I have to admit I was initially intrigued by a video series about storytelling posted by Henry Jenkins.
Kurt Reinhardt, who produced this series, apparently, has indeed gathered some really smart people to talk about Storytelling, among them Clay Shirky from NYU. These are no dopes.
Unwittingly, however, Reinhardt has produced an instruction video on how not to make a video for online, or anywhere else for that matter.
For a video that is suppose to explain the essence of storytelling in video, it is absolutely unwatchable.
There is a reason talking heads donât work in online video and here is exhibit A.Â Watch the whole thing, if you can focus your attention for all 8 minutes, then tell me what you come away with.
Ironically, for a video that is supposed to be about storytelling, it is a stellar example of terrible storytelling itself.
First, letâs rip it apart for the production values â or lack thereof.
Whoever shot this thing had no idea how to tell a story with a video camera.
The subjects are all staring off into space somewhere.Â Online video is a very personal experience. Itâs one on one. Itâs me and the person talking to me.Â Most of the subjects are looking at something a bit off to the left of the camera, but I have no idea what it is. When someone is talking to me, I want eye contact. But thatâs the least of it.
The video is nothing but a string of soundbites, all bludgeoned together. If someone had printed this as a written story, and said, âhere, read this â itâs a bunch of quotes strung together from smart people. You figure it outâ, we would all lookÂ at it and say âthis sucksâ. Just because itâs video, it does not give you a license to do that. Which is what this person has done.
The âcut awaysâ, (Clay Shirkyâs cast!) are amateurish and distracting. I remember the thing on his arm more than I remember what he said, which is a mistake.
This thing needs a complete rethink.
It needs a narrative thread. It needs some intelligent writing.
You canât just throw a bunch of badly shot soundbites together and call it a day.
And you certainly canât call it an instructional video.
And Henry, for crying out loud, if you want to see some videos about storytelling, take a look at www.nyvs.com