It was only last month that Stefan Sagmeister called out the creative industries’ infatuation with the idea of storytelling as “bullshit.” But as a prevalent presence in many people’s work, we felt it was the perfect theme for last night’s Nicer Tuesdays in partnership with Park Communications.
Illustrator Kyle Platts kicked off proceedings, explaining that life “is a sandwich filling between two baps of infinity” and so storytelling is our response to this, as a way of passing on experience from generation to generation. “Even fiction is a reflection of your reality,” he pointed out, and showed how he creates narrative structure in both three-panel comics and more detailed landscape scenes.
After Kyle we were joined by founders and hosts of The Butcher’s Apron podcast, Emma Gibson and Nadine Monem. They came together after realising “that all the best stories were the ones we told and retold down the pub” and wanted to carve out a radio space in which these tales could live. They shared learnings gleaned from technical issues to legal warnings, explaining that “rising to the occasion is a great way to learn things” and insisting: “Your story is the best one, so have fun.”
The second half began with Ken Wong of ustwo talking us through how narrative informed and permeated they studio’s hugely popular Monument Valley game. “There is no blowing things up or high scores,” Ken explained, “just geometry and impossible architecture and forgiveness.” He sketched out how storytelling is different in a gaming context because we the players have such a direct input, but he said that Monument Valley’s vague and intriguing narrative was key to making it something more “than a series of abstract puzzles.”
The final speaker of the evening was actor and filmmaker Gabriel Bisset–Smith. Using the example of his short film Thrush, Gabriel gave us an entertaining insight into how his approach “of picking up elements as you go along” plays out in practice. Inspired by a messy break-up but without “a video camera or any money..and depending on budget, cast and when people were available” he showed how the initial ideas evolved into an intriguing end-product; at times funny, at times unsettling and always perceptive about our relationship with photographs, and each other.
Thanks as always to Park Communications, to everyone who came and to all our speakers. Nicer Tuesdays will return in September when the theme will be photography.
Founded in 1991, Park Communications is considered by many to be London’s preeminent printer. With a roster of both corporate and cultural clients, Park is a one-stop-shop to translate, artwork, print and bind literature of many different kinds, from the finest coffee table books and catalogues, through FTSE annual reports, to niche market magazines and brochures. Working closely with clients to develop bespoke creative solutions, Park’s reputation is built on the highest quality, reliability and flexibility.
They have brought their professionalism to both our Printed Pages magazine and the It’s Nice That Annual 2013, and we look forward to working with them in 2014 and beyond. To contact Park, email Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the website www.parkcom.co.uk.
About the Author
Rob joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in July 2011 before becoming Editor-in-Chief and working across all editorial projects including itsnicethat.com, Printed Pages, Here and Nicer Tuesdays. Rob left It’s Nice That in June 2015.