Essay – What is the Best Way to Tell a Story?

How do you tell a story? 

The best way to tell a story has forever been subject to personal opinions, views, upbringing and culture. Whether you like books, magazines or listening to people’s tales, they are all different forms of getting the same information and depending on your opinion, some are better than others. I shall be looking past personal belief and what is popular to find the real, logical choice. This meals discarding what I like best to look into the senses – sight, sound, smell, touch, atmosphere, even how much of a reaction can be produced by using certain methods.

Let’s start right at the beginning when stories were exactly that – stories, legends and myths told from one person to another, passed down through generations via verbal communication. Words weren’t just used as a form of fictional storytelling before other mediums, they were also used to give messages and pass down knowledge, though there is one huge flaw with this method, being that mistakes can often be made. Such mistakes could be caused by missing out details, forgetting certain points or maybe people even change the original story on purpose to make things more interesting, this behaviour has a knock-on effect on the people listening to the altered version, as they believe it to be the original. The same tale will be told over and over, each person telling it in a slightly different way, resulting in not only a belief of the story, but also differentiating versions depending where in the world you travel. I think one of the most controversial, yet solid examples of this is religion. If you look at all the different religions in the world, many contain different depictions of the same/similar events – in my opinion, this is due the reasons previously described, and this story has changed from one into many as it has been passed down in time.

Looking a bit further forward, we have expressive arts such as dance, singing and chants. Though some expressive arts (mainly dance) are still commonly used today, they often have less meaning and tend to be purely for entertainment purposes, unlike the ones used way back when the arts were used for storytelling, or the reenactment of historical events. This is where plays originated, morphing through time and places depending on what has to be told, this also affected whether the performances/rituals include dance, singing, props, also whether the location is sacred or not. Though a lot less popular, some traditional dances and performances are still performed today, mainly at historical locations for tourists and visitors.

Dancing and the physical arts are all beautiful, expressive ways of telling a story, though in my opinion, they are not the best. They have too many flaws – one of which being a cultural barrier meaning people from different cultures may not appreciate or recognise the meaning of each story, therefore destroying the impact it is meant to create. Language barriers are also a problem when it comes to chants, singing and narrators, again, the narrative can be easily lost and if so, the performance cannot be shared or repeated elsewhere to deliver the same message. These are just a couple of things wrong with the arts, making them easily one of the most ineffective ways of telling a story or allowing it to spread and be retold.

Methods of relaying a story/event such as scrolls, tapestries and columns are by all means beautiful, but all share the same fatal flaw: time. Whether or not such beautiful works of art can withstand the test of time depends on the environment, weather and of course, the material of which they were created. The thing I like about these mediums is that they are almost universal, they use pictures to depict their tales, something most humans can recognise as a scene and figure out the story to. One of my favourites, though unfortunately not the best. 

When it comes to storytelling, books are certainly the first thing that comes to mind for most people, be it the fairytales we were told as children, or a factual murder mystery book we picked up to read on the beach. Certainly they are the most popular way of storytelling in the modern day and age but in older times, books were very expensive ways of telling stories and were rather hard to come by. The first book was most likely created on papyrus in Egypt around 2400 BC (a long, long time ago!) – In Europe and most of the world books were reserved mainly for universities, factual information, biographies and the like… in other words, fiction was scarce and even when used, it wasn’t what we’d see as an imaginative tale today. Possibly one of the biggest breakthroughs in storytelling related to books and mass-printing is Lewis Carroll’s 1865 hit ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’, the reason being was because Carroll challenged the issue of books being informative by creating Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, something that was considered complete nonsense at the time. Little does the deceased Carroll know now, this book helped shape modern storytelling by showing people it’s okay to be different.

Nowadays some of the most popular books come in either series or trilogies, enhanced by the movie versions created of them. Some examples of these kinds of books are The Hunger Games trilogy, Harry Potter series, Divergent trilogy and The Twilight Saga. The fact that making these kinds of books into movies has become a trend is helpful to me because I can very easily compare how the book and story translate as I have both read and watched quite a few of these.

