A return to bite-sized storytelling

Clayton J. Hester
3 min readJun 19, 2022

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I already wrote on Thursday about “lateral thinking with withered technology,” and how looking back at old media and technology helps us craft the “next big thing.”

I have a proposal for this in film, too.

Prior to TV’s predominance, theatres had film serials.

This stuff… it was fantastical.

From action/adventure, to superhero, to sci-fi, to mystery, it was all hinged on larger-than-life storytelling.

And these tales of adventures in the broader galaxy or searching for treasure in the jungle are said to be what inspired George Lucas’ Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises.

I would suggest that the film serial can return.

It can return in TikToks and Instagram posts and stories.

Here is an opportunity to build along with creators.

I’m breaking the sacred rule of having links for every reference here, but in a bygone day, I once saw this notion play out wonderful with an Instagram creator who shared short videos in a series and then asked her audience to vote on what the next part of the story would be.

It’s not only a serial film — it’s interactive media, too.

But what if we made our films more digestible, bit-by-bit at a time?

What if we gave these stories to our audiences in a way that drew them back for more?

Here we have the formula for the old-time serial film: introduction, action, cliffhanger.

We need to make sure they return to our theatrical seats, or in this case, our profile page, for next time.

In an era when we all have kinetoscopes in our phones, we’re capable of making similar short films for mass consumption.

But you may ask, after you read the fascinating autopsy of that streaming service Quibi, hasn’t this micro-filmmaking been tried and failed?

Well, I would contend it fails as a distinct brand and company. Not to mention the fact Quibi had the…

Clayton J. Hester

Country boy. Explorer of the creative process & life, the arts, storytelling, innovation and history of ideas. Omnia in gloriam Dei facite — claytonjhester.com