Last year, I was approached by a major publisher to write a book about new forms of storytelling. The deal was weak and ironically was so traditional that I wasn’t able to experiment with the form of the book. So I turned down the offer and wrote a book in tweets. Using the limitations of twitter, each page of the book was written in 140 characters or less. The book will be published in a limited edition run of a 140 copies. In addition I’ll sit down for a convo with everyone that buys the book. For 30 minutes we’ll discuss their projects, emerging trends or have a casual conversation – the choice is theirs.
The book is the basis for a course I teach at Columbia called, “Building Storyworlds: the art, craft & biz of storytelling in 21c.” In the end it’s really an experiment in scarcity and abundance as each page of the book says “set this book free please retweet.” I wrote about it in the Summer issue of Filmmaker Magazine.
Using knives, tweezers and surgical tools, Brian Dettmer carves one page at a time. Nothing inside the out-of-date encyclopedias, medical journals, illustration books, or dictionaries is relocated or implanted, only removed.
Dettmer manipulates the pages and spines to form the shape of his sculptures. He also folds, bends, rolls, and stacks multiple books to create completely original sculptural forms.
“My work is a collaboration with the existing material and its past creators and the completed pieces expose new relationships of the book’s internal elements exactly where they have been since their original conception,” he says.
I’m a fan of people caught in real moments and especially ones that leave room for interpretation. Martin Parr worked for over a decade to photograph bored couples all of which he had no relationship to. The photos where released in a book in 1993 called Bored Couples.
Alice in Wonderland meets the iPad. The other day I had a meeting at a major publisher to discuss this very thing. Not Alice in Wonderland but the way in which books can become more interactive, social and engaging across devices. Alice for the iPad just scratches the surface.
With the excitement building around Apple’s announcement of a tablet device rumored to be called the iSlate – I hope in 2010 we’ll see digital magazines and books step into the transmedia fold. The integration between apps, APIs, and a strong movement towards standardizing “activity streams” across social services present fertile ground for transmedia storytelling. Character extensions, augmented reality, supporting materials, back stories, experience hyperlinking that ties into online / offline events not to mention real-time interactions between readers all are fuel for rich transmedia experiences. A re-design of what a book and / or magazine experience can be, have the potential to shake some of the issues that the publishing industry has been struggling with lately. Could Apple’s announcement and new tablet usher in a next gen of a print experience? Hardware has the potential to change consumption behavior. It also has the opportunity to establish new revenue streams something that the publishing industry desperately needs. But the content needs to be something that readers will seek out and most importantly something that creates a quality experience while containing a strong value proposition. Only time will tell if readers are ready and if the publishing industry is up for the challenge of innovating a print experience that defies convention.
The following vid shows some nice design concepts around a tablet and the rethinking of a magazine. What I’d like to see is a rethink on the content, interactions and transmedia extensions – it seems like this could be the prefect time to rethink the digital print experience. To me the real excitement is how a tablet can become a storyworld gateway and in many cases it won’t be what the editor places on screen – it will be the connections between.
This is a place where I collect the things that I <3. It's a mashup of tech, culture, music, films, games and anything else that catches my attention.
My name is Lance Weiler. I enjoy telling stories across mediums and devices. I've written, designed, built, directed, and run various film, tv, gaming and immersive storytelling projects. I'm a columnist for Filmmaker Magazine, where I write about the impact of technology on entertainment. And for the last few years, I've been teaching a course at Columbia University on the art, craft & biz of storytelling in 21c.
Why Text of Light?
The name is a reference to a film by experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage. "Text of Light" (1974) is a wonderful film by Brakhage, who during his forty year career made over 200 films of varying length.