Digital Story Critique: Death is a Quiet Wave

This week, I put a poll up to take suggestions on a story to look at. While youtubing heartwarming emotional stories is fun for a while, I wanted to see what the people around me believed were great digital stories. This week’s is from Olan Rogers, a famous Youtuber who makes most of his videos out of his own stories. He has nearly 900,000 subscribers with barely over 100 videos. The one I chose was Death Is A Quiet Wave, recommended to me by a friend.

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Olan Rogers is a very comedic, engaging storyteller who uses a lot of facial expressions, jump cuts, and hand motions to get his stories across. This one is about a drive he had while leaving a Chinese restaurant. It had rained during the time that they were eating and during the drive out, they spot a very large puddle. He has an inner monologue when the driver asks ‘Should we hit it?’ involving believing that he perhaps was speaking about a zombie, or a pterodactyl. They rush head on into the puddle, but at the last moment, realize that there is another car going the opposite direction. They hit the puddle first and water simply drenches the other driver, inciting ridiculous laughter from the two in the car, so much so that they had to stop and take a break to calm themselves. As they take a break though, another car comes up beside them and the wave splashes him now too. It’s a short, simple story but is embellished into a 7 minute hilarious video.

For the critique, I’m using Story, Voice, and Grammar.

Story. The story here is clear and comedic. He got across everything that he needed so that the audience is sitting there laughing along side him. He adds specific details and describes everything so you know exactly what to picture. He even adds elements from various pop culture as well. The story is simply funny, and before I knew it, 7 minutes had gone by.

Voice. The way that he speaks and the tone of his voice are very conducive to storytelling. He waves his hands about and makes ridiculous faces for the understanding of the audience. You can imagine all of his silly antics and exactly what he was feeling at the time.

Grammar. Speaking quickly is difficult and maintaining perfect grammar throughout the whole 7 minutes is just as hard. He misspeaks a few times, which isn’t a big deal and honestly I wouldn’t have noticed, but he brings attention to it and makes it comical. In a more dramatic story setting, it would be a harsher critique, but he plays it off in a way that is appropriate for the tone of his story.

Overall, the medium he uses is just as conducive to storytelling as animation is. The lack of visuals don’t necessarily hurt the stories, but something I would add would be musical cues and sound effects. I think it would take the traditional storytelling that he gives and add a little extra. Sound effects are very effective for comical settings.

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