03:52
Full Spectrum Auditions

Joe Sabia: The technology of storytelling

Filmed:

iPad storyteller Joe Sabia introduces us to Lothar Meggendorfer, who created a bold technology for storytelling: the pop-up book. Sabia shows how new technology has always helped us tell our own stories, from the walls of caves to his own onstage iPad.

- Storyteller
Joe Sabia investigates new ways to tell stories -- meshing viral video and new display technologies with old-fashioned narrative. Full bio

Ladies and gentlemen, gather around.
00:15
I would love to share with you a story.
00:17
Once upon a time
00:20
in 19th century Germany,
00:22
there was the book.
00:24
Now during this time,
00:26
the book was the king of storytelling.
00:28
It was venerable.
00:30
It was ubiquitous.
00:32
But it was a little bit boring.
00:34
Because in its 400 years of existence,
00:38
storytellers never evolved the book
00:41
as a storytelling device.
00:43
But then one author arrived,
00:45
and he changed the game forever.
00:47
(Music)
00:51
His name was Lothar,
00:53
Lothar Meggendorfer.
00:55
Lothar Meggendorfer put his foot down,
00:58
and he said, "Genug ist genug!"
01:01
He grabbed his pen,
01:07
he snatched his scissors.
01:09
This man refused to fold to the conventions of normalcy
01:11
and just decided to fold.
01:13
History would know Lothar Meggendorfer
01:15
as -- who else? --
01:17
the world's first true inventor
01:19
of the children's pop-up book.
01:21
(Music)
01:24
For this delight and for this wonder,
01:26
people rejoiced.
01:28
(Cheering)
01:30
They were happy because the story survived,
01:33
and that the world would keep on spinning.
01:36
Lothar Meggendorfer wasn't the first
01:38
to evolve the way a story was told,
01:40
and he certainly wasn't the last.
01:42
Whether storytellers realized it or not,
01:44
they were channeling Meggendorfer's spirit
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when they moved opera to vaudville,
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radio news to radio theater,
01:53
film to film in motion
01:56
to film in sound, color, 3D,
01:59
on VHS and on DVD.
02:02
There seemed to be no cure for this Meggendorferitis.
02:04
And things got a lot more fun when the Internet came around.
02:07
(Laughter)
02:10
Because, not only could people broadcast their stories throughout the world,
02:12
but they could do so
02:15
using what seemed to be an infinite amount of devices.
02:17
For example, one company
02:20
would tell a story of love
02:23
through its very own search engine.
02:25
One Taiwanese production studio
02:30
would interpret American politics in 3D.
02:32
(Laughter)
02:35
And one man would tell the stories of his father
02:40
by using a platform called Twitter
02:44
to communicate the excrement his father would gesticulate.
02:46
And after all this, everyone paused;
02:49
they took a step back.
02:51
They realized that, in 6,000 years of storytelling,
02:53
they've gone from depicting hunting on cave walls
02:56
to depicting Shakespeare on Facebook walls.
03:00
And this was a cause for celebration.
03:04
The art of storytelling has remained unchanged.
03:07
And for the most part, the stories are recycled.
03:09
But the way that humans tell the stories
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has always evolved
03:14
with pure, consistent novelty.
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And they remembered a man,
03:19
one amazing German,
03:21
every time a new storytelling device
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popped up next.
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And for that,
03:30
the audience --
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the lovely, beautiful audience --
03:34
would live happily ever after.
03:36
(Applause)
03:39

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About the Speaker:

Joe Sabia - Storyteller
Joe Sabia investigates new ways to tell stories -- meshing viral video and new display technologies with old-fashioned narrative.

Why you should listen

Joe Sabia calls himself a "conceptor, creator, consultant, collaborator and curator" who helps companies and organizations tell better stories. But you may know him as the creator of ...

"Tupac in Kazakhstan," which pieced together dozens of Kazakhs to sing Changes by Tupac Shakur. 

"Seven Minute Sopranos,"a lightning retell of the Sopranos saga.

"Google Goes Gaga."

"History of Lyrics That Aren't Lyrics."

... and many more viral videos -- some created with the CDZA musicians' collective.

 

More profile about the speaker
Joe Sabia | Speaker | TED.com