What I like about books over most other story telling mediums is the freedom of creativity and imagination, the power to make the reader feel like either part of the story or just an observer and most of all – how description paired with creating personality has the ability to rope people in and make them emotionally attached to a certain person, place or object that they haven’t the ability to touch in real life.
Just as a book has the ability to build relationships, it also has the power to tear them down in a heartbeat, to render characters without hope and thus, the reader too.
Of course no two novels are the same, there are true stories, romantic, action, mystery, crime and utterly heartbreaking ones too – and it doesn’t stop there. To create a book is to have complete control and creative freedom of whatever subject you choose, the only limitation is your imagination – it is up to you to plan and execute how you want your characters and readers to feel, to create a climax – an embarrassing moment… it’s endless.

Something I find interesting about books is the tenses and person in which they are written… for example, writing in first person and past tense may give the sense that someone is telling a story, whereas writing in third person, present tense gives the impression of a limitless observer.  That being said, tenses can also exist (in a manner of speaking) within videography, often portrayed by narration or simply using camera angles to show different people’s perspective on a situation or even show you how the world would look through the eyes of a different species all together.

There are many pros and cons as explained, though books will always be one of the most traditional and well loved methods of storytelling that could easily be the best if it weren’t for it’s rival: Videography.

The main differences between Videography and Books are definitely the usage of human senses. Videos use sight, sound and are able to immerse you almost completely in the right atmosphere, feeding you instant information of shocks, events that are happening all within the blink of an eye. This is something that books can’t do without using the imagination of the reader – they factor in the cognitive function of the brain – relying on each individual reader’s ability to process information at a certain pace and also, the language and grammar they understand. These limitations are what knock books down for me – they are amazing and classic and can easily be immersed in, though they do not possess the raw events, instead they are masked by the readers themselves.
Whether the above makes sense to you or not may indeed be reliant on if you have read a book and watched the movie version of it. One of the most popular things you hear with these is “Oh, the book was better.” And in my opinion, yes, in a lot of cases they are though the reason for this I find is less because of the storytelling method, but more because the films are limited in time and often have to cut out vital parts of the storyline to be within the time constraint they have been given. This aggravates viewers and readers because the book has all the time in the world to go into great detail about a character, a scene, a dark past… whereas the video version of this may only take seconds to deduce an elaborately written scene in the worded version.

To look deeper into both Videography and books, I decided to create my own literature and footage:

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(CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO)

While my writing is focused on creating suspense, my video is just to get across what my website is about without sound. I think they both successfully pull off their jobs, however, videography trounces writing by just a little. Let me explain.
There is a reason movies are the most popular in modern day society – they are quick, immersive (they use sight, sound to engage with you) and most of all, they can deliver super amazing visuals that would take so much more effort to read about and probably not visualise to it’s full potential in word form. They are flashy, they create suspense, emotion, fear and joy at the switch of a scene, also they often include dialogue and music which are beautiful storytellers in their own right and allow viewers to bond better with a certain character or relate more to a situation.

This research informs my practice as a designer, photographer, artist and writer because one of the main components of all these practices is to get a message, story, event or certain appeal across to viewers, essentially this is telling a story in very different ways. Knowing the ins and outs of each practice I have researched both within this essay and on my blog will help me make future decisions mainly about communicating my subject to my audience using whatever medium turns out to suit the ‘storyline’ best.

Videography and modern cinema is the winner. Thankyou for reading.

CV & Letterhead

For my CV I am basically using filler – information from my previous CV, this will be changed but as of now my actual CV is located on my website… which has decided to delete all of my content. SO… until I sort my site out, ignore the complete void of design-related self promotion on this version, it will be updated later.

I knew that I wanted an A4 CV because it’s easy for potential employers to store etc. I experimented with different gate folds and cut-outs as you can see below:

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The fold I chose is the one you see circled above. It’s three quarters of the A4 sheet in width, dual sided meaning the overall document is much wider than an A4 sheet, though for the sake of viewing purposes I made the document 350mm wide so both sides of the design can be seen.

