Monday, May 7, 2018

The New Storytelling: 101

The Old Storytelling

Lots of talk about storytelling these days. Of course humans have been telling stories as long as we have existed, it's part of our DNA. What I am finding fascinating is how my long career as a producer of preschool media prepares me for the current brand storytelling we are hearing so much about and our work at Anim8Nature.

Kristin Reiber Harris

Mission of the Life Cycles

The beauty of working on an independent project is it can grow and change over time.
It's always nice to feel these changes are for the better, more clearly defining the mission. 

Anim8Nature's first animated documentaries are life cycles. Here is the last one completed recently about lichens. These stories tell themselves, or rather Mother Natures reveals the story. I research and consult with scientists but I'm not making up an original story. To the point, I am doing the opposite. These are stories all living organisms share.

The New Storytelling

As I continue the life cycles and short "in motion" animations, I want to tell stories about scientists for whom art has played a role in their work, stories about groups of organisms and how their lives are intertwined and reminiscences of childhood peak experiences in nature.

Kristin Reiber Harris


I am really excited as I find more and more content for a wide range of ages that has wonderful playful qualities that formerly were associated with young children's media. The New York Times OP-Docs have been a treasure trove of animated storytelling that inspires my work. In a previous post I mentioned the work of Sweet Fern Productions. My favorites are storytelling about science in a visual style appealing to children but information to all ages.  If you are like me, not a scientist, you want your science explained in a way you can easily understand.

Not all my new storytelling inspiration is science related. The ACLU has produced a series of social/legal justice short docs that are very powerful. I found Lavette's Story particularly moving. Granted, these are not stories for young children.

Another great source of inspiration is the work of illustrator/animator/artist Jackie Lay. Jackie's work has a wonderful sense of style and color and her transitions between scenes can be masterful. I continue to reference her David Lynch on Creativity to marvel at her work, much of it for her full time gig with The Atlantic.

The Atlantic  David Lynch on Creativity  Art and Animation by Jackie Lay

Stay Tuned

Stories are about capturing attention and making a point. I am currently working on a story about our mission at Anim8Nature and how it all came together. We want your support in sharing our passion for seeing the patterns and connections that unite all life on Earth. 

What Stories Inspire You?

How do you use stories to influence and educate? Who are your favorite storytellers?

Anim8Nature: Inspiring Environmental Stewardship Exploring Science with Art

Learn more about on this blog and our website. We are a team of experts creating media and workshops to help students and families explore science with art. We want to spark curiosity and get kids outside as environmental stewards.

Our animated docs: 

Life Cycles
Monarch Butterfly, Jellyfish, Lichen, Acorn/Oak, Shelf Fungus 

Squirrels, Clouds, Crab, Pileated Woodpecker, Chicken, Leaves, Seadragon

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