Center for Digital Storytelling

Coming in at an average three minutes long, each of the videos on the CDS website had only a short amount of time to cover important topics or memoirs. When we watched Ira Glass on storytelling, he said that every good story is based in how well it baits its listeners. However, I noticed that the majority of the CDS stories immediately jump into the meat of the story [Structural]. Although the stories do not spend time on lengthy introductions or conclusions [Structural], they still produce the same effect of a longer story through their use of sound and images [Technical/Rhetorical]. For example, stories under the “Identity” tab often started off in black and white to reflect memoirs [Technical]. The pictures changed over a slow procession. Eventually, a soundtrack was added and some images changed to color [Technical]. These audio and visual changes indicate that within the story a resolution had been reached [Technical]. Despite the varying range of topics in these stories, each cover basic human realizations in a similar format [Rhetorical].

While the cookbook includes notes on style and format, the majority of it is devoted to honing the storyteller’s story telling skills [Structural].  We are in the age of digital media, but a bad story is a bad story no matter how advanced the technical rendering of it. The Center for Digital Storytelling’s cookbook provides a workshop for storytellers on how to connect with their emotions, interview themselves, and discover what the real insight is in a story [Structural]. These are the types of skills one needs if he or she wants to tell a story that will resonate within its listeners in only two or three minutes. While going through the videos before reading the cookbook, I was so focused on the digital format of the stories — how the pictures affected me or how the music picked up or faded out [Technical]. Turns out, going back to the basics of organic storytelling is the most important part of telling a good story.

— Jen Hirsch


~ by survivingshanghai on February 14, 2011.

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