The short version:
1. We are two fathers from Copenhagen and together (with our wives) we have six children. We’re now, with a little luck around halfway through life, and we’ve learned that being able to turn feelings and thoughts into stories enables us to understand and grow ourselves. Which in turn helps us become more tolerant – and perhaps also teaches us to truly listen to the stories of others.
2. We now know, because we’ve got kids running around everywhere, that especially children, need to develop their ability to reflect, be creative and to cooperate. To be less consumers and more a creators. It simply gives us happy moments and a feeling of eligibility when we create.
3. So, in short we wanted to create an online platform, full of great production tools, that enables anyone to Practise the Art of Storytelling. And it had to be affordable and easy to use.
4. Together we have over 25 years of experience with production cycles of creating movies, games, backends/frontends and stories – so developing a digital platform where children/teachers/YouTubers/game developers/PhotoShoppers/advertisers and others can create movies, prints and interactive material is a dream come true. And most importantly making it easy to use and learn from – and affordable.
The slightly extended version (ok, fair enough – it’s kinda long):
It all began with a single short movie…
Back in 2017 we made a movie about Marie Antoinette on the way to her execution. We recreated her in PhotoShop, dressed her in the white chemise she actually wore and gave her simple facial animations. She, and the cart she was sitting in, was animated in After Effects. Simple stuff but it still took time to make and required those expensive programs.
At one point in the movie she closes her eyes and thinks of her family while dreamy yellow particles float through the air. This was also done in After Effects, the particles coming from free green screen footage. Again, pretty simple stuff but it took a lot of time and required some heavy duty (and expensive) software.
We did the research, wrote the story, recorded the speak, composed the music and uploaded it to YouTube. And then the most wonderful thing happened. People watched it. And continued to watch. And as of today it has over 700.000 views and more than 1.300 comments. Pure joy.
Then at some point we began to discuss how we could enable anyone to tell a story like that, especially children. If we could just build a tool where children, who did not have the opportunity to learn or the option to buy the software we use, could put together text, images, sounds, music, camera movements and visual effects and experience the joy of creating stories then our own privileged lives, would be better put to use. We both have children and know how important it is for them to strengthen their creative skills, to think, to focus, to collaborate and to produce something they’re proud of – 21st Century Skills and all that jazz. So, our dogma became: Create an online tool that is so easy to use and so affordable that it can help anyone practise the art of storytelling.
So, we began to write and visualise more stories. But this time we didn’t want to assemble them in the usual programmes. This time we wanted to bring all the elements to life in our own software which we gave the rather unoriginal name The Player. One of the first stories was about wolves and we called it Wolf World. We worked on several other stories and focused on defining and creating the camera moves, the text elements, the visual effects, the audio features and the logic required to bring them to life.
We were happy with the Player. It performed exactly the way it was supposed to but until now it was Benjamin who had been coding everything. So, the next step was to allow anyone to use these features without any knowledge of programming. And that required an interface that could control all these features. It called for the the StoryWonders Creator. Tadaaaaaaaah!
Our foremost concern with the creator was to not fall in the feature-creep-trap. The interface had to be extremely simple and and the features easily accessible. So, we ended up with a two-window-interface. To the left was the Preview and to the right the assets used in a scene. We quickly realised that each asset always had a number of properties that could be used to change its behaviour so we went with what we call Asset Controllers.
And so, it wasn’t long before we could create scenes with camera movements, text, weather effects, sound effects, music, transitions and much more and we’re still working to make the Creator better and better so children and their parents can make stories, movies, invitations, presentations and wallpapers in an fun and affordable way. And for more experienced storytellers such as YouTubers, teachers and writers to add more life to their stories.