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simonfarussell

"No fuckhead you're a roller coaster designer"

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I'm sure this will stir up some debate in the design community.

For me he has a decent point, it's a term so overused it's almost become meaningless.

I don't really think it matters too much what metaphors you use to describe your work, just how well you do it.

Edited by simonfarussell

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If you tell stories with your work then you're a storyteller if you don't your not....end of debate:)

 

Honestly though I kind of feel sagmiester on this one: It's hard for me to talk to someone with a title like; organizational transmedia storyteller (not making this up) with a straight face.

 

Or when I meet someone who is a "social media architect" I just want to scream get over yourself, you get paid to post stuff on twitter....

 

I don't really think it matters too much what metaphors you use to describe your work, just how well you do it.

 

 

But yeah this, I just a find most of the time the people who genuinely do the really kickass work don't get hung up on titles. I'm sure most badass designers are happy just being known as designers.

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Well, Sagmeister has long been a deliberate pot-stirrer, which is why he's known, and this marks no change. This is for FITC, the theme of which this year is apparently "crafted stories: branded storytelling", so the rant is almost cartoonishly antagonistic of him. And of course there's some truth in there, or it wouldn't be antagonistic. There ARE a lot of inflated titles, and randomly-applied buzzwords, and puffed-up people, but that goes without saying. He is, however, making an embittered assertion that equates to "only some people get to be called artists." And of course that's self-important crap in itself, but that's how he gets you riled up. No, of course there's no committee that decides who qualifies as an artist/storyteller, and no, Sagmeister is not on it. He's on the committee of his own self-exposure, and he does a pretty good job of it.

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He is, however, making an embittered assertion that equates to "only some people get to be called artists." And of course that's self-important crap in itself, but that's how he gets you riled up.

 

To me it seems like he's actually trying to do the opposite; he's talking about the meaning of the word in a very literal way. "Storyteller" has been diluted by it's mass appropriation in the business and advertising world, distanced from it's function as a word for one who delivers narrative. It lets businesses that want to imply creativity without the baggage tied to "artist" come across as such, while keeping it ambiguous enough that most people can't really call bullshit on it. Personally, I find it refreshing that someone is doing exactly that, especially someone of his clout within that world.

 

Of course there's no committee, but it's a tired phrase bordering on meaningless. It wouldn't hurt if more people and companies considered that. In fact, it could be beneficial as a means of separating yourself from the beaten path. Imagine an agency site's splash page exclaiming WE ARE NOT STORYTELLERS. Now I'm interested! Maybe they look like idiots to a certain kind of client. But if they do good work, it becomes a compelling demonstration of both confidence and integrity.

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To me it seems like he's actually trying to do the opposite; he's talking about the meaning of the word in a very literal way. "Storyteller" has been diluted by it's mass appropriation in the business and advertising world, distanced from it's function as a word for one who delivers narrative. It lets businesses that want to imply creativity without the baggage tied to "artist" come across as such, while keeping it ambiguous enough that most people can't really call bullshit on it. Personally, I find it refreshing that someone is doing exactly that, especially someone of his clout within that world.

 

Of course there's no committee, but it's a tired phrase bordering on meaningless. It wouldn't hurt if more people and companies considered that. In fact, it could be beneficial as a means of separating yourself from the beaten path. Imagine an agency site's splash page exclaiming WE ARE NOT STORYTELLERS. Now I'm interested! Maybe they look like idiots to a certain kind of client. But if they do good work, it becomes a compelling demonstration of both confidence and integrity.

It's not a hard position to take, to come out swinging at the "me too" buzzword idiots for whatever they're doing lately. Yeah, they jump on whatever train seems to have a desirable destination, seemingly hijack it and shout about it unintelligibly before jumping on another. Sure, you're a brand storyteller. Sure, you're a UX consultant. Sure you're a craft microbrewer. Sure you're a DJ. If you say so. And it's nothing new. Those sort of identity leeches are always going to be riding one wave or another. But who gives a shit? What's tired is getting fired up over the latest instance of it. Or using the latest instance of it to fire up anyone who's easily threatened by an "invasion" of their precious in-group.

 

The problem is that he's further conflating an argument about who gets to call themselves what, which is intentionally elitist, and a purposeful jab to get people riled.

I'm a real storyteller, not like you. You make animated films, I make REAL films. So go back to your cartoons, hack.

I'm a real designer. Not like you. I can spot the difference between Arial and Helvetica. You can't call yourself a designer, bro.

I'm a true original Belieber, not like you. You're one of the fakes who just likes the popular songs. You can't like him anymore.

I'm a true Aryan, and committed to the cause. Not like you, you fucking half-breed. We're gonna beat the piss out of you now.

 

It's all feeble-minded, exclusionary bullshit, and as destro said pretty simply, it's basically self-promotion for everyone involved.

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Before I watched the video I thought this was going to be about how mograph artists are more like rollercoaster designers than storytellers and I thought that was quite an astute observation.

What he actually said was true as well though, but I see it as an aspirational title. People who like to call themselves 'storytellers' are just saying they are aware of things like dramatic arcs, the beginning, the end, the middle, the climax, the resolution. Backstory.

Just a trendy, harmless term.

You don't have to get on a high horse about it.

My local pub is crammed full of storytellers.

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In the end, this a side-effect of the "social media revolution" and also the digital photography revolution as an influencing factor. It's also the result of the way we engage in hyperbole on all levels about describing the things we do and experience. Thank you Generation Y. "Dude that that calzone was so FUCKING AMAZING...." or "OMG did you see about that little black girl shot in Chicago? I am SO OUTRAGED! Let's post a hashtage quip and go get some pizza after!" And on and on and on.

 

I'm going to all-caps for a moment here and I'm not yelling at you. This is strictly for effect. Spread the word, live the word, take it to your grave:

WHEN WE CONSTANTLY MIS-USE WORDS AND DO NOT CORRECT OURSELVES, THE WORDS EVENTUALLY LOSE THEIR MEANING.

 

 

Amazing and Awesome now mean "good enough / enjoyable enough that I want to tell people I enjoyed it". "Outraged" means "gosh I think this is wrong, but I'm going to do nothing about it other than tell you I'm outraged so I can join the other masses of outraged people who will do nothing." Etc. "Storytelling" has defintiely become one of those words. "Journalist" is another of those words, just to add some fun to the discussion.

 

It's my favorite analogous situation -- the self-proclaimed "citizen journalist", and one that so many American media outlets (particularly CNN, the biggest joke of a news network you'll find), are more than happy to perpetuate this inane idea. The idea that if you have a camera or the ability to string a sentence together, and the ability to post that photo and sentence on social media about something that's happening in the world, suddenly you become "a journalist" or a "reporter of news"?? What a load of horseshit. Excuse me while I

 

:lol:

 

It is true that our mass media has fully gone the way of infotainment and political agenda during the last 20 years, no longer providing a useful service to society by helping to educate us on current events in a way that shows little or no agenda. People want something better. And it IS good that people can contribute to the flow of information with their own observations. But it doesn't follow that if some untrained, un-edited, photo-hobbyist grabs his or her cell phone and goes out to an event and posts a few thoughts or observations, that suddenly they are now "journalists". You're not anything, "fuckhead" (to borrow from the video). You're a citizen with a point of view and you just shared it. Nothing more, nothing less -- but it sure as hell isn't journalism (or more specifically, news reporting). All those kids snapping pictures and videos of d-bag cops during Occupy No Street? Not journalists. Documentarians, maybe. A journalist does more than document though. A case of most people not only not understanding what the media owes us citizens (as our journalists), but not understanding what the word means.

 

 

Getting back to storytelling, the biggest mis-use of this word is something we see every day. When every hobbyist and social media photographer blurts out to the world: "Me too, OMGosh look at that HDR, hey what a beautiful place you captured in that picture. I really love your 'storytelling', your 'passion and vision'. Boy you're a great 'story teller'!" MMmm.... nope. No they're not. When the Mega-Google-HDR-Man goes out and snaps a picture of Hong Kong harbor at night, and he then proceeds to HDR the hell out of it, fuzzy colorful glows and gradients everywhere from corner to corner... that's not a story. It is at best, one man's visual interpretation of what he sees or remembers about the place. Is it interesting to look at? Sure, sometimes. Is it good photography? Debatable, totally subjective. Is it a story? Objectively speaking -- FUCK NO. Millions and millions of well-meaning people on social media, participating in this nonsense, truly do not get that. Virtually all of these people are parrotting, style-copying, social media 3x a day posting lemmings. They don't ever really think about what they're saying. They're too busy "connecting" and "engaging" with their "friends" (99% of whom they have never met and will never meet) and "the world". Again please allow me a brief

 

:lol:

 

 

 

I think the worst thing that ever happened to photography... is the Facebook Like / Google Plus 1. And I fully admit I'm no great photographer. I tried for a few years starting back before social media and couldn't hack it. But this isn't about me or my experiences. It's strictly observational. Social media has become virtually non-stop group-think, back-slapping, copy-catting crapola. Ultimately I think that's part of the phenomenon this guy is talking about. The "story telling" stuff gets swept up in the daily typhoon of postings.

 

 

A story has characters, it has events and lessons that are told over an elapsed time. It's not just a place or a passage through a place, or you describing through some digital means that you experienced this place and time. A story has a plot. A story has a beginning, middle, and end. Most often it also has a conflict and a resolution. Individual pictures are very rarely stories. And the ones that are only become stories after the fact, when we know a whole lot more about the context under which the picture was taken, and have discussed it a ton. That famous shot from Cartier-Bresson of the guy skipping over the puddle... that's not a story. We don't know what the hell was going on in that moment / can only guess. The little Vietnamese girl running down the street naked after her village was (napalmed I believe), that has become on some level... a story. Because we all now know what else was going on in that girl's world. The day that picture was released, it wasn't a story yet. Because pictures ineherently only tell one brief moment of an actual story. Initially all we can do is guess and read a caption and infer stuff. Over time we come to learn more and more, and the story attaches itself to the picture in our own minds. The picture becomes like a symbol of the story that we ultimately learned about. It encapsulates the story for us. But only after time has passed. War Zone pictures often end up having stories attached to them... but we must read to know the story. That's the rub.

 

 

Is motion graphics a "story telling medium"? Swirling particles and morphing shapes and symbols, flying text... ultimately it's very engaging. But it's not a story. Nor is it a story telling medium, generally speaking. Of course it IS possible to create a story with these tools, but most of the time, for what most people get paid to do in this industry... is not storytelling.

 

Use the word everywhere, all the time, even when it's only sort of applicable, and the word ceases to have meaning. So let's not feed into that nonsense. Human beings love a good story and love to think of themselves as having good stories, but in truth it's a pretty rare commodity when you acknowledge what the definition of "story" is.

Edited by Zmotive

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