Using both Photoshop and InDesign, I created the layout, there was a lot of shuffling around and because I wanted to show my photography skills while keeping the style of my website consistent, I kept moving the images and changing them before settling etc.

 

Below is the final result of my CV:

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Moving on to the standard A4 letterhead.

Seems though one of the criteria is a job application, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to kill 2 birds with 1 stone and place the application on my Letterhead design. As I have mentioned, I want it to be really simple and to tie in with the rest of my stationary. To do this I just created a simple black background (most likely I will use card), the same silver logo, though white can be used, and finally my details in Bebas at the footer of the letterhead.
See Below:

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Thankyou so much for viewing this project, I’ll see you in the next one 🙂

G

P.D.P – Personal Mark

Starting off I have captured some screenshots of my existing site and logo.

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Above I have included a couple of screenshots of my website. As you can see, my site is very mountain/spruce orientated, hence why I am now using this little mountain mark you see below:

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This mark is something I created rather quickly as I was running short on time for a previous deadline and is, in fact, acting more as a filler for where my real logo shall go.

For the professional design project, we are required to create our own business cards, letter heads and a CV. For this I wanted to re-design my personal mark. I have already considered lots of different marks in previous posts for different projects, so I have included some of those in this one too as they are still relevant and still for the same purpose.
As my mark will be representing me as a brand, it’ll be seen by everyone who visits my site, receives a letter from me or picks up one of my business cards – this is the reason I want it to have significance and be memorable, not just another couple of fancy letters on a piece of paper.

Below you can see LOAADS of different sketches of ideas for my logo, these are rather messy, but this is how my mind works:

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As you can see, I haven’t strayed too far from the original sketches, and that’s because I still like and am considering them.

After careful contemplation, I decided to ditch the idea of using more letters for my logo, the reason being because I also have a logotype that I use on my website. This is when the idea of using the most personal thing to me came to mind… my signature. This solves the idea of having a personal mark that doesn’t consist of my initials. After writing my signature over and over and over again I decided to write it in silver pen paint. This turned out the perfect width and colour, so I began to experiment:

Because I have decided to go with a metallic silver finish, I created several versions of my marque so that it could be used on any colour paper, and also have the silver finish for more formal stationary.
It has always been pretty much set in stone that my stationary shall have a black background… this is because it’s my favourite colour (if you can call it a colour), and it goes will well… everything.
The final result for my business card & development is below:

I sorted all of the colour changes in Photoshop and used the pen tool to ‘cut out’ the background of my logo.

The final result is as follows:

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I have displayed two front covers here, one black and white, and one is a mock up of what it might look like with black card and a silver logo. The writing on the back (kept simple because I like it that way) would also have the silver, but it’s a little too meticulous to edit in the same way I did in the logotype – this is a job for the printers I decide to use.

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I hope you enjoyed this segment, see you in my next post!

G

FINAL

SOOO!!!
Here are all of the final concepts compiled:

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Project Overview:
I love the colour red… so this was an enjoyable project for me… ehe x) Apart from that, I feel rather strongly about giving blood, so getting the message across to a younger audience (as impossible as that may seem) was really fun ^^

Thankyou for viewing and hopefully I’ll see you in my next project!

G

The Truck & The App

One of the main points of this whole idea is to have a traveling blood unit that goes to colleges and universities all around Great Britain and parks at the entrance so students and teachers can give blood.
One of the things that will entice students that haven’t already seen the heart epidemic on Facebook, is the design of the truck itself:
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The logic behind this is as follows: What attracts moneyless students? Free stuff… and food. Being a student myself, I can vouch for this sad fact. So not only will donors get their Facebook heart, they will get free food and drink and also I thought about having a prize draw where donors have the choice to write their names onto a red piece of paper and drop it into a giant, heart shaped blood bag for the chance to win the grand prize.

Last but not least I decided to design the app that donors can download with their unique donor number, this app lets people keep track of how many people they have saved, also their appointments, where the traveling van is going next, NHS contact, appointment booking and more.

