Several years back while I was working at Mozilla, I worked on a program to teach youth how to conceptualize immersive stories. At the time, we called these sorts of stories “Web Native Films”. I developed a curriculum that educators all over the world could use. It was called Storycamp.
I was pleased to use a piece of this immense library of my work again last week. I showed Episode 5: Web Native Film during the Engagement Community Call to kick off a conversation about immersive storytelling.
For the purposes of this conversation, “immersive storytelling” is an interactive, multimedia project that, in some way, manifests online.
This conversation is part of the redesign of Planet 4. Greenpeace storytellers imagine that as people show up to the new greenpeace.org, they are introduced to the community through some sort of immersive storytelling. This conversation was an attempt to bring people onto the same page as we begin to outline a vision.
Several people said that Greenpeacers don’t lack the ideas, but that Greenpeace never seems to have the capacity to execute big, innovative storytelling ideas. It seems that people want to innovate and experiment with user generated content or social media data, but these sorts of projects are hard to prioritize. There is never enough people, budget or time. In the case of Planet 4, I think it behooves us to make sure we have the people, the budget and the time.
How can we push the boundaries of someone’s experience with our organization in an online environment? How can we inspire a person to take real world action together with us?
These gigantic questions are reasons we’re starting to talk about “content” before the planning phase is even finished.
Just because we’re talking about immersive storytelling it doesn’t mean we’re forgetting the most important thing. The story should always come before the technology. Just because we can envision a fully immersive storytelling experience as part of Planet 4 doesn’t mean that we should implement that vision. Instead, we need to think about putting our audience at the heart.
We need to help people understand what their roles are in building the future. How we design the world is up to each and every one of us. How you personally interact with the world sends ripples out into the universe. We need to show that a billion acts of courage can lead to a better tomorrow, but also that there is a starting point for everyone and each one of us can contribute in a different way.
Read the notes from our conversation and join on August 16th at 5pm CEST, the next Engagement Community call. We will continue our discussion of story and give updates on the P4 project. In the meantime, if you have thoughts about immersive storytelling or how Greenpeace can use the Planet 4 project to bring people into the community, do use the comment section!