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          10 stories we've enjoyed this week      

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Hi All, 

If you cast your mind back to last summer a video of a set of Gen Z twins listening to Phil Collins' 'In The Air Tonight' for the very first time went viral. I watched more of their 'First Time Hearing' videos and fell in love with the format. Nostalgia trips like this often take me back to places and moments I can remember from the period. But this format makes me revisit the emotions I remember in a way that listening to an old song on the radio doesn't. I'm not thinking about the other pieces of culture I consumed at the time or the people I hung out with. I'm just enjoying reliving the emotion. The videos made me feel different enough for me to write about it for Formats Unpacked. What formats are you loving at the moment?

If you'd like some help thinking about content formats or strategy we have a collection of workshops you may be interested in. Do get in touch if you'd like more information. 

Inspiration and appreciation this week go to Amy McNichol, Helen Lawson, Darren Garrett and Gretchen Rubin. Make sure you subscribe to their newsletters, listen to their podcasts or show some love for whatever it is they put out into the world. 

Have a great weekend all.

Hugh
The Short Story
How Andre Agassi Read Boris Becker's Mind
(1 min watch)

"I'd Never Been Involved in Something as Secret as This"
(1 hour read) 


Cobbler James Timpson on the Value of Simple Data Gathering
(1 min read)

15 Things Tim Wardle Wishes He'd Known About Documentary Filmmaking
(Thread)

How the Guardian Went Digital and Global
(8 min read)

Data From a Century of Cinema Reveals How Cinema Has Evolved
(5 min read)


The Principles That Guide Communications in Funeralcare
(4 min read)

Instagram Needs More Shakespeare
(Instagram account)

Anything Worthwhile Takes a Long Time So Don't Rush to the Top of the Mountain
(1 min read)

Zoom Backgrounds by Mr Bingo
(Backrounds)

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Here's 3 reasons to get in touch

1. You want to talk to us about content production: podcasts, videos, animations, illustrations, editorial. 

2. You want to talk to us about content strategy or format development.

3. You want to create a brand or an identity that makes it easier to communicate your message.


We do other things too. We're very friendly and always enjoy meeting people, so get in touch

 
The Full Story
How Andre Agassi Read Boris Becker's Mind
Andre Agassi reveals how he managed to read Becker's mind and how that then created a new problem for him. This is such a fascinating watch. 
(1 min watch)

"I'd Never Been Involved in Something as Secret as This"
If you're looking for a long read to immerse yourself in this weekend, bookmark this. Politico unpacks the plan to kill Osama Bin Laden using the oral history format, which lends itself so brilliantly to this kind of story. It's full of crazy twists and turns, life-changing decisions and detail on the process of carrying out an assassination of such magnitude that makes this one of the most gripping things I've read in some time. It features the voices of many of the key people we know from Pete Souza's now-famous situation room picture, each painting a never-before-seen view of the most momentous decision of Barack Obama’s presidency.
(1 hour read) 

Cobbler James Timpson on the Value of Simple Data Gathering
If you have a simple business model, there's no need to overcomplicate things with data, says James Timpson, CEO of the British shoe company. This short story about scrapping £8millon worth of tech and replacing it with pens, paper and bull clips is a great lesson in how simplifying processes brings clarity and focus. 
(1 min read)

15 Things Tim Wardle Wishes He'd Known About Documentary Filmmaking
A very good list of career tips for anyone just starting out in documentary filmmaking. I like this the most: "Embrace the nuance and psychological complexity/messiness of real people. The most compelling doc characters are often decent people who’ve done bad things, or ‘bad’/difficult people doing decent things."

(Thread)

How the Guardian Went Digital and Global

The Guardian is currently celebrating its 200th anniversary via a collection of stories, videos and interactives. This piece by former editor Alan Rusbridger is an eye-opening account of what managing change in a revolution feels like and how getting 50% of your decisions right is pretty good going: "We went from a rudimentary room with egg boxes nailed to the walls for acoustic dampening in our old Farringdon Road office to building half a dozen state-of-the-art studios in our new home in King’s Cross. Something called “podcasting” was said to be just around the corner. We struggled to make sense of video for a long time, and podcasting didn’t take off. The studios stood empty – a monument, it seemed, to management stupidity. And then podcasting miraculously revived and the commercial teams were desperate for every minute of video we could produce. Trying to chart a course in this revolution was wildly unpredictable. Economic crashes and predatory big tech companies didn’t help. By now, crystal balls were essential."
(1 min read)

Data From a Century of Cinema Reveals How Cinema Has Evolved
I have to thank Darren Garrett for surfacing this old Wired piece on the Storythings Slack this week. It looks at the many factors in the evolution of cinema that have enabled filmmakers to hold the audience's attention for longer. Fascinating stuff: "The average shot length of English language films has declined from about 12 seconds in 1930 to about 2.5 seconds today...Cutting says some people have tried to pin declining shot lengths on MTV, by invoking a sort of video-killed-the-attention-span hypothesis. He doesn’t buy it. For one thing, Salt’s graph of declining shot durations has no obvious inflection point in or after 1982, the year MTV was born. Shot durations were declining before that, and they kept declining at a similar rate after."
(6 min read)

The Principles That Guide Communications in Funeralcare
Lead Content Designer at Co-op Funeralcare, Helen Lawson,  has written about the 4 principles that guide how they communicate online. The importance of reducing the chance of misinterpretation is made clear in this example of why they don't use the phrase "passed away": "A bereavement counsellor explained the terror of a child when they were told their sister had “passed out”. Months before, their mother had died and her death had been referred to as her “passing away”. The child had assumed the same had happened to their sister. The language we use is informed by years of working alongside funeral directors and research."
(4 min read) 

Instagram Needs More Shakespeare
This is simple but very effective. One Line of Shakespeare features selected lines from The Bard, one at a time.
(Instagram account)

Anything Worthwhile Takes a Long Time So Don't Rush to the Top of the Mountain
With a little help from Dave Lee Roth, the wonderful Debbie Millman explains why she wants to reach the top the day before she dies.  
(1 min read)


Zoom Backgrounds by Mr Bingo
Some mildly offensive Zoom backgrounds designed by Mr Bingo. 
(Backgrounds)
We hope you've enjoyed this week's newsletter. I'm sure some of your friends would love to read it. Sharing it would be really appreciated. If you've received this from a friend you can subscribe here and get it direct to your inbox every Friday.

Thanks for reading and see you all next week,

Hugh, Matt, Anjali and the team at Storythings
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