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Tips on Digital Storytelling Process

Page history last edited by Digital Explorations 14 years, 4 months ago


Digital Storytelling Early Process: Choices and Gathering Material*






Write a one-hundred to two-hundred word draft of a narrative. (Topics shift course to course.) As eventually you will be reading this narrative aloud in a voiceover, it is important to consider the following questions:




Where is the dramatic moment—the actual moment in time when something momentous occurs?



What does this story reveal about the topic?


Why is it necessary to tell this story in this course?


Do you open by grabbing the reader’s interest in hearing this story?


Do you end in a way that suits your objective?





Write the three-sentence version of narrative:



Sentence 1- Beginning:


Sentence 2- Middle:


Sentence 3-End:




How do your sentences work individually and with one another to create a flow?

How does meaning build because you are reading it aloud?


How will you use your voice? How do timbre, speed and modulation affect the meaning? Practice different ways of reading your script. Record and listen to yourself.


How might images and soundtrack pull their weight and not act as appendages; in other words, why can’t this story be a radio story?







Consider what kinds of images will help tell the story: literal or metaphorical, concrete or abstract, long-shot and close-up, color or not, and how the images will move from one to the next, considering how an image is “a peculiar and paradoxical creature both concrete and abstract,” (W. J. Thomas Mitchell (2005) What Do Pictures Want?: The Lives and Loves of Images, University of Chicago Press p. xvii) and experiencing scholar Craig Stroupe’s “visualizing English.” (”Visualizing English: Recognizing the Hybrid Literacy of Visual and Verbal Authorship on the Web.” College English May 2000. Reprinted in Visual Rhetoric in a Digital World: A Critical Sourcebook . Ed. Carolyn Handa. Boston : Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004. 13-37.)




Gather 10-30 images you might use, being mindful of copyright restrictions.




Questions to ask:



Why these images?


How do they contribute to meaning rather than look pretty?


How do they work individually and together?


How do they carry the story’s drama?





Write the three-sentence version of the visual narrative:



Sentence 1- Beginning:



Sentence 2- Middle:



Sentence 3-End:




How are you keeping in mind what Ron Burnett says: “In a general sense, the meaning of a photograph depends on the discursive efforts I put into it and on the tensions between my own interpretation and that of other viewers. This is at least one part of the creativity and tension of viewing, which encourages the development of a variety of different vantage points as well as contestation around the meaning of images.” (Ron Burnett (2005) How Images Think, M.I.T Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, p.14)







Consider the audio elements, how you will use your voice and/or the voices of others, and how non-vocal sounds might interact with voice. Consider whether you want to include a music soundtrack or ambient sound. If so, what kind of music would help tell the story? What role does the music play? Try out several very different kinds of soundtracks that create contrasting moods and tones.





Write the three-sentence version of the sound narrative:



Sentence 1- Beginning:


Sentence 2- Middle:


 Sentence 3-End:







Storyboard the digital story, exploring the repercussions not only of pushing image against image, word against word, and sound against sound, but image against sound against word. Think about the way someone “reads” a digital story: “Because users can click on a video clip, turn it off by closing the window, replay it, or skip forward or backward in the narrative, the use of video becomes a dialogically fraught element: it enhances, disrupts, complexifies the notion of narration itself.” (Helen Burgess, Jeanne Hamming, Robert Markley “The Dialogics of New Media,” in (eds) (2003) Mary E. Hocks, Michelle R. Kendrick Eloquent Images: Word and Image in the Age of New Media MIT Press, Cambridge, MA p. 75.)




Instead of filling out a storyboard template, draw your own, creating the frames after you have selected the image.





* Excerpted from a chapter on digital storytelling I’ve written for a forthcoming anthology.


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