Having reached the point of a full dozen of episodes of my podcast, the Evolving Media podcast, I’m becoming more and more convinced that the storytellers of the future need a very special skillset.
Since I launched the podcast back in late November last year, I’ve talked to some brilliant and highly-skilled and creative people about a lot of stuff – artificial intelligence, Twitch as a platform, the Collective Journey and the Narrative Reversal, the ins and outs of Gen Z, e-sports as a phenomenon, podcasts as viable launching points for larger IP:s, how to engage with audiences early on in projects, how to design first person transformation journeys… we’ve talked about a lot of interesting stuff. Of course, there’s more to come.
All of these talks shine a light on the fact that media, storytelling and producing are evolving at a blistering pace. At the same time, many of the foundations and pillars of the media industry remain in place, unable or unwilling to move with the times. The fact is that if these don’t decide to move on their own, they will be moved by the unstoppable force of the only thing that gives them a right to exist; the audiences.
There exists an insatiable hunger for engaging narratives and content. This hunger is combined with an increasing scepticism regarding the motives and the goals of the media providers and a growing need for stories that let the audience in and give them the possibility to engage with each other and with the narrative.
While these might seem at odds with each other – the skepticism vs the need to engage deeper with a narrative – they are both grounded in a fundamental need to know what is real and what is not, a continuous search for authenticity and realness. It really doesn’t matter if the provider of the narrative you love is purely in it for the money – you might not love it, but at least you can be certain of the provider’s motives and goals, and can position yourself accordingly.
For producers of stories and content, the next few years are going to be extremely important. Those who manage to understand and embrace the volatile nature of a global audience and integrate that volatility into their own work – keeping parts of their output suitably flexible and possible to adapt, while still being tied to a solid foundation of a canon, a back story, a reliable story world or the like – will be able to achieve considerable success.
Technology is only part of this – an enabler, as it were. Understanding, embracing and fully exploiting the possibilities technology gives to the audience, and working with them to give them a fuller and more long-lasting experience that they can engage with and be loyal to – that is what will separate the wheat from the chaff in the next few years.
I would encourage you all to have a listen to the podcast series – and if you find an episode you really enjoy, please share onwards and rate it! And as always – comments are more than welcome below.