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AND THAT IS ALL FROM ME.
Keep an eye out for the project overview in the next post!

Until then,

G

 

Branding, Advertising & the Concept

The next thing I shall be working on is the Donor Card every patient shall receive after giving blood. The aim of these is to identify yourself to the nurse taking the blood (after the initial “interview” with the first nurse), and also to keep handy if the donor forgets their blood type, their donor number or the location of their last visit.
Also for first time donors the nurses will tell them about their donor number and how it is the login for the App and also, the code for getting their facebook heart.
I took a look at some of the NHS’s existing and previous donor cards for Organ Donation. In my opinion they are (again) too crowded and off-putting. They also don’t really appeal to a younger audience:


Below is the editing process of the front and back of these cards, I did the layout for these in Adobe InDesign and then finished them off in Photoshop:

And the final result:
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I went for the red boarders because it keeps the colour consistently throughout all of my designs, also I chose to to keep it simple on both the front and the back of the cards.
Moving on, next shall be the advertisement section…

For the advertisement I’ll mostly be using word of mouth to get the message out, much like when Facebook brought out the French flag overlay for people’s profile pictures. This presence online is what gets people asking questions and getting answers from their friends, as well as putting pressure on people to “join the trend”, the consequence of not doing so is them being “heartless”.

Below is two different ideas, though it is possible to keep both of them as separate options for donors to have on their profile, or to not have at all if they don’t want the counter on their actual profile picture.
The first image is the traditional overlay style of the WBDD logo.
The second image is a smaller, more discreet counter for how many lives the donor has saved.

As a separate note, all people on Facebook will have the giant heart filter on World Blood Donation Day for a limited amount of time to spread awareness.
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Next up is a screen-shot of my facebook wall. I have inserted the logo and the counter in different locations to show the options available to each donor when they put their code in. The plan for the buttons on the actual facebook wall (not the profile picture) is that when you click on them, it sends you straight to the WBDD and blood donation websites in separate tabs so you have all the information you need. Even if you don’t click on it, a lot of people will ask around what the heart is, thus spreading the word that way instead.

The first placement of the life-counter is in the top, right hand corner of the header just next to the thumbnail of your profile picture.
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The second placement is on the options bar where you can search through people’s profiles.
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Last but certainly not least is the option to have Facebook automatically post on your wall when your blood is used to save somebody’s life. This option is my favourite as it is very eye-catching and really gets the message across.
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Though Facebook advertising is certainly the most effective way to spread a cause (in my opinion), I have created a couple of billboard mock-ups below just to make this love heart pop up everywhere and really make people want to know what it is:

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Thankyou for reading this section, the next section will becoming shortly:)

Doodles, Logos & the Concept

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After creating my core concept for this brief I picked 4 logo designs to make very quick, paint style mock ups of. This is basically to get an idea of the colours and how the logo fits together when not in sketch form.

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These mock-ups are all similar, accept from the heart which happens to be my favourite. I think I am going to choose this one because of the concept I have created – mainly because when it comes to the Facebook part, I shall need a heart for this all to work and in my opinion, this will work perfectly.

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After making this decision for the WBDD logo, I began to play around with the shape of the logo, attempting different hearts, blood droplets and colours as you can see below. I used Adobe Illustrator for all of this process.

 

 

And here is the finished result:

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Again, I decided to keep this heart very simple as I find one of the things that makes a lot of Health Organization logos so unappealing is how complex and overcrowded they are, making it hard to pinpoint the important information in the orginization or simply putting you off them all together.
The goal of my logo is to appeal to younger audiences and to look good within the social media marketing plan I have.

Because the whole point of this brief is to convince young people to donate blood, having this kind of modern, minimal logo is an important step. Also, having a reward for coming (in this case a cup of tea, biscuits, the app and a code for your Facebook blood heart) is of peak importance. This is when I began designing the tea and biscuit packaging.

