it is normal to break out in song. Anything is possible in the theater, as it brings you up close to something out of this world, yet you easily buy into it.

Poster of the musical "Wicked" with a women dressed in white whispering to a green woman dressed in black.
IMAGE VIA SAN FRANCISCO FOGHORN/FLICKR

One of the most successful stage musicals of all time is Wicked, the prequel to The Wizard of Oz. In this musical, you are magically transported to the world of Oz. People are flying, they are changing their form, and they break out into majestic songs at the drop of a hat. Even though you are witnessing this in person in a world where you certainly do not experience all of that, logic is able to fade away in the theater. Stories are able to be told through the amount of power used and the dramatic nature of the actors and the sets. On-screen work is also capable of transporting you, but the theater is able to go even bigger and surround you with the essence of electricity.

Video Games: You Are The Main Character

While video games are often written off as being for children, they are actually fantastic storytelling devices for all ages. The best part is that you get to help choose how the story goes. While most of what happens is already written out, it is the player who decides how the journey works and how long it will take to reach the end. It may be a struggle, but video games allow anyone to be a storyteller. In addition, this method helps people feel more connected to the story, as they are literally a part of it. They are a character that is a part of this world, and they are the ones dealing with all of the struggles that are a part of this world. That is what draws people in, and it is what helps video games weave a thrilling tale.

Still from "The Last of Us" showing the two main characters.
IMAGE VIA SONY INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT

A game that has transported people worldwide is the dystopian video game The Last of Us. Players are taken to an apocalyptic world in a fight for survival and helping others. They are given tasks, missions, adventures, and fights in order to help this story move along. The game became so popular because people loved the story that was told and how they were able actually to feel like they were inside the game. While we are not currently in an apocalyptic world, the emotionally gripping background of what is happening is what makes players feel like they are literally in a fight for survival. Good video games allow people to have a fun time. Great video games tell a fantastic story where you are a key part of the epic journey.

There is no one way of storytelling that is better than all of the rest. Every way to tell a story has its merits, and that is why all of these mediums are so popular. These mediums have each captivated millions of people who are always coming back for more, which is a sign that the storytellers are doing their jobs correctly.


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