Why Is Location Important In A Story?

Why location is important in a story?

Why Is Location Important In A Story?

Why Is Location Important In A Story? 366 222 Shlomi Ron

Do you give enough importance to location in your visual stories?

Location along with the time are critical in painting a vivid story in your audience’s minds.

In a classic story structure that follows Setting, Conflict and Resolution, you typically will find the first mention of the location in Act 1: The Setting.

This is where you introduce the hero, where she lives, the time and how life was normal until something happened.

Because location carries a rich trove of associations it allows people to easily complete the story in their minds and assess its relevancy to their lives.

You can see location’s importance in various fields.

Let’s start with a simple example, in every newsletter I send out to my subscribers, I include in the upper right corner Miami, next to the time stamp.

This helps my subscribers – I hope – place me geographically and get a better feel about what may influence my writing and perspectives.

Think of  a standup comedian, kicking off her show by just saying “I grew up in Chicago” and getting a barrage of relatable cheers from the audience.

Every time I meet someone on LunchClub the first thing we ask each other is “Where are you based at?” and that helps frame our conversation with following questions.

What has been consistent so far, Miami always generates a smile, which tells you the likely fun associations of vacation, beaches and good time it evokes.

In fact, if you look closer Miami plays a central role in VSI’s brand narrative.

You can see it in action in VSI’s Instagram account where I often use visuals from Miami to bring up visual storytelling principles, and equally important using the location tag for orienting viewers and for searchers by location.

In real estate, you’ll find the “location, location, location” mantra that underscores the fact that location drives the value of a property.

Think of a mansion overlooking the ocean or gulf course that commands top dollars.

In movies, you have a location scout that is responsible to select the optimal filming location to meet the script requirements and also figure out logistical issues like city permits.

My classic Italian cinema instructor in New York always liked to say, that in movies the location presence throughout the movie turns it into a viable character by its own right.

Case in point, think of the role of New York plays in Woody Allen’s movies, or location significance in Miami Vice and Hawaii Five-0 TV shows.

And in marketing, targeting people by location is an important factor that shapes the entire details of the message.

Check out a related podcast interview I’ve recently done: How to Use Visual Storytelling in Regional Marketing?

On a personal level, back in 2007, when I moved from San Diego to New York’s Westchester county, I really missed the proximity to the beach.

To fix that I had quite a crazy idea you may think.

Why not create a virtual window showing any million dollar view I want?

So, I asked my carpenter to open up the wall in one room and create a physical wooden window with blinds and all and encase there an HD 65″ TV screen.

I can still see my carpenter’s puzzled look, muttering “Yea, it’s my luck to get all the weird projects…”

Promised you crazy, right?

My Good Ol' Virtual WindowMy good ol’ virtual window in New York, located in our “Inspiration Room” – you can see why 🙂

We used it a lot as an ambient window when hosting friends and playing landscape videos from our trips around the world.

As such, this magic window – bypassing time and space, practically transformed the room from right here NY to imaginative there, while engaging our guests in an immersive visual experience.

You can easily test this effect.

What do you see outside your window right now?

In general, I bet you occasionally take a glimpse to check the weather or the greenery changing colors.

Like in a movie set, it’s a visual presence that sits silently in the background and characterizes your house unique vibes.

That’s why last week, I figured it’s time to revive my old virtual window experience and bring it into today’s technology.

So, a few days ago I’ve created an AmbientWindows collection on OpenSea NFT marketplace with no need to hire a carpenter 😉

New to NFT (Non Fungible Token)? Check out my recent story covering the basics.

Salina - ambient window by VSIReady to teleport yourself to the Island of Salina in Sicily?
Check out Salina, which is part of my AmbientWindows NFT collection

With digital display’s cost decreasing, It’s easier to recreate this visual experience on your own.

Whereas I used the visual metaphor of a window, another popular metaphor is the framed artwork with examples like Samsung’s Frame TV or Qonos that is more geared towards showcasing NFT art.

My approach assumes most people have the basic requirement of a large flat screen TV at home. So, in describing the AmbientWindows collection I provide clear staging guidance:

The AmbientWindows collection provides you with rich escapism outlets no matter where you live. After you get one of these ambient windows, play the video on your large TV screen in a loop, put on your favorite music to set the tone, serve a nice brunch, invite great company – and let the window do its magic and transport you all away on a special visual journey.

As you’ll find, I also provide a short backstory in the description of each video to establish that “Bridge of Empathy” with the audience.

VSI's 3D GalleryYou can get a feel for how these ambient windows would look on a wall in VSI’s 3D immersive gallery

Since summer is around the corner, for Salina, the image you see above, to invoke the right emotions and associations I used this backstory:

You’re in the majestic Salina Island in Sicily, looking out the window you see this picturesque view of the bay, a distant boat, a seagull idly flying over, much closer light breeze lulling the bright purple Bougainvillea branches and you know, wow I so needed this vacation!

As you can see, location plays a critical role in any visual story. It’s in essence a communication backdrop – like soundtrack – with distinct qualities that helps you set the mood, emotions and meanings you want your audience to experience.

How are you using location in your visual storytelling (images, videos, infographics)? Feel free to share your comments below. And if you’d like to chat further on how to develop your storytelling strategy to celebrate your location, book time on my calendar.

Shlomi Ron

Shlomi Ron is the CEO of the Visual Storytelling Institute (VSI), the primary think tank that brings the gospel of visual storytelling from the world of art into marketing. AT VSI, Shlomi helps brands rise above the communication noise through visual storytelling consulting, training, production, and thought leadership. A digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience working both on the agency and brand sides for Fortune 100/500 brands such as Nokia, IBM, and American Express. Along his journey, he was nursing his side passion for visual media with interests in classic Italian cinema (cafePellicola.com) and video art (BukySchwartz.com). Thought leader and speaker at key marketing conferences. He is also the host of the Visual Storytelling Today podcast that ranks the best 20 business storytelling podcasts on the Web. Shlomi's new book: Total Acuity: Tales with Marketing Morals To Help You Create Richer, Visual Brand Stories. His favorite quote: "A story is nothing but a mirror. The magic happens the moment your brand story mirrors your customer’s personal story." Outside work, he is a nascent bread baker, The Moth fan, and longtime fedora wearer likely to jive with his classic Italian cinema interest.

All stories by: Shlomi Ron

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.