YouTube as a medium for long form storytelling

For someone who is really into reading and writing, I watch a lot of telly. Over the last few years I have found myself being more and more drawn into the potential of YouTube as a medium for long form storytelling. To begin with I was very put off by the prank videos and found the ‘five tips to…’ format of video particularly uninspiring. However, my partner is a bit of a genius at finding interesting channels to watch, and I’ve recently found myself a bit addicted to the stories that Morgan of Gold Shaw Farm tells (see his video above about his dog for a good example). Baby Magpie, who has just learned to wave, likes to watch the ducks and geese before bedtime, and to chat to them in a sing song voice. Sometimes he gives Morgan and Toby Dog a wave.

In my twenties I did a PhD in psychology and I was particularly interested in how stories affect us. It is an interest that still intrigues me in a variety of different ways, although it has been a while since a did any comprehensive research. However, during my reading for my PhD I came across the idea that a story, whether fact or fiction, needs to have an emotional truth to really move the reader. Of course what constitutes that truth will be different for different people. As a reader and writer of fantasy, I am fully aware that not everyone is able to identify with the perspective of an elf.

Which brings me back to Morgan and his stories about Gold Shaw Farm. I’m not a farmer, and while I try my hand in the garden now and then, I do not claim to want to start a farm. However, I still find my self wanting to know more about the ducks, and geese, and Hobo Barn cat. I think that Morgan is doing something really interesting with YouTube as a medium for long form story telling. In each video he picks up a different thread of the story of his farm, and he has an instinctive understanding of emotional truth in the stories he tells about his animals. While he delights in the new life that comes on to his farm during hatching season, he also does not shy away from the loss and sorrow that farming also necessarily involves. I know that some of the readers here are very interested in storytelling in it’s many splendid forms, and if that is you I would encourage you to spend some time with this channel.

As regular readers of this blog may know, I have a bit of an issue in being interested in too many things at once, and potentially diving into too many different types of media. The consequences of this are that it’s difficult to actually finish anything. My current fantasy work in progress features a character who is a YouTuber, and as part of that process I started a YouTube channel of my own a while ago. I imagine it will surprise absolutely no one to learn that it is now sitting, unloved, waiting for me to do something about it.

At the moment I am finding that the time I need to devote to my gorgeous toddler make it very difficult to maintain a film making practice, but I hope to return to it when the demands on my time ease a little bit. One of the ideas I’m thinking about at the moment is trying to interview YouTubers who I like for my own channel as a form of research to inform that character, and to understand what it is that people enjoy about making the films they do. Let me know if this is something you would be interested in and I will try and make it happen, when I have a moment…

Thank you for reading. I also write, make art and films. If you want to hear more about my writing projects please join my mailing list here. You can see my films at my YouTube channel here. You can see things with my designs on at my shop here. Could even treat yourself if you wanted to. Just saying. If buying art is not your thing, but you would like to support what you see I also have a Patreon Page here.