Four years ago we found ourselves trying to come to grips with a story we couldn’t tell. It was two weeks after a bloody civil war came to an end in Sri Lanka and we were ebbing from one paradigm to the next, unable to hold on to a singular narrative. It was a fundamental question that faced us as journalists, filmmakers and storytellers: How do we tell a story about a conflict which is so entwined with polar perspectives, so rich in context and nuance?
For us, storytellers who are working online the question became: How do we tell a story of meaning in a space that doesn’t cater for depth?
For the past four years Heidi and I have tried to approach stories differently, through the heart, drawing upon broad canvases and exploring different possibilities. We’ve also helped others reach audiences through online video with our bold aesthetic and worked with some truly remarkable people from Warchild UK, Amnesty International, TEDx, Al Jazeera and Virgin Media. While trying to create messages that engaged audiences we realised that we kept coming across the same problem: Whether you are a news organisation, brand or someone just trying to tell a story with web video, when you are working within an attention economy of perhaps 3 – 4 minutes, its pretty tough to engage an audience beyond pressing play.
Today, story is the currency of our time. It’s how we make meaning of the world around us. It’s the way we lend a part of ourselves to what we create. That the Internet has fundamentally changed the way we consume our media goes without saying, but what this will mean for the way we approach narrative and stories is less clear.
CODOC have always tried to push the envelope a little further, to see what gives, and at times, we’ve caught glimpses of what could be possible. Then one day I scribbled something in my notebook and as always I spoke to Heidi about the dots connected. The idea centered around the experiments of a new standard; HTML5 and interactive video. There has been some pretty startling examples of immersive experiences with this new nascent technology, but nothing seemed to really plug into the fundamental basis of storytelling, nothing felt ‘baked-in’ and seamless. Heidi and I always felt that as with the best editing, or the best directing, the best technologies are always the ones that are not seen.
So we played the ‘what if’ game…
What if you could in fact ‘bake-in’ interactivity, where the technology looked and felt part of the video itself and where additional content lay just below the surface of the story only a click away?
Since that initial sketch we’ve pitched our grand plan to a certain Sir Richard Branson, received the backing of Virgin Media Pioneers and have set the foundations for a brand new company that, we believe, has the potential to change web video forever.
Today we announce CODOC’s first subsidiary company: Storygami. It’s mission is a simple one. We want to make the Internet more human by using stories that connect us all to the things that matter. The Internet can be so much more than cat videos so what Storygami aims to do is allow content creators to tell smarter stories and add context to our content.
We’re currently working on something pretty exciting – but can’t speak about it just yet! And with this, our most exciting chapter yet, we promise there will be plenty more thrills to come.
H + G