Thinking Outside The Boxset - How Technology Changed The Story


01012017121420180811 (R4)Mark Lawson on the ways modern technology shapes the way we tell and consume stories.

For centuries tales were shared around the camp-fire; modern settlements share data via wi-fi. But what hasn't changed across the ages is our passion for histories and information - we shape and make sense of our lives by telling stories about what has happened to us, and relax by reading or seeing fictions about the lives of imagined characters. From cave-dwellers to millennials , stories have been organised in pretty much the same way - with a beginning, middle and end, although, in contemporary culture, now less frequently in that order. All storytellers have used techniques of tension, delayed revelation, surprise twists. But - now - the art of narrative is being fundamentally changed by new technologies, which offer fresh ways of telling stories and different places for them to be told, redefine narrative genres, and allow audiences unprecedented opportunities to inter-act with and even co-author the content.

In this, the first part of a new three part series, Mark Lawson speaks with some of the leading figures in British TV - including showrunner Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty), producer Nicola Shindler (Red Productions) writer Paula Milne (The Politician's Wife, Angels), Charlotte Moore (BBC Director of Content) - to examine how the stories being told on television in the digital age have adapted to the advent of streaming services, binge-watching and catch-up TV.

Mark also visits a cinema in Macclesfield to watch the live broadcast of 'Follies'- staged simultaneously in the West End. He talks with Kwame Kwei-Armah, soon to begin as the Young Vic's Artistic Director, about how the technology involved has brought top-level theatre to a whole new audience and redefined the idea of live spectatorship.
Presenter: Mark Lawson
Producer: Geoff Bird.

01022017122120180818 (R4)Mark Lawson continues to assess the ways new technology is affecting storytelling.

Mark Lawson on the ways modern technology shapes the way we tell and consume stories.

Mark Lawson continues his exploration of the ways in which technology is shaping the way that stories are being told today. He begins by describing the various ways that mobile phones, search engines and CCTV cameras would blow huge holes in the plots of so many classic crime novels - the late Ruth Rendell once told him in an interview that none of her many novels would be plausible in the digital age. Mark talks with TV producers, novelists and showrunners (including Dreda Say Mitchell, Denise Mina, Jed Mercurio and Nicola Shindler) about the possibilities that technology offers them and the pressure it puts on them to make sure their stories are sufficiently sophisticated to bear scrutiny. He also speaks with the new artistic director of the Young Vic, Kwame Kwei Armah, about the perils of updating plays for the stage and his excitement at the ways future generations will use technology in their work. Mark also visits the BBC's research and development department to hear how new digital developments are allowing the audience to enjoy a much more active engagement with a wide range of radio and television stories.

01032017122820180825 (R4)Mark Lawson considers how the increasing power of the audience is affecting storytellers.

Mark Lawson on the ways modern technology shapes the way we tell and consume stories.

The rise of social media and smartphones has given the audience for artistic events - whether on TV, in the theatre or in cinemas - the chance to react more quickly and with more impact than ever before. In the final part of the series, Mark Lawson considers how this newfound power is affecting the way stories are being told across the arts. He hears about the frustration felt by producers, writers and directors when a small proportion of negative tweets are used as the basis for front-page news stories, but also speaks with some writers who are keen to use social media to engage in more direct and productive ways than previously possible with their audience, even those whose reactions are initially negative. Mark considers the similarities between the newly empowered audience making itself heard within the arts with those in the worlds of sport and politics. He hears how some platforms are already allowing the audience to play a direct role in the way narratives progress, and finally turns his thoughts to the future, and how new advances - some of which we have only just begun to consider - might change the way we view and take part in stories as technology's development continues to accelerate.