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Five Pop Culture Trends That Can Change Storytelling Forever
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Stories inspire us, ignite our emotions, enthrall our lives and make great memories of even the dullest of our experiences. They help us believe that the extraordinary can happen and often turn ordinary people into legends. Shaping us, molding us, making us who we really are, stories play an undeniable role in our lives.

Let us explore the five trends which have impacted the Art of Storytelling in this country.

Return of the ‘Outsiders’
Increasing internet penetration and smartphone usage has exposed us all to a diverse amount of multimedia content, especially multilingual and multicultural. Popular television programmes from across the world are now easily available to the Indian consumer. While English language entertainment Television initiated the trend with shows such as F.R.I.E.N.D.S, How I Met Your Mother, Dexter, Psych, Castle and the like, recently that these shows have begun to reach a wider audiences. This indicates that Foreign TV content has now moved into the world of mass consumption. Subsequently, it is now rare to come across young people who do not identify with these TV shows. The implication is clear that people’s preferences are changing, thus impacting the kind of content they consume and stories that they prefer to listen.

The New Age Authors
Another interesting trend is the rise in sales of works by Indian authors in the English Language. The growth of English as a medium of communication has created a market for books which are easy to read and relate to. Subsequently, authors like Amish Tripathi, Ravinder Singh, Ashwin Sanghi, Preeti Shenoy and the like, who were  relatively unknown until recently, have now found a ready market for their works to flourish. The literary style they employ is simpler, adapted to be understood easily by the masses and people of all age groups alike. “Many people are aspiring to become future storytellers and are longer afraid to accept criticism from any strata of the audience. I look forward to participate in TaleSpin at Fest-O-Comm 2015 powered by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited and tell my story,” says Puneet Bajaj, a student of Brand Communication, at Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication (PG), Pune and a regular blogger.

To Publish or not to Publish? 
The rise of Amazon and other e-publishers, along with devices customized for ebooks such as Kindle, have caused a revolution within the publishing sector. Many authors today choose the unconventional way of getting their work published through virtual bookstores and electronic readers like Amazon’s Kindle. While traditional publishing is a complex and time consuming process, e-publishing involves almost negligible cost and incurs no material constraints for all the stakeholders. It also offers amateur authors a better chance of getting their stories read as compared to print where they await approvals from overly critical and traditional publishers.
Many writers are even going a step further and releasing their work through Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other methods online. Post flash fiction, tweet sized fiction is the new trend garnering support from storytelling groups across social media. This helps in easy promotion and allows quicker dissemination of stories to an enthusiastic and larger audience. “Storytelling has evolved through the ages,”says Ruchika Bhardwaj, “which is why the theme for Fest-O-Comm 2015 has been decided as the Art of Storytelling.” 

The Road Less Taken
If there is a story that excites the masses, it is the story of the outliers- people who have dared to be different. IIT-ians have dropped out to become independent music composers, veteran corporate executives have left their jobs to become wildlife explorers, and the like are the stories one comes across frequently of late. Taking up alternative career options, entering low paying fields (despite chances to earn better otherwise), raising their voice against oppression when no one dares to et al, are some attributes of this category. These inspiring journeys, experiences, lessons and content are accessible to all users on platforms such as Soundcloud (music), YouTube (videos), photoblogs, making them an inspiration to people who wish to challenge the norms and leave a mark.

Ever Seen this Before?
Unconventional themes and grey characters are the order of the day. A television show like Game of Thrones portrays many unconventional ideologies while shows like Dexter, Breaking Bad and Death Note narrate the tale from the perspective of the anti-hero. Many popular novels series like Twilight, Vampire Diaries and True Blood, have addressed women’s deep desires which hadn’t surfaced in the pop culture so far. A series such as the Fifty Shades of Grey went a step further to exhibit the fulfillment of women’s innate sexual desires and fantasies. This trend reflects the newfound audacity of people to charter unknown waters and discover alternate themes and characters with multiple shades.

Whether it is Ramayan, Mahabharat or the tales of Snow White and seven dwarfs, stories teach us about people and life. Ultimately, we start making sense of ourselves through our stories. That is why when a new generation which is fed completely on unconventional content comes up; a generation more familiar with How I met your Mother than Shravan Kumar and his mother, we realize that we are in midst of a cultural revolution.

To be a part of this space of changing stories, attend Symbiosis Institute of Media & Communication (PG) - Pune’s  flagship communication event Fest - O - Comm powered by Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited on 11th, 12th and 13th February in Lavale, Pune. 

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