Cooking Up A Story!


After watching a  few of the videos from The Center for Digital Storytelling, it is clear there are  thematic and technical similarities these pieces share.  Most of these stories revolved around anecdotes from the author’s life, often in their youth, and were always autobiographical.  These tended to revolve around some sort of hardship and how the author struggled with crisis or a fond reflection back to some childhood memory.  Although the site divides the videos into separate subjects (community, identity, family, etc.), I felt as if most videos dealt with numerous issues (a family crisis can prompt a crisis of identity, right?) and thus didn’t conform entirely to one theme.  In terms of the technical aspects, each piece used a subtle music track, as well as still images and text to “fill in the gaps” of the narrative.  At times, there would be no vocal track whatsoever, and only the text on the screen would rely the author’s thoughts and emotions.


The Cookbook provides a basic format for a digital adaptation depending on the theme and nature of the story itself.  As well,  if the author has a message he or she wishes to convey,  it stresses the importance of selecting one meaningful moment that best exemplifies it; this supports my initial observation that these stories focus on one poignant memory in the author’s life.  The use of images is supposed to reflect emotions felt at that time – what images are conjured in your mind when you tell this story? – and is meant to be integrated with the other technical elements in some sort of meaningful way.  After reading the Cookbook, I am much more appreciative of the process of “cooking” these stories and how the authors managed to express personal, affecting moments in such a succinct manner.  I did not feel that the Cookbook necessarily dictated an exact configuration but encouraged the author to consider the message of their own story and how best to represent this, with the essential use of text, still images, and music.   Still, for something that calls itself a “Cookbook,” there was a significant lack of pie.

-Victoria Lang


~ by victoriafrolics on February 14, 2011.

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