While creating the mug, tea strainer and biscuit packaging I kept in mind to keep the WBDD logo on all of the packaging to promote consistency and also, to show that WBDD is in part of the travelling blood campaign. Below you can see the screenshots of both editing processes, feel free to browse these – it involved Photoshop and Illustrator and a lot of the Liquify, Pen, Perspective Warp, Brush, Eraser and Layer mask tools.
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The hardest was probably working with the biscuit packaging because of the spherical shape, here is the before and after (please note the top image is not my design, the bottom one is)
Before:
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After:
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Now for the mug and tea strainer design:
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I hope you enjoyed this section, I shall be continuing in the next post 🙂
See you next time!

G

 

WBDD – The Concept

A little further on in the developmental stage I have managed to filter out a lot of the unnecessary ideas and have focused on the one to do with travelling to the actual donors location, this is particularly good for the younger audience because it erases the effort of having to go to a location. Also having a gift for donating and an app to keep you in the loop is great because it will make the youngsters feel like they are doing something good and will have a constant reminder.
The first section to this is brainstorms and rough sketches for the WBDD logo which I don’t plan to finish until I have the concept worked out completely because I may choose to change or include something from the concept and work it over to the logo itself.
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Here in this development segment is a few ideas for the App I am planning to create, as you can see above there are to be many features all aimed at keeping the donor well in the loop of how their blood is helping people get better, again, influenced by a ranking system to enforce people’s competitive nature and supplemented with rewards when reaching a certain point from the government.

For a brief such as this one that deals with something of urgency, I feel there is more to reeling people in than just creating enticing visuals – there needs to be an aspect of reward for the participants and also, something that will get more and more people on board. One of the best ways to do this in my opinion is through the ever expanding horizon of social media.
A perfect example of people pulling together via social media is when the bombings happened in Paris. This tragic event brought on an entourage of people using France’s flag as an overlay on their profile picture to show their respect, support and condolences to the victims of terrorism. Though it is a vile and tragic event, it ultimately showed how powerful the influence of Facebook is. My hypothesis is that part of the reason this worked so well is because of people asking questions – “why do you have the French flag on your profile picture?” is a simple enough question, though the answer only spreads this ‘trend’ (bad word to use as it is symbolic of people’s respect) even faster, almost like you are HEARTLESS for not having this overlay.
Apologies for the capitals but my brain works so that words inspire things – this thing being a heart icon on your Facebook page that only shows up if you’ve given blood. Similar to the Paris Incident, only possibly a heart shape that is related to the WBDD logo and if you don’t have a heart on your profile, you are ‘heartless’ in a sense – not aiding those in need when you are able.
Below are mine and my sister’s profile pictures with the France Flag overlay.
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Below are just a few more of my doodles, these outline clearer the bullet points of my concept, the main components that will bring together the visual idea:

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Thankyou for viewing! I will continue the development in the next post 🙂

World Blood Donor Day

So!
One of the final projects for year 2 is named “Young Blood” set by Rare Creative, a design agency based in good o’l Sheffield.
The brief is as follows:
“Life is short, for some too short. There’s an every-growing demand for blood donation. By donating blood you will help save and transform the lives of desperately ill people.” The final requirements are one of the following:
. Leaflet
. Handout
. Donor Card
. Website Homepage
. Storyboard

Mandatory Requirements:
. Blog/pdf of research and design development showing how and why your campaign developed how it did.
. Create branding for “World Blood Donation Day”
. Come up with an advertising campaign that encourages people to become donors. Your creative solution should have a minimum of three different visuals.

All of the above is the criteria. From this point I started researching branding for WBDD and many other donation companies in England particularly as this is where I am aiming for the campaign.

Below are some blood and non blood related campaigns that I find quite impactful – it’s less about the imagery in some cases and more about the meaning behind the actual advertisement. Something I have noticed though is that it’s near impossible to get the message of blood across without the use of red, unless of course you are using typography that directly shouts about the topic.
I particularly like the “DON’T BE SUCH A WUSS” – I think it’s rather impactful and gets the message across quite nicely.

