Since the first person told his story around the proverbial campfire, storytelling has been an attempt to transfer one person’s vision to another. The technology of this keeps progressing, oral, written and film. But they are all trying to attain that one basic transfer of what’s in one person’s head into another’s.
The medium dictates how it is shaped, and also limits what can be transferred. The written word can go into much more detail than the cinematic experience, but leaves it to the reader to recreate his own echo of the vision. The cinematic experience (whether movies, or television, or online video) allows for a more direct experience of portions of the vision, but of course video isn’t something people put down and continue later. The smaller details of the story are lost in the attempt to give a gestalt version that can be viewed in one sitting.
This is the reason books haven’t gone away with the advent of film and television. They overlap in their attempts to convey the vision, but their approaches are ultimately not compatible. The vision can be partially transmitted in both media, but they won’t be the same.
The next big jump in transferring the vision is going to be the virtual reality experience. Reliving the story from the viewpoint of one or more characters. Or perhaps from some godlike overview. Immersion in the vision. It’s closer than we think, it’s already nibbling at the edges of story already. What will this do to the written word and cinema? Let me know what you think.