Multimedia Storytelling

I hope my time as an intern here has been a little different than most. One of the launch titles, Maggot Moon, was in need of some accompanying video content to enhance the digital edition, and with my background in video editing and graphics I hoped that over the next few days I could rise to the occasion.

I first got into the graphics side of things when my love of books evolved to include film. I feel the two go hand in hand, both telling stories in different ways, but both utilising the written word: books for prose and films for scripts. First off were some videos to do with the general mood of the book. Montages of images and videos setting the scene and bringing the words to life…

To many of you, this will be sacrilege, but I believe that there is a big opportunity to enhance the book reading experience with the melding of multimedia into a book. Small videos can act like mood boards, setting the tone of the next chapter or bringing the emotion of a scene to life. In the same way, could background music to a book catch on? With more and more people electing to read on an iPad or tablet, why listen to your own music when you could be adding to the atmosphere of the novel? Imagine reading about a thrilling chase with a soundtrack of film scored music! Or a love scene where the pages turn pink, the screen steams up and petals fall behind the text! Digital distribution brings a lot of potential to a relatively unchanged market.

About four or five years ago, I began to dabble with Photoshop. A novice at first, thousands of videos and several books later I felt I had relatively mastered the basics and could progress to After Effects… sort of a ‘Photoshop for videos’. Short animations for clients on YouTube gave me access to quite a large, if unforgiving audience. Animations in After Effects then began to feel out dated, what with 3D becoming more and more prevalent, so in August of 2011 I began to move onto completely new territory for me: Cinema 4D.


Cinema 4D is a relatively easy to use 3D modelling and animation platform that allowed me to start to get to grips with the strange concept of manipulating a 3 dimensional model on a 2 dimensional computer screen. To start with, I was out of my depth. It was hard going but I stuck with it, trying to push myself to try new ways of creating content. Even now, almost a year later, I still can only just barely model a convincing object. My forte is in the animation and rendering side of things; making things move and look realistic.


Anyway, I’m waffling. Maggot Moon is set in a time rich with 1950s culture and the project allowed me to really get to grips with the background material of the book. I’ve somehow managed to convince the team here to let me put my passion to work and make a book trailer and short video for one of the more touching moments in the book (which I cant reveal to you yet!) and trying to tie it in with the wonderfully unique art style the design team here created for the book… lets hope this works!

So, I’ve told you all my thoughts on an enhanced digital reading experience and to my mind the benefits of a mixed entertainment experience and I’ll try to keep you updated with any progress I make between moving house and school. The question now is, do you agree with me? Or are books the last remaining breakwater between us and a deluge of digital information? Feel free to sound off in the comments below!

-Charlie Smith