Digital Storytelling: Bringing Narratives to Life

Digital Storytelling

“Once upon a time….” 

These four words, at the start of a sentence, can transport you into a faraway kingdom where you witness fantastical events unfold. That is the power of storytelling. The ability to unlock the doors of imagination and let the winds of creativity blow inside.

Stories have been a part of our lives since time immemorial. Everybody loves a good story. Reading, writing, or telling stories is a way for people to connect with something beyond their daily lives. We grew up listening to our grandmothers telling us folktales on lazy afternoons during summer vacations, drifting off to sleep with those tales weaving their way into our dreams. Our young minds buzzed with excitement when reading fairytales where the good always wins over evil. All of us have fond memories of picking up comic books after school and flipping through the adventures of our favorite childhood heroes immortalized in illustration. We sat around the bonfire at camp, exchanging scary stories that sent chills down our spines. We read truly inspiring stories about Anne Frank and Helen Keller that taught us about courage and making it against the odds.


Stories can instill fear, deliver morals, spring joy, and bring tears. In short, they can make us feel all the feels. 

There are many ways to tell a story, but today we’ll talk about digital storytelling. 

What is Digital Storytelling?

The digital era has heralded a new wave of change in the way stories are exchanged in the modern day. Digital storytelling is the art of presenting ideas or narrating stories using various digital or computer-based tools. The practice involves using multimedia elements such as audio, video, images, gifs, et al. to bring narratives to life. It’s a way for people to create and share stories that reach a larger audience. The use of interactive elements such as immersive maps, 3D view, AR, and VR also add to the allure of the stories.

Digital storytelling itself is not a new fad. In fact, the practice of combining digital media tools with creative writing as an outlet for gripping narratives started in the early 1990s. The advent of new technologies and ease of accessibility to media tools since then have allowed for more progressions in the field of digital storytelling. 

Human experiences have, for a large part, played a crucial role in storytelling since ancient times. Whether in the form of cave drawings by ancient tribes or historical accounts preserved on paper, stories have been influenced deeply by the lives of people at every point in time.

Similarly, the human experience in the digital world has shaped the stories of today. 

Digital vs. Traditional Storytelling

Countless stories have been told and retold through the centuries, with liberal embellishments at every telling. Mythological tales and legends were sought to share morals and principles that governed the lives of the people of those days. Old wives’ tales and superstitions were passed down generation after generation, born out of a need to caution fellow humans about natural phenomena that were unexplained at the time. Storytelling has evolved much over the years and is still evolving.

Traditional storytelling techniques involved the use of singular mediums such as print or verbal narration. The stories often follow the narrative from one point of view. The basic structure of the story has little room to evolve. Hence, the storyline remains one-dimensional and flat. The story takes more time to unfold in more traditional forms of storytelling. Plot points may take longer to resolve. While it makes for impactful experiences, these are limited to local audiences.

In stark contrast, digital storytelling offers innumerable opportunities to narrate accounts from many different perspectives within a single story. The use of various forms of media enlivens and enriches the storyline, ensuring maximum impact in a matter of a few minutes. With digital storytelling, the narrative undergoes a massive transformation as it changes the way the audience consumes stories. The audience is no longer limited to one location. 

The sky’s the limit when it comes to digital storytelling, with new technologies being invented and made accessible every day.

Why Digital Storytelling?

Today, smartphones and tablets with access to high-speed internet mean that you can connect to the whole wide world with a single tap. Information on anything under the sun, and even beyond, is within reach in mere seconds. You can scroll through vast digital libraries and access books from your screen at any time of the day or night. Print is becoming obsolete, even as digital media grows with innovations. 

But beyond the digital boom, you now carry in your pocket a tiny but powerful device that can be used to click pictures, shoot videos, draw, edit, create and post your content. A few decades ago, it took months and bulky pieces of equipment to do what you can do in minutes without breaking a sweat. 

In an era of instant gratification, digital storytelling offers you the ability to create rather than simply consume content. You can share your stories with the world. 

Uses of Digital Storytelling

Technology plays a vital role in education. Digital storytelling is widely used in schools and colleges by teachers and students alike. It improves digital literacy. Digital stories help present conceptual information in a way that makes it easier to grasp. 

Besides education, digital storytelling plays an important role in spreading awareness about health issues, social causes, and climate change. Brands use digital stories to connect with their customers. Digital storytelling in the form of user-generated content is becoming increasingly commonplace online. Advertisements leverage digital storytelling to showcase products and services in a creative and appealing way. Even museums and art galleries use digital storytelling to make community history, culture, and art more accessible. 

The applications of digital storytelling in the modern world are endless.

Guide to Compelling Digital Storytelling

Stories have the power to move us. Digital storytelling is all the more compelling because of the multimedia tools used to convey a story. This shapes the story in a multidimensional way that resonates on many different levels. 

If you’re looking to dip your toes into digital storytelling, here are a few steps that can bring your vision to completion:

Ideas:

Take your time and assemble a few working ideas to select from before you choose the right one. This will be your starting point, so make sure to pick a concept that piques your interest. 

Research:

You need to study the topic of your story carefully and learn as much as possible about it. Explore the subject and create a bank of information to use while creating your story.

Outline and write:

Now, it’s time to start creating a storyline and building the narrative for your story. You can use a mindmap to put characters and events in place. Chart the course from the idea to the finale by writing your script.

Storyboard:

Take the narrative up a notch by including images, videos, music, and infographics. Thus, create a storyboard/blueprint for your digital story. This will guide your decisions about the placement of different forms of media within the storyline.

Collection:

The storyboard serves as a guide for collecting the digital material for your story. It is essential to keep track of the attributions, usage rules, and citation information if you have to access online content, free or paid.

Create:

This is the magical moment you’ve been waiting for; for now, you can put everything together and watch your story take shape. Blend images together, seamlessly transition between video clips, incorporate sound effects and text to create your masterpiece. 

Post:

You can post your created web series online on a host website. Leverage social media channels to share your story far and wide.

Rizzle series for digital storytelling

Virtual experiences are an essential part of our everyday lives. We spend our days scrolling endlessly through social media. Digital storytelling has found its way into the virtual space with the rise of short video apps. You can easily create short videos with comedy skits or emotionally charged exchanges for Facebook, Instagram Reels, and Youtube Shorts. Rizzle is a helpful video maker app with terrific inbuilt tools to help you get started with digital storytelling.

Some stories are complex and unfold slowly. They have tantalizing suspense, shocking twists and turns, drama, and storylines. Mere minutes can’t capture all of these aspects. Rizzle Series is a feature that lets you watch and even create and star in your own series. 

Conclusion    

Digital storytelling sparks creativity and innovation. It opens your mind to new possibilities and novel ways of experiencing stories. It’s a great way to break away from the mundane and challenge yourself to create compelling digital stories with massive impact.

Digital storytelling can be a compelling form of communication, creation, and collaboration for everyone. 

If this blog inspired you to craft your own digital story, download Rizzle today and start your journey!

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1 Comment

  1. RAVI KUMAR

    Super, fantastic, creative. All the best

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