Cinderella Powerpoint Serendipty

CDB readers know my affinity for stories of web serendipity; strange or wonderful connections made that otherwise would have not happened without this “internet” thing- here’s another gem.

I’ve forgotten where I first stumbled across on slideshare Power Point 20th Anniversary Cinderella. In 19 slides of lengthly bullet points, inscrutable charts, and exposition, it tells the well-known fairy tale in all the ways we know that PowerPoint can be used to numb an audience.

Last summer when I was assembling my 50 Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story, it struck me that for a section on How Do I Come Up with a Story Idea, it would be a fun way of showing a non-example of how one should tell a multimedia story.

In doing the 50 Ways as a presentation, showing Cinderella.PPT never fails to get the audience rolling in laughter- the only thing they laugh more about is the talking alpaca on Blabberize.

the other day, I found an email from Cinderella’s fairy godfather power point creator, Rowan Manahan:

My web guy pointed me to all the embeds of the PowerPoint Cinderella piece recently. As I read through the blog posts, your name kept popping up. It seems you have really made an impression with your how NOT to tell a story talks.

I’d love to send you the original file with all the builds and fades, but there’s a condition. You have to promise that if you use it, you’ll tell the original story in a warm, bedtime story voice, as though to a six year-old – while the appalling bullets and charts build behind you.

How about it?

Of course, I would take him up in this bargain, so I have in my personal collection the full overblown, over animated Cinderella a la bullet point.

I asked Rowan if I could blog about our little exchange (“That would be a hoot”) and more about where the idea sprung from:

I produced a crude version of this some years back to illustrate just how badly an inappropriate use of PPT could come between an audience and a good story. I tidied it up in honour of PPTs 20th birthday last year and stuck it up on SlideShare.

If memory serves, Oscar Wilde’s stage direction for the Importance of Being Earnest was that the actors should play the piece in a totally strait-laced manner, that the effect of the play would be ruined if the actors conveyed any sense of the absurdity of the words they were uttering to the audience.

I find the straighter I deliver Cinderella, with the maximum of daddy-telling-story-to-little-girl in my vocal expression, the bigger the effect and the resultant laughs. I have placed the story text in the speaker’s notes to help me to achieve this. Feel free to play with it in any way you like.

So next time I use this example, I am obliged (and honored) to do the Oscar Wilde approach!

And as I sit down to write this, in the background of my Gmail, Rowan and I are exchanging weather tales and our home locations on Google Maps.

Only on the web, keep those tubes running.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


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