Cool Tool, But Does It Really Yield Stories?

When I first mentioned stories based on Google searches, I didn’t realize that Google had created a mashup application using Google searches and YouTube (which Google owns). One of my Facebook friends turned me on to Google Search Stories Video Creator, described this way:

Every search is a quest. Every quest is a story. Use this handy tool to bring your Search Story to life. Simply type in your searches, choose the music, and watch as your narrative unfolds on screen.

The tool is a technological marvel and very fun and easy to play with, but I’m not sure the results are really stories. The first criterion, in my opinion, for the story quality in these videos is that, like Parisian Love, the search video I cited in my previous entry, the video needs no explanation beyond what you see on the screen; the viewer grasps the story without additional information.

The quick-and-dirty search video I created to test this application doesn’t meet that criterion. I’m sure I could create a better story if I gave it more thought and put more planning into it. But the process of creating it made me realize that Google Search Stories Video Creator is a good tool for helping the user think about story structure. I had to think about how I could integrate classic story elements — setting the scene, introducing conflict, and presenting resolution.

My search video, Misadvententures in Moving (embedded below) attempts to tell the story of what happened this week when the moving van we’d hired to move our possessions from Florida to Washington arrived. Since the story does require some setup, here it is: Randall thoroughly researched movers to find one with a high rating for our move to Kettle Falls. The pickup of our stuff in Florida wasn’t perfect, but we had no major problems. The movers arrived here in Kettle Falls on Wednesday. Because of the steep elevation of our driveway, the movers couldn’t get their truck up to our house and had to park it nearby and shuttle everything in smaller loads. The area U-Haul outlets were all out of trucks, so the shuttling took place in a pickup truck — many trips over a day and a half. The movers wanted another $900 for the shuttling. We discovered we had already paid this $900 on the other end, as though there had been similar conditions in Florida (which there weren’t, Florida being quite flat). Many phone calls by Randall to the movers’ corporate offices and a long delay ensued. We got out of paying the extra charges for now, but the company is “investigating.” The happy ending — or beginning of the next chapter/story — is that we are here on our beloved homesite, which we call “Empowering Retreat.”

How could I have made my search story better?