SXSW14 Re-cap: Building An Interactive Storyworld

Here comes part 3 of my SXSW14 re-caps: New Narratives: Building an Interactive Storyworld.

For an overview of all SXSW14 re-caps, please click here.




Aina Abiodun, Founder, Storycode

Karim Ahmad, Sr Digital Content Strategist, ITVS

Mike Knowlton, Partner, Murmur

Ted Hope, CEO, Fandor / Double Hope Films


At the moment, most advertising remains very classic and in-your-face. However, the times of such advertising are over and it now needs greater sophistication.  Your audience expects branded content rather than pure product placement, for example.  Everything else – blatant „buy this!“, „buy that!“ is white noise.

This is especially important as audiences have become aware that they live in a world of infinite choices, and that their attention is part of their purchasing power. This means that audiences nowadays also expect to have their own say when it comes to content.

The solution for this are interactive narrative storyworlds. These don’t have to always be branded, of course, but if they are, they are a very powerful marketing tool.


To create a storyworld worth engaging and interacting with, try these recommendations:

  • Don’t be afraid to create a Storyworld – it’s easier than it sounds and it can start as simple and small as possible.


  •  Adjust to the media used – not only in terms of content, but also in terms of time. Sometimes, a series of short films complemented by content on other platforms meets your audience’s media habits better than one long feature film, for example. Of course, in order to do this, you must know your target audience’s media habits very well!


  •  Provide concrete points of access for interaction.


  •  Everyone has their own personal background, and this background will automatically influence a specific users experience of your story, meaning that there will always be multiple story engines for your content.


  •  Make stories for play and let go of creative control. In order to be truly interactive, you have to collaborate with your fans and let them join you at the helm.


  •  At the same time, make sure you’re not overwhelming your audience with interaction and limit the interactive moments. Few, deliberate interactive moments are much more powerful than constant calls to action.



One of the examples: Take the Knife - Interactive YouTube Video
One of the examples: Take the Knife – Interactive YouTube Video



Examples of interactive storyworlds presented at the panel were:



Side-note: I would also like to include Welcome to Sanditon in the list of examples.  It was not mentioned at the panel, but it is another great demonstration of how you can include and provide interaction for your audience by relenting some (but not all) creative control. Welcome to Sanditon will also be featured in one of my upcoming blog posts.


The next re-cap will cover 5 Lessons Learned from Movie Studios on How to Market Your Movie.


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