Collaborative Spirit and other Storytelling Essentials

How We Build Stories at Moving Tales

Conventional spoken storytelling is collaborative in that the tales are handed along and developed over time. Every telling is unique and requires a listening audience to become meaningful. We believe that digital stories are no exception: they too develop over time, and are created through the collaborative efforts and disparate skills of many individuals, each of whom brings his or her own perspective and creative signature to the projects. 

At Moving Tales, all aspects of production, from the written narrative, to the creation of images and ambient sound form part of a collaborative call and response process as the stories are developed.  The written narrative is seldom fixed from the start, but rather expands and contracts in the call and response process as the images and sounds are developed around it and woven through it over time. This method is unique as opposed to writing in isolation. 

Folkloric Sources – Making ‘futures out of the past’

Our app stories reference traditional folklore and as such, they are loosely woven from threads common to folk telling traditions.  They draw on stories with no definitive form, and from no fixed place. They pay respect to stories which in all likelihood emerged from oral traditions, from the imaginations of storytellers who came long before me, and they are animate, in the truest sense of the word.  The tales as I have written them have been transformed, renewed and brought to new life making ‘futures out of the past’.

They engage with cultural traditions by opening them up, and the listeners of these tales are invited in turn to reshape them, respond, and interact in a way that enables them to share in their production. 

Technical Implementation

Each Moving Tales story has been translated and recorded with professional voice overs.  Each telling is unique and can be listened to in one of three languages.  

Our stories have been created with built-in randomly selectable alternate perspectives and sounds. This means that each time the device is relaunched, the program randomly selects from a series of both visual and audio variables to ensure that no two experiences of a given story are identical.

It is our hope that the design of the text in a Moving Tale, by virtue of the fact that it is animated and interactive, that it floats and is not necessarily fixed to the page, is interesting both conceptually and visually. We like to think that it’s mutability acts as a kind of metaphor for storytelling in the digital age.  

A built in recording function allows each person who experiences the telling of a story to capture and record and transform their own telling of it in subsequent iterations.  This restores life to what might otherwise be a limited and technologically based telling.  Inherent in this facet, is its invitation to transform the story telling experience from a passive to an active one.  

Stories are Powerful Tools for Learning

We believe that the more we learn to become producers of stories rather than consumers in a media saturated society, the more powerful a learning tool storytelling can become.

The use of digital technologies encourages different types of literacy. Telling stories in the digital realm has revealed its potential as a great teaching tool that can be used to help develop skills that go well beyond writing and media literacy.  Visual, language and independent reading skills all benefit greatly from the practice of hearing, reading, and creating stories.

A Good Story Vs A Technical Event

As narrative art forms continue to evolve to accommodate new technologies, I strongly believe that what remains prescient is to keep the soul of storytelling intact and that the challenge of digital storytelling is to keep the focus on a good story rather than the power of the technology which is put to its service. The risk is always that a good story might lose out to a technical event.  Technology can serve, but it also has the power to enslave, oversaturate and override the beauty of a strong narrative.  A digital story needs to find the right balance because in the end, no amount of technology will ever compensate for an uninteresting story.

Good stories are very much about the art of illusion – if only to provide us with the temporary illusion of leaving our day to day world – they are portals to an alternate reality.

We believe there are as many ways to create a story as there are stories to tell.  Because we all see, feel, hear and perceive the world in different ways our approaches to telling stories, be they oral or digital will hopefully reflect those differences.  


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