Why ACOSCast?

Some notes I put together recently about the rationale behind the podcast, publishing here, so I can point others to it:

I want to understand the techniques of storytelling, so that all of us, both as creators and as audiences, can become more literate in storytelling craft. Only by doing so, do I believe that we can better decipher the intent behind the stories being told – and be more effective in communicating with each other.

In each episode, I’ll be exploring a technique or element of storytelling craft from across TV, film, radio and digital media, and considering its’ pros and cons. What does the use of each tool allow a storyteller to do? What effect does it have on those receiving the story? And what are the implications, and consequences, both intended and unintended, when these techniques are used?

Perhaps more importantly, in the wake of Facebook’s ‘fake news’ scandals, and the apparent existential crises within traditional newsrooms, journalists are increasingly looking towards narrative and ‘web native’ storytelling to enthral audiences, build attention, and if you’re lucky, inform, educate and entertain.

It’s for this latter reason, especially, that I believe it’s not good enough just to let ‘storytelling’ remain a buzzword. To let it be dropped into conversations, marketing spiel and job descriptions, without an understanding of what the term actually means, without an appreciation and knowledge for the craft which it entails. Coherent storytelling, quality journalism, and thus a well-informed society, is too crucial to be thrown onto the bonfire of vapidity.

Good storytelling, to me, has an intent, a design, behind it. In visual media, use of lighting, dialogue, sound effects, location, even casting, are all chosen with an intent, to convey a certain message, provoke a particular feeling, understanding, or state in the audience. Even when actors are cast ‘against type’, for example, that is saying something itself.

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