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Surprise in storytelling

I’m a huge fan of the TV show Breaking Bad. It’s brilliantly written and plotted, beautifully filmed and always surprising, and I’ve only watched the first three seasons.

Here’s an example of using surprise in storytelling. Up until the first minute mark, you’re not quite sure what thye’re talking about or what they’re creating in all those tubes. Is it what you expected?


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Interactive Videos

Today in class we talked about interactive videos – strangely in other languages they are called very differently: web documentaires in French and Web-Dokus in German.

If you want to check out what is going on other countries I compiled some examples in English produced elsewhere:

List of interactive videos by the French broadcaster in English


Interactive Video about the prisons in Canon Valley, in Colorado (in English)


Highrise: an interactive project about people living in highrises around the world (in English), National Film Board of Canada


The German-French broadcaster arte pushes cross-plattform narration (TV, online, mobile) to the next level in Europe. They have some excellent interactive videos. For example about the 10-year anniversary of the Iraq war. Unfortunately all the web productions as they call them only exist in German and in French.


German blog dedicatedto interactive videos and projects in German






Web videos in Germany

The US is cutting edge in online journalism and as in many other fields, web video story telling is much better here than elsewhere.

An initiative in Germany is now trying to push innovative videos forward by creating a prize for web videos. The Deutsche Webvideopreis is awarded in several categories from the biggest fail to the loudest laugh, from a journalistic category to the best advertising video. For journalists, the most interesting category is probably “For your Information“.

The site is mostly in German but I am happy to assist if you want to submit a video. The limitations:

  • the video has to be in German or geared towards a German audience
  • the video has to be produced for the web
  • the video has to be published between February 1 2012 and January 31 2013
  • no copyright infringements

Most videos are really bad (Unfortunately I couldn’t find a single one I liked). So if it happens that you have produced anything related to Germany, I highly recommend you to submit your videos.You can also just go and check out what video journalists in Germany are producing.

They also host a barcamp style web video conference in Duesseldorf on May 24 and 25 2013.

Getting up close and personal

Ed Ou is an incredible 23-year-old photographer who’s been experimenting more and more with video (on his 5D).

In a recent piece for the New York Times, he gets a very intimate look into the life of drug addicts in Vancouver, his home town.

In an interview for Lens, he talks about his relationship with the main subject in his story. He raises the question of much can/should you get involved with the people you portray? Where is the line? IS there a line?

Why should I care?

Why should I care about a backpack?

Marketing people are using emotional storytelling to sell their products. Why? Because it works!

Here are two online videos from LL Bean:

This one uses a lot of still photos. It also has a journey in a non narrated interview.

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This one also uses still photos with a more traditional narrative.

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Why should I care about a backpack? Because it’s not really about the backpack.


Great Stories Have a Human Connection

Really loved everything about this story, sent our way by CUNY VSW alum Mary Shell.

this story has an amazing character who is thoughtful, reflective and very well spoken and who gives us some surprisng insights into what seems like a violent sport.

The story has a visual and narrative arc, it’s beautifully captured with a ton of great closeups and it has powererful sound to put you there. Brilliant!!, as the British say!

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