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The New Mobile Storytellers

In Millennial minds, the world is just waiting for them to record it. According to Ypulse’s research, 70% of Millennials say that they use their phone’s camera frequently, making it the third most used feature after messaging (91% use frequently) and phone calls (75% use frequently). It’s no secret that photo apps have skyrocketed in popularity in the past few years, with Instagram and Snapchat leading the pack. Millennials’ heavy use of their smart devices’ cameras is about their increased reliance on visual communication using apps like these—but it is also about their desire to tell their stories to those around them. Their Instagram feed becomes a visual timeline and public journal that showcases not only the people, places, and things that fill their days, but, thanks to filters and comments, also their mood at the time. It’s the story of their lives. But their increased reliance on mobile video is making that storytelling even more advanced. Vine launched in early 2013, and an April Ypulse survey found that 4% of 14-18-year-olds were using the app—but by October the number had increased drastically to 19% for the same age group. A quick perusal of the most viral Vine stars shows just how creatively some Millennials are telling visual stories, even in short six-second clips. But not everyone can easily craft a story, even if they want to share one, and just as photo apps evolved to allow amateur users to look like pros thanks to a click of a filter, video apps are evolving to help Millennials be the storytellers they want to be. Whether documenting their own stories or creating new ones, thanks to some emerging apps and tools it is becoming easier than ever for them to express their creativity. Here are three of the most buzzed about apps in the visual storytelling space: 
1. One Second Everyday: A Movie of Every Day For the Rest of Your Life 

“Imagine a movie that includes every day of the rest of your life.” That’s the premise behind One Second Everyday—an app that started as one Millennial’s life-changing experiment. In 2011, Cesar Kuriyama turned 30 and quit his all-consuming advertising job to take a year off and spend more time with his family, travel, and generally do all the things he never had time to when he was chained to his desk. He began a project to document his year: recording one second of video for every day so that he wouldn’t forget anything. After a while, his small project changed his life—he was encouraged to seize everyday to make sure he had something interesting and worthwhile to film, applied to give a TED talk on his idea, spoke at TED2012, and decided to build an app to let other people experience some of what he had found. Kickstarter helped make the app a reality, and now One Second Everyday is available on iOS and Android. The app automatically stitches together the one-second clips to make a video timeline of the year, so that Millennials everywhere can document their lives one moment by moment. 

2. Directr: Video That Matters 

There are other video editing apps out there, but Directr may be the only one that promises to elevate simple footage into “great movies.” Thus far, most video taken on phones is not all that visually compelling. In 2012, Directr raised $1.1 million from some influential funders to solve the problem and make average mobile footage into something beautiful. Focusing on storytelling and good editing, Directr provides users with prepared storyboards to help create expert level shorts—even instructing them on what to film when and organizing clips into a seamless narrative. Directr is more than an editing tool, and more a guide to creating a film, or as founder Max Goldman puts it, “something that other people want to watch.”  Calling their tool “point and shoot moviemaking” the app puts the average Joe in the director’s chair and makes them feel like an auteur. 

3. MixBit: Create Videos Together

MixBit is only three months old, and the video-sharing app has already earned a significant amount of buzz—of course, the fact that its founder has been sued by Kim Kardashian and Kanye West could have something to do with that. Created by YouTube co-founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, MixBit was used to video and share the famous couples’ over-the-top proposal, but its mission is more about community and collaboration that celebrity scoops. MixBit allows users to record multiple 16-second clips that can then be arranged in any way the user might want—as many as 256 clips can be included in a single video, making it last more than an hour. Users can also collaborate with other members by sharing videos and remixing one another’s clips. There are no follower counts or profiles on the app. Mixbit is determined not to be about self-promotion but about creation, and announce their purpose on their site, saying, “We help people tell great stories through video.”