So Many Ways To Tell A Digital Story…What’s A Man To Do?

When I started this course my intention was, and still is, to learn to communicate using the many tools available to tell a story online. Since I have a background in editing video I tend to always use that style of story telling.

Several of the examples in the readings give interesting examples of different ways to tell a story.  The stories in the “Densho Archives” illustrating the conditions of the Japanese internment camps during World War 2 are effective as straight narration, but when either stills or supporting video is included, the impact is stunning. In the past I have read a little about the internment camps and mostly how the American propaganda machine tried to put a favorable spin on the camps and described them more like…well, like going to camp. These documents and the presentation disproves that fact.

The videos in “Exploring Youth Activism” serve as a voice for the those who have no access to media. These stories are so much like the stories told today by students and other small groups; but today the internet allows you to get your message heard around the world instantly.

Watching the videos brought several unheralded activists in several movements of that decade. Many of the overall stories are generally known, but this presentation allows for acknowledgement of the  efforts of the unsung.

For me the story “Another Side of the Sixties” sheds some light on a question I’ve had for years.  While the majority of media focus at the time was on the liberal youth groups, why did the majority of elected officials seem to be comprised by a majority of conservatives. The Young Americans For Freedom is a group not often remembered in historical reference to the 60s. While their numbers dwarfed the headline grabbing Students For A Democratic Society, they didn’t leave as big a historical footprint. Perhaps during the 60s while invisible to the media, their presence was best felt in the ballot box. It might be an assumption, but I would guess that the Liberal activists were not only a smaller organization, but were also not as dedicated to casting their votes.

All the above presentations are primarily photos and videos that the viewer watches in linear fashion. Within These Walls offers a non linear approach to story telling.

When visiting the site “Within These Walls” I was a bit confused at first. Since I’m so accustomed to seeing videos and animated graphics pop out, I was anticipating those type of results when clicking on icons. The click as you go to move the story in the direction you choose is something I would like to try-and include video of course!It is the exact type of project that is a departure from my comfort zone. However, that will require learning how to use the application.

Oh my, there are so many ways to tell a digital story…what’s a man to do?

Mobile Story- October 20, 2015

In case you’re wondering after you reach the end-yes it is mostly a true story.

October 20. 2015

Script

SCENE: Inside car driving

TODAY I DECIDED TO TAKE THE SHORT TRIP TO UTICA AND VISIT THE PHOTO EXHIBIT OF A WOMAN I MET UNDER MOST UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES…HER NAME IS SYLVIA DESWAAN…

Photos to support audio

I WAS SHOOTING VIDEO FOR A STORY FOR A WEEKLY TV SHOW….IT WAS AT THE FUNERAL

FOR A POLICE OFFICER WHO WAS SHOT AND KILLED DURING A ROBBERY…

IT WAS A COLD, RAINY DAY AND WHILE I WAS FILMING I NOTICED A FRAIL OLDER WOMAN WITH A STILL CAMERA FROM THE 60S TAKING PICTURES OF THE MOTORCYCLES

WHEN I TALKED TO HER SHE SAID THAT SHE WAS A WORLD REKNOWNED PHOTOGRAPHER WITH EXHIBITS AROUND THE WORLD…SHE ALSO TOLD ME THAT SHE STARTED AN INTERNATIONAL ARTIST RETREAT CALLED SCULPTURE SPACE

Sculpture Space footage and Sylvia DeSwaan photos

…SCULPTURE SPACE  IS LOCATED IN UTICA AND HOUSES ARTISTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD FOR RESIDENCIES AND THEY CREATE ART PIECES THAT ARE EXHIBITED FIRST IN UTICA AND THEN HEAD FOR DISTANT DESTINATIONS.

Video footage for Utica Psychiatric Center and the former Insane Asylum

HER STORY SOUNDED A BIT INCREDIBLE…ESPECIALLY SINCE NEAR THE LOCATION OF THE FUNERAL IS A MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY. DUE TO OVERCROWDING, PATIENTS ARE OFTEN RELEASED ON THE STREETS TOO SOON. A TRADITION THAT GOES BACK TO THE NEARBY NOW CLOSED NEW YORK STATE LUNATIC ASYLUM AT UTICA WHICH OPENED IN 1843 OPENED. YEARS LATER IT WAS RENAMED THE UTICA PSYCHIATRIC CENTER AND CLOSED IN 1978. I WONDER IF SOME OF THOSE FORMER PATIENTS ARE STILL ON THE STREETS.

Sylvia DSwann self Portrait photos

SYLVIA DESWAAN IS NOT A FORMER PATIENT. EVERYTHING SHE SAID WAS TRUE…I HAVE BUMPED INTO HER SEVERAL TIMES

Utica train Station footage/Sylvia DeSwaan photo of Rick E. Lewis supered on each other

..MOST RECENTLY WHILE FILMING A SCENE NEAR THE UTICA TRAIN STATION FOR A MOVIE FOR THE UTICA 48 HOUR FILM FESTIVAL

Footage from the movie “Lost Dog”

…WE CAST HER AS AN EXTRA…

Facebook still from Sylvia DeSwaan

SHE HAD SENT ME A PERSONAL INVITE TO HER EXHIBIT. I MISSED THE OPEN. I MISSED THE MEET AND GREET AND SO I DECIDED TO MAKE SURE I COULD GET TO THE EXHIBIT BEFORE IT CLOSES ON OCTOBER 31.

Video footage walking to the gallery

I’VE BEEN TO HER HOUSE AND SEEN HER ARTWORK, I’VE SEEN HER PHOTOS ONLINE BUT I’VE NEVER SEEN HER PHOTOS IN A GALLERY.

Video footage of locked closed gallery.

I GUESS NOT TODAY.

Music: Someone Your Own Size-RW Smith

Double Agent-Everet Almond

Photos: ©Sylvia de Swaan. Awesome Inc.

Using Digital Storytelling Ideas from Class in the Real World

When I started this course, my intention was to learn how I could apply my video and journalist skills to the web. Well, the very first assignment offered me the chance to apply a new communication skill.

When we made a digital selfie and posted it in our blogs, it gave me the idea to apply it to a real project I was working on.

I have a multi platform project called “The Beer Next Door™”. I visit craft beer festivals, breweries, etc and post entries on Facebook, the