Storytelling on the Web

When you’re a kid, you are spoiled by all of the people in your life who want to tell you stories. Your parents, your babysitters, your grandparents, your teachers… everyone in your life is just dying to entertain and enlighten you. Whether it be fictional fairy tales or true life experiences, you are surrounded by narratives during your formative years.

But then something happens when you become an adult. Your life gets a lot busier and ingesting content becomes more of an active process. These days, most people are turning to the web for all of their information needs. Unfortunately right now, the internet is more about indexed chunks of information than storytelling, but there are notable exceptions to this. Take Second Story, a Portland-based interactive agency.

I’ve long admired Second Story’s work in the interactive storytelling realm. In fact, I’d say they pretty much invented it. When I judged the Rosey Awards last year, I put both of their entries, Mark Twain, and Mick Jagger, Goddess in the Doorway two full points above the rest of the field. Mark Twain got my Best of Show vote, and Mick Jagger got a gold. Second Story is just so good at capturing the essence of a subject and presenting it in a linear and non-linear way at the same time. One of the most important things to do when telling a story on the web is to allow the lean-back experience of just watching a linear plotline unfold, and the lean-forward experience of clicking around and skipping from section to section.

Another stunning example of storytelling on the web is Whitehouse Animation’s Kunstbar. Although this is a completely linear experience, Kunstbar proves that hand-illustrated, hand-animated masterpieces can come off as brilliantly on the web as they can on TV. One of the most creative short animation flicks I’ve ever seen, Kunstbar is definitely worth a look.

One comment on “Storytelling on the Web”. Leave your own?
  1. m says:

    An interesting collection of Croatian fairytales can be found at They’re really well done.

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