Presentation Zen (Lessons in visual storytelling from Japan)
March 21, 2012
The folks of Presentation Zen; directed at presenting detailed tips on the title’s activity, produced a particularly helpful blog post in October of 2011. They underline the definition of Kamishibai (meaning paper and play/drama) as being paramount. What that can be described as is the earthy balance between hand-drawn stimulants and the vocal commentary of a narrator:
“. . . .a form of visual and participatory storytelling”
This effect is achieved through a sequence of cards that the presenter is to change while their “story” progresses. This is the part that would need adaptation for my own group. Since we’re essentially pitching a webzine; it’s the method undercurrent that we’d focus on utilizing rather than the specific technique. In a more personalized take on it, we’d still be showing more so than tell. A basic guideline for Kamishibai is that less is truly more. They’d only have a set number of cards to get their point across, and they could only truly show each image for a few seconds. So, an absurd amount of detail would effectively lose the audience. If they tried to pack too many visual images into their presentation, the theme would become moot. This is a resonant fact especially with PowerPoint slides; but also visuals in presentations as a whole. The way to go with these types of constraints is to include in each card only what’s important in its synced with the narrative.
I think this way of tackling the project is great. My own group could adapt such a method into our presentation by; say, cycling through photos that follow our gaming timeline. Our theme isn’t set in stone just yet but it’s certainly an idea. What I like most about this method is that it isn’t simply about showing the audience a picture and talking about it. Getting them involved is a big part, and giving those visuals an active role in the presentation even more so. That’s what it takes to keep people awake; from their heads falling down into the notebook below for a twenty minute eye-resting ceremony. If nothing else, it’s something to bring up to the next group collaboration!