In this fantastic essay Adam Westbrook explains why it’s time to rethink visual storytelling on the web from the bottom up. He says:
Ultimately: all of the styles, formats, structures, tropes, techniques that we recognise from films and from TV were invented for films and for television.
Why on earth do we think they should work on the internet?
The biggest challenge we face is that we haven’t figured out how to use this medium properly yet. That’s a privilege not enjoyed since the invention of cinema.
Whatever we invent must be grounded in the universal principles of visual storytelling, while embracing the true nature of the internet.
I don’t know what this looks like. But I know it doesn’t look exactly like cinema or television.
The Web Video Problem
Bonus: He provides some great resources on visual storytelling:
A good briefing on the principles of visual storytelling are featured in the second issue of Inside the Story Magazine, available here. If you don’t want to pay for the whole thing, this free article covers a lot of the same ground. Scott McCloud’s comic book on comic books is an essential read for visual storytellers. Craig Mod’s essay on Subcompact Publishing informed some of the ideas about thinking web-natively, as did this article by John Pavlus and this piece by Bryan Goldberg. Finally, Steven Benedict’s analysis of Spielberg’s cinematic storytelling skills demonstrate what visual narrative can achieve, and let Steven Soderbergh tell you why this new thing shouldn’t become like the movie business.