This is the part when I started brainstorming –
Basically here I am coming up with quotes that could be interesting for an advertisement or billboard, even a slogan or internet advertisement. I thought about using photography and typography as a visual medium to portray these but I think both could be a little stereotypical.

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So first off I began by brainstorming different quotes that are aimed at young and audiences to pull at the heart strings. Both typographical responses and visual proposals were created as you can see above.

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This second image consists of some fact hunting for the purpose of having factual information and shocking truths present in my response – as well as more quotes and visual responses that I may choose to use or may not.

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Thankyou for viewing this section of early development. I shall continue the development on this brief in the next post 🙂

What is the best way to tell a story? Pt 3

VIDEOGRAPHY, SCRIPT & WRITING
Firstly I shall be looking at scripts and storyboards as they are two very vital components to the first word, and the word I shall be focusing on most: Videography.

Scripts & Storyboards
Scripts are basically lines to be read out or acted out according to the directors choice. The most common use of scripts in the modern age is for movies where actors and actresses will read their lines and perform actions according to said script. Scripts are also used across all kinds of performances from Chinese Shadow puppets to ballet, opera, comedy shows, plays, audio books and much, much more. I chose to look into this topic because I feel scripts are the ‘in-between’ that allows any form of creative writing or idea to be transferred over into a movie or a play – it is the very thing that brings any idea to life in whichever form they are planning to portray the story.
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Storyboards are either the stage before, during or after a script when it comes to directing for a movie etc, this is entirely dependent on what is being created and, of course, the creators preference of working. For example when I created a short comic book for a project, the first thing I did was brainstorm ideas in my own, very messy and sometimes considered ‘wrong’ way. Secondly I jumped straight into the storyboard and created the script along the way… but as I mentioned, that is just my preference. People like Hayao Miyazaki are famous for creating the story as they go along (I’m kinda guilty of this haha…) whereas the ‘proper’ way is to go in stages.
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Looking at both of these as the person who has not created them can be interesting because they are neither a finished product nor a beginning stage – their story may not be clear to the reader because you are virtually looking at the inner workings of somebody’s creative process. This is the interesting part though – seeing a work in progress leaves more open to interpretation, therefore the story is subject to change depending on who is reading it and what stage the script/storyboard is at.

Newspaper & Magazines:
Newspapers are very literal, they are told mainly to inform whilst still making the story interesting – essentially making them more ‘boring’ than a book for example which goes into great detail. The pros of a Newspaper are that they can spread the word fast and they are straight to the point – no fancy language, meaning almost anyone who can read is able to figure out what they are trying to get across. Their headlines, although often misleading, are also to be congratulated as they can attract the attention of passers to the stories inside with such a short ammount of text.
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Magazines are similar to Newspapers, apart from the fact they are generally less about factual news stories and more about gossip. Not only is the language used less formal and leaning more towards keeping people intrigued, but the content itself is not necessarily factual. Also there are many different types of magazines that are truthful and informative, less story based such as health magazines but still, they always rely on people wanting something (ie gossip, glamour secrets, weight loss) to reel people in, using the same ‘WOW!’ kind of language that isn’t realistically seen anywhere else in storytelling. The other issue is that both magazines and newspapers can’t stray too far from the truth, only stretch it slightly or quote speculations. This limits the storytelling potential further.

Comic Books
There are many different types of ‘comic books’ and graphic novels on the market today. Some popular ones are The Walking Dead, The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, Death Note, Bleach etc.
Comic books are, in my opinion, sometimes better at portraying stories than a lot of books. The reason I say this is because they are a hybrid of both visual and verbal, containing (depending on the book in question, of course) written sound effects, character dialogue, a great storyline all accompanied by visuals which in my humble opinion, create a better representation of the story than a book alone. The only reason I still regard books to be better than comic books and graphic novels is because for a graphic novel, everything is handed to you (the scenes acted out, the character’s appearances, etc) whereas a book leaves much more to the imagination.


Thank you for reading!
Part 4 shall focus on the two main candidates for the best way to tell a story: Videography and Books.

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