So how do you navigate this next frontier of storytelling? And how can online distribution serve as a catalyst for breaking into the traditional worlds of film and television? We’re turning to the AFF panelists at the forefront of digital storytelling for their advice on writing for the world of new media.
Here are five tips for telling your story in the digital world from the masters of the medium:
1. GET YOUR STORY OUT THERE
I kept trying to shop to television with the same kind of whack feedback, and so I was like, “If they’re not going to accept these other two ideas that I think are somewhat mainstream, they’re never going to believe that an awkward black girl exists, so let me just put it on the internet and see what happens,” and here I am.
-Issa Rae (writer/creator/star Insecure; writer/director The-Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl) AFF 2015
2. FIND THE MEDIUM FOR YOU
it’s a long road still, and it just started with us trying to figure out a way to tell this story. Didn’t work as a screenplay, as a film, told it as a podcast and now we’re getting ready to tell it as a TV series. So as long as you’ve got a story you want to tell, just find the way that you’re good at telling it, or a way that you want to tell it.
-Paul Bae (executive producer/writer The Big Loop, The Black Tapes) AFF 2018
3. STEP OUT OF THE ZEITGEIST
I would caution you against grabbing the thing that is in the zeitgeist right now and trying to replicate it, because, unless the thing that is in the zeitgeist happens to be the thing that you connect with and is at your core and you love… you’re going to end up doing a weird half-imitation of something that you don’t really understand.
-Emily Zulauf (Fiction Lead, Probably Monsters Games; Creative Development Associate, Pixar Animation Studios) AFF 2018
4. BE PREPARED
When you’re sharing something with your friends or colleagues, make sure it’s ready to be seen. I think we all have an eagerness to share and get feedback, but you know, when you put it out in the world, and it’s so easy to do now…it’s a way to get instant feedback, but make sure you’re ready.
-Ryan Hall (Head of Development, Rooster Teeth; executive producer Blood Fest, Lazer Team 2) AFF 2018
5. PUT YOUR STORY FIRST
I think it boils down to is…is there a compelling narrative reason to be telling the story in this medium? I think the narrative needs to come first…let’s make sure that we’re leading with the story and that that’s pushing everything forward.
-Gus Sorola (Co-Founder, Rooster Teeth Productions) AFF 2018
Want first-hand tips on writing for a digital medium?
Purchase a Badge at any level and join us on Saturday October 26 for a full day of Conference panels dedicated to the art, craft, and business of digital storytelling with our inaugural New Media Track.