A common feature in a self promotion or portfolio website is the use of great music. Whether as a soundtrack in a film reel or a background loop throughout the whole site, using music sets the mood for how the user interprets your work.
The works above used music in interactive narrative in different ways, guiding users but also involving them in a multimedia experience that goes beyond the visual. Usually are chosen simple instrumental soundtracks or background loops with clear cuts and transitions, with special attention with the drum sections that define the general rhythm of the website.
The recent rise of Flash Video also gave birth to a new technique, with it’s roots in e-learning and presentations, that is the use of a narrator or animated character (in case you’re not that photogenic), blended with the background as a alpha channel.
Already employed by large corporations, the technique allows a more close connection with the user, with a first person speech and taking advantage of the way our cognitive process works and reacts to visual stimulus.
Finally, one of the most important ingredients of a great portfolio is the navigation or the “interactive toys” you let your user play with. These is the kind of experience that is really memorable since it breaks the usual point-and-click experience and replaces it with a immersing multimedia travel.
Interactive narrative is like a romantic diner: you clean and organize your place (information architecture), prepare the main dish (your content) and a nice desert (the navigation or toys). Then, with the right music setting the mood you might just get lucky. With the user, of course.