Collaborative storytelling w/Vines

Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

(This post is a bit of a departure from what normally appears here, so bear with me.)

Over lunch today, Brad and I were talking about the potential of Vines (or other similar tools?) to be used in distributed collaborative storytelling.

One idea would be that a group could outline a story and then each person could make a Vine for their portion. (The plot points would have to be quite granular since Vines are only 6 seconds long. :) This could be done via a Google spreadsheet with people signing up and later posting links for their segments.

The resulting story could then be displayed on a web page as a series of embedded Vines (or they could be compiled into one combined movie). If the group was big enough, multiple people could develop out different versions of each segment, and end viewers could choose their own adventure. Perhaps different plot point versions could even be developed.

Brad suggested this be tried with a well known story like something from Shakespeare. I was thinking of it more for original stories (well, as original as any story is).

One question I had was how you’d maintain character continuity with different people contributing. Brad suggested props, e.g. “the guy with the baseball hat is always the doctor.” Or you could go by color, e.g. “the guy in the red shirt is always Joe.” I guess you could also use name tags or some other device.

I’m wondering if anyone’s done anything like this before and if so, whether there are any examples, tools, or suggestions.

6 Comments on Collaborative storytelling w/Vines

By Alan Levine (@cogdog) on May 20, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Well, you can use anything to tell a story; Vine, an old tennis shoe. It’s all about the context and the prompt. The thing to ask about Vine, besides its short bite portion of a story, how does its looping motion lend itself to a story moment?

My thought is that the repeated evenness of the media ( a 6 second looping video) would get a bit monotonous in a longer string, not much to give a change of pace. If it were mine, I might think of a possible range of media one might use for a segment of a story, and thus maybe string them together more like a rebus — an image, a short sound clip, a vine?

If its free form, and just building on the end, well you get stuff w/o much shape. A scene or segment of an existing story might give it more structure, or something that was written and chunked in advance.

Or try this, segment a story into different chunks, and give people the option to do each chunk in a different format. Spin the wheel, and randomly sequence them? Or allow story creators to pick one from a bank?

By karen on May 20, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Agreed. The advantage of Vines to me is that they are quick and easy. I’ve seen lots of folks do Vines who haven’t been willing to do other types of media.

By Alan Levine (@cogdog) on May 20, 2014 at 6:19 pm

(Choking on something in my throat). Sigh,

On the desire for “easy”

By karen on May 21, 2014 at 10:25 am

Sometimes I get tired of projects that are so “innovative”/interesting/not easy/fill-in-your-choice-of-descriptors that only about 10 people in the world can seem to get it up to work on them.

Sometimes you have to meet people where they are and then move forward with them. If someone doesn’t do this, our society is really screwed. But that’s another whole blog post I guess.

By brad on May 21, 2014 at 10:48 am

To be clear,

1) The vines are not to loop. They are six seconds pieces of video that are to be stiched together to make a movie.

2) Easy, in the sense that anyone can contribute one or more six seconds pieces of video.

I imagine each piece (6 seconds (or less)) is scripted with or without a speaking part — could be “wind in a tree at night” or dialog or whatever the director wants.

(I imagine the director to be the one writing the script/shot by shot.

I also imagine that there will be competition among pieces. For piece n, there could n possible choices. Editing is just picking the pieces. Hit a button and watch the result.

By Alan Levine (@cogdog) on May 21, 2014 at 11:58 am

@karen I’d like to think the internet is big enough for both and everything in between.

@brad I get it. I’m a fan.

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