Talk about a fun title!! Now in case the title was too vague, which it probably was, I will now explain what I mean by it. Over the history of storytelling, there have been many forms of presenting stories to prospective people, and they have been told in so many different ways. Today we probably think of the different forms of media as written, spoken, visual and combinations of such. However, it gets way more specific when we speak of comics versus novels or TV shows versus movies. How does the medium change the story or the limits of whether adaptation can occur? This is something I am very interested in and as someone who enjoys a variety of different mediums and as a person who loves a good story, I am excited to bring you my very first analysis of the different mediums of storytelling. Medium in this case means, the way the story in told whether it be via the pages of a novel or a comic. Medium can mean a radio drama or a movie. Basically I will try to narrow down the strengths and weaknesses of various forms of storytelling and of course, the most important part is how it effects the ability to tell a good story.
The Radio drama or podcast
Audio and spoken word is one of the oldest forms of storytelling. We love to tell stories to each other for various reasons. In fact, many of the greatest myths and legends are part of our trying to make sense of our world through stories. But storytelling is also something that transcends different generations and can connect all of us together. Now before the radio was a think, there was the noble bard or simply the family member who would tell a story. Even if you couldn’t record things the stories could be told by a group of people in a theater or simply by a father to his son. Now the theater involved visual elements so I will not dwell on it here but elements of theater would come to play in the eventual radio drama. The radio was a magnificent invention and it allowed everyone to hear things from across insane distances. This also allowed regular programming of radio shows and dramas that people could tune in every week to hear adventures of their favorite people. It allowed the president of the United States to communicate with people too. But the regular radio show was a great way to tell longer stories or even groups of shorter stories. Before TV was a thing, this pioneered the techniques that would become so plentiful. Now comics, books, and newspapers were also available for far longer but the radio had certain advantages that books didn’t. First of all, it could be a family activity. Reading is seldom something you can do with another person and audio is a great way to listen to a story together with other people. It also adds the structure of a time to gather with other people to get the next installment. You simply cannot read a book with another person at the same speed and feel connected. However, the radio drama would have the same weaknesses as other mediums such as television. The radio required advertisers and other ways to fund it. They often would have shows with multiple writers and sometimes that would backfire. I would argue that having multiple writers is both a blessing and curse. Sometimes it can help get a story to be streamlined and perfected. Having other people help guide the story can help make a better product. However, there is the rub. Stories are very rarely better simply by being treated as products. The best stories are things that the writer puts his or her heart and soul into. Stories can be accidents but rarely are they accidents where the end product is something that the writer cares very little about. Today this medium lives on via the podcast. The podcast is like radio but it is from the internet and is wonderful. I myself cannot get enough of them and in my mind they can replace actual radio. However, it is worth noting that radio and podcasts are very versatile mediums but they do not have the sheer permeation of other similar mediums. I think this format is best used for anthologies and medium length stories. Theatrical adaptations of books are also a very good choice.
To be continued