Covid-19 to pave digital paths for new-age storytelling – Times of India

With a range of storytelling tools at our disposal, stories can be disseminated instantly to global audiences on several platforms, from cinemas to streaming services, mobile phones to virtual reality (VR) headsets, graphic novels to interactive gaming.

The rise of digital platforms and global connectivity amid coronavirus outbreak means that geography will no longer be an issue for employment opportunities in the post-Covid world. Students are increasingly finding chances for online work and VR projects with teams from across different countries via Skype and other online platforms, acquiring a diverse mix of skillsets required for new media projects. What remains constant is the need to communicate stories about the human experience in all its diverse range and complexity, stories that are unique and have universal appeal.

Gregory Bennett, head, department of Digital Design and Visual Arts, Auckland University of Technology (AUT), New Zealand, says that the coronavirus crisis has provided exiting ways in which emerging technologies can be used for communicating narratives that are compelling for both, storytellers and their audiences.

Younger generations who are heavily exposed to video games, comics, and graphic novels, and the fragmented narratives of social media are attuned to very different modes of communication compared to older generations familiar with novels, broadcast television and feature films.

Bennett believes that telling a story using VR is a challenge as the language of traditional filmmaking is no longer possible in an immersive medium and there is a need to explore newer ways of storytelling.

“For the near future, the challenges of immersive technologies such as virtual, augmented and mixed reality, and the influence of gaming and interactive narrative on traditional linear storytelling will see the emergence of some transformative approaches to the field,” Bennett tells
Education Times.

New technologies provide different challenges and opportunities to tell stories in ways they have never been told and to reach new audiences. There are many career opportunities in which storytelling is a key component and the mediums such as film, television, communication design, experience design and digital media provide great possibilities for developing storytelling skills and testing them in dynamic and future-focused arenas.

Creative work, says Bennett, is a vocation and the industries are often highly competitive fields, so study in these areas requires a high degree of commitment and dedication.

“Art, design and film-related courses are all excellent ways into creative careers. NZ universities offer a range of courses in these areas along with film and television courses. Storytelling is at the base of all of these study areas – my advice is to choose the creative medium that one is most interested in. There are also creative writing courses as part of English degree programmes for students who are interested in focussing primarily on writing and these skills can be applied to a range of career options and creative industries that require storytelling,” he adds.

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