FASTLearn Episode 22 – What is Visual Storytelling?

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What is Visual Storytelling?

Well, my work as a film and television director, whenever I speak about it, I always bring it back to the idea of I am a storyteller. At the very core of everything that I do, I am a storyteller. So my experience in television has always been focused on telling stories. And by that, I always remind people that stories is one of those defining characteristics of humanity. It’s something that is uniquely ours. How we engage with our fellow humans, that’s what sets us apart from a mammal or an amphibian. The fact that we are able to engage and connect with fellow humans, it’s through storytelling. Our ability to imagine stories and pass on information through stories, that’s what makes us distinct human beings.

So as a film and television director, my filmography has been focused on using stories to either inform or entertain, or as an extension to educate. So those are the three things that visual storytelling brings to us. So for example, in my work as a director for Maalaala Mo Kaya and other teleseryes and miniseries on television, what I do is,I either create imagined stories and create characters that people are able to empathize with or in the case of Maalaala Mo Kaya, bring the stories of people who write letters to us and bring it to life so that it’s visualized and our audiences are able to see their own struggles in those stories.

Meanwhile, as a producer for a documentary series, for example, like Dayaw, which aired on ANC, we film real stories of culture, heritage, our history. So we do a lot of telling stories of our Indigenous peoples. And in that way, you’re able to bring into the mainstream these stories that are otherwise not seen on television.

And I worked with DepEdTV. What I’ve done is to help in training teachers so that they can use the medium to better carry out their vocation in teaching the young people, especially during the time of the pandemic, wherein the technology really played a huge role in allowing us to solve the gaps that the pandemic brought because of the inability to physically interact with our students. So yes, visual storytelling in that sense really covers a lot of ground. On a spiritual level, it’s something that allows us to transfer our values, our history, the way we see ourselves into our young people. We tell these stories. In the case of being able to educate, we want to be able to pass on the things that we feel will propagate our identities through the

And the visual medium is just a medium. We can learn through reading books, but at the same time, we can also learn by watching something on screens. And if anything, we can think of it as possibly the most dominant medium now, because right now, most of us would probably watch, let’s say, a film in the cinema, or maybe watch a series on our tablets or our smartphones or maybe watch a variety show or a talk show on the traditional television screen more than we would read a book. I’m not saying that’s true necessarily, but definitely it has come a long way that the visual medium takes a huge part of the way we consume information or allow ourselves to be entertained.

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