What is Storytelling?

“The medium is the message”

Marshall McLuhan

Storytelling is the narrative form that the storyteller has embodied to tell the story. The pursuit of storytelling is social and cultural, as groups of people are often involved in the pursuit together. Every culture has their own sets of stories that are or continually told, play-acted, or improvised, to entertain, educate, preserve culture, or instill moral value.

In its primitive form, storytelling was oral and used to pass down legends and myths of gods, and great people. Ever heard of a creation story? Indigenous tribes and religion tell them to rationalize a means of where we came from, who we are, why we are, and how to continue being. Although these types of stories are traditional, a broader view of storytelling includes historical context, personal constructs, political commentary and developing cultural norms.

We, as people, have developed many forms of storytelling other than oral tradition throughout the ages: Theater, cinema, novels, eBooks, news publications, and music are a few. The same age-old stories are rehashed time and time again as adaptions of the original work. Each retelling differs from the last in as many ways as can be imagined, not just in narrative method. Different directors will see a novel get interpreted differently from different script writers, different budgets will allow different casts, different set directors will portray mise-en-scene differently, etc. Different combinations and permutations will always exist and reboots are popular in the cinema.

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