This week I’m attending STC Summit 2014, the annual conference of the Society for Technical Communication. Where feasible, I’ll take notes from the sessions I attend, and share them on this blog. All credit goes to the presenters, and any mistakes are mine.
This session promises to offer The Content Wrangler at his best: Scott Abel on “The Power of Emotion: The Seven Archetypes of Video Storytelling”.
We’re wired for stories. Human beings are designed to consume stories. It’s how we understand things.
Stories are an art form. They’re often performed, and it’s the emotion in the story that makes us remember them.
Seven recurring themes
Scott showed us examples videos that harness the 7 recurring themes or story archetypes:
- Overcoming the monster. David and Goliath, good versus evil, nature versus machine.
- The rebirth, revival, renaissance.
- The question. A mission to change things for the better.
- The journey, or the return. Moving from one idea to another, or growth.
- Rags to riches. Overcoming adversity or poverty.
- Tragedy. An unhappy ending, or a twist that you don’t expect, almost always involving the main character.
- Comedy. Humour, sometimes with a little satire.
We also saw a cute hybrid: a musical comedy
Scott says we need to think about how we’re going to tell stories in our new world of interconnectedness. Send out our message on all channels – the omni-channel approach.
See the retelling of Cinderella in the video below: “Transmedia Storytelling” – liquid content that’s adaptable for distributing to different media. A different way of telling stories altogether.
Cinderella 2.0: Transmedia Storytelling
Don’t be afraid to use emotion to engage your audience!
This was a cute, amusing and engaging session. 🙂
Here’s a tip that technical writers will love! You can start a YouTube video at a specific point, by including the time-from-start in the URL or as a parameter in an embedded video.
Let’s say the sales team has produced a video introducing a number of new features in your product. Or an engineer has covered a suite of classes in an API. As a technical writer, you are writing about just one of those features, or just a subset of the classes. So, you need to start the video at the right point. Otherwise you’ll lose your readers!
In the examples below, I’ve used an excellent video from Chris Broadfoot, a Google engineer who is showing developers how to add spiffy map features to their Android apps using the Google Maps Android API utility library. I’m currently writing the documentation which focuses on just one of the utilities Chris covers: the Bubble Icon Factory. Does that sound like fun? It is! Watch the video to see what it’s about. 🙂
Using a URL to start a YouTube video at a specific point
Add the ‘t‘ parameter with a value in minutes and seconds. For example, this YouTube URL starts the video one and a half minutes into the story, where Chris talks about bubble icons:
Starting an embedded YouTube video at a specific point
Use the ‘start‘ parameter and specify the number of seconds from the start of the video.
This is the code to embed a video using an iFrame, and start it at the 90-second point. Please assume the following code is within an HTML iframe element:
width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/nb2X9IjjZpM?start=90" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen
Because this blog is on WordPress, I’ve used a WordPress macro to embed a video on this page and start it at the 90-second point. This is the code:
And here’s the result:
The YouTube documentation has a list of other useful parameters, including ‘end‘ for stopping the video at a given time, and ‘rel‘ for showing or suppressing the list of related videos when yours stops playing.