Digital Storytelling

From watching (and listening to, and reading) the stories on the Center for Digital Storytelling website, I was able to pick out some elements form. When it comes to sound, they reminded me of the stories on This American Life, in that background music and/or environmental noises were used to set the mood and situate the listener. [RHETORICAL] Most of the stories used instrumental music, often piano if it was a sad story, but a few included whistling or vocals in another language. [RHETORICAL] Yet others used minimal sound, perhaps only environmental noises like a car engine humming or a respirator beeping. [RHETORICAL]It seemed to me that there were no strict rules about background sound; whatever would best enhance the story was the way to go. [RHETORICAL]

Images were a nice addition to these stories because of the symbolism they held.  Personal photos helped give a face to the characters in the story, but inserting more generic images —  like a pile of books when the narrator’s talking about school — also helped illustrate the story. [RHETORICAL]Still images seemed to be favored over video, and storytelling tools like interviews or additional voices weren’t used. [TECHNICAL]

Beyond structure, I also gathered that most of these stories were produced by amateurs, and many were also either immigrants or disenfranchised in some way. All of these stories were memoir, and most were pretty heavy and cathartic.[STRUCTURAL]

After reading the Cookbook (and more about the organization), I found that these stories were created in workshops. The “Seven Steps to Digital Storytelling” begins with self-interviewing, or finding the story that he/she wanted to tell and figuring out what that story means. [TECHNICAL]The workshop facilitators also ask them to focus on the emotional core of the story. [TECHNICAL] (The people at CDS seem not only to be interested in good storytelling, but also the therapeutic qualities of self-expression.) They then encourage them to “see” their story, and learn how to use a scene to illustrate an important moment of change. [TECHNICAL]When it comes to incorporation of sound and visuals, the process seems pretty organic; storytellers are encouraged to add something small, consider its effect or meaning, and decide whether it contributes to or takes away from the story. [TECHNICAL]Finally, they script the story and storyboard all of the digital elements — while continuously asking themselves what works, what doesn’t, and how they can best tell their story. [TECHNICAL]

-Kayla Hunter


~ by kah117 on February 13, 2011.

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