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Interactive Storytelling – Christian Mahnke, EarReality – Voice Tech Podcast ep.081

Christian Mahnke Earreality

Episode description

This episode’s guest is Christian Mahnke, CEO of EarReality, which helps some of the biggest companies in the world such as Disney, Audible, and Vox create interactive stories for voice marketing. Their stories are published on Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung Bixby and more.

Christian explains that the popularity of interactive stories lies in the fact that people can identify with them. He states that interactive stories appeal to two different audiences: gamers, and listeners looking for an audio experience; a good writer knows how to meet both needs.

Earreality is also the creator of an interactive storytelling tool for voice technology called Twist. Twist is a no-coding solution with a visual interface. It empowers anyone to quickly and easily create and publish interactive stories for web, apps, and e-books, as well as voice platforms including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung Bixby.

EarReality has an in-house content management system for voice which allows its customers to design interactive stories, and then easily publish these to all the major voice platforms, including Amazon, Alexa, Google Assistant, and Samsung Bixby.

The true proof that EarReality is set for success lies in the fact that the company uses Twist for its own purposes. As a publishing company, it has a pool of game writers and designers who contribute a lot of stories to EarReality’s interactives, which are then deployed to the voice platforms.

The EarReality story Iron Falcon is Christian’s favourite and it won the Amazon Alexa Games Skill Award in 2018.

In this episode Christian shares some of his best practices for interactive voice writers. He’ll be sharing a comprehensive e-book and blog series with all his best practices on the Ear-Reality website in the near future.

“My vision for EarReality is to become a self-publishing platform that empowers everyone from young to old, from beginner to professional, to become a voice game designer, an interactive storyteller, and a writer and producer of her or his own interactive stories.”


  • We get tons of great feedback from writers and game writing professionals telling us how much they like our tool, and how it helps them to prototype or create and produce interactive stories.
  • Iron Falcon is my favorite story; it won the Amazon Alexa game skill award in 2018. We succeeded in getting Matthew Mercer from Critical Role to do the voice acting.
  • You have to know that an interactive audiobook is a hybrid between a gaming and an audio experience.
  • Narrative design for voice is a complicated process and we’ve been digging into that deeply for more than three years.
  • In an interactive story, you have to carve out your choices carefully because you’re addressing the players on so many levels. 
  • We identify the best and the most motivated writers; we offer them membership in our new voice game studio.
  • We’re in talks with a lot of companies that are interested in what EarReality does.

Quotes from the show

[06:11] We have game writers and designers we have coached and trained on writing interactively for voice.

[06:14] We help brands use interactive storytelling formats to explore voice as a marketing instrument.

[08:22] Want to expand our portfolio heavily, especially in the English-speaking markets.

[08:30] What makes Twist unique is that it is intuitive and easy to use; it takes an hour or two [to learn].

[31:06] The player is the hero of the story, and he drives it forward by getting his own personalized story.

Links from the show

TWIST – Tutorials

About the author

Carl Robinson
Carl Robinson

Carl is the host of the Voice Tech Podcast. Since launching in April 2018, Carl has conducted scores of in-depth interviews with voice industry experts, building one of the most well known media brands in the voice AI space.

He also publishes Voice Chops Tuesday, the number 1 voice technology newsletter, enjoyed by thousands of voice tech fans each week.

Carl is a startup founder, product manager and data scientist, and recently presented a model for voice emotion conversion at ICASSP 2019.

To contact Carl, use the links in this box to send an email, tweet or message.

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