Great Storytelling Example: RSA’s Interp of Stephen Johnson’s Talk

I ran across this recently, and can’t stop thinking about it. Although I think the questions proffered by the talk itself are interesting in their own right, that’s not what makes it interesting for this blog. I’m interested in just how much MORE compelling a good idea can become when paired with relevant and engaging visual images. RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts) has been working on a whole series of these sorts of animations.

What I find so compelling about these videos is their simplicity and intelligence. Black, white, red. Marker, whiteboard. Digital video and audio recorder. Editing software. You could make this video with relatively inexpensive equipment. You could easily buy everything retail (software included) for less than $300. FlipVideo ($125), USB mic ($75), Adobe Premiere Elements ($69). Not cheap, but then you’d be set for all sorts of other projects you might want to do.

But this isn’t to say that everyone could make this kind of a video. It takes two skills/characteristics that take a long time to acquire/cultivate: insight and patience.

Insight. Because it’s one thing to be a smart person. It’s another thing to know enough about something to at least recognize the work that needs to be done. And it’s an entirely new sort of work to be able to contribute knowledge that you know fits into a conversation and to articulate it clearly and concisely enough to

Patience. I’m sure that it took dozens of hours to get that drawing right. Several drafts. Storyboarding. Mistakes.

But insight and patience, I think, are two characteristics that can be taught/learned/acquire/cultivated. And so I see this video as incredibly inspiring. And now I’ve got to get back to work so as to make enough time in my schedule for more creative endeavors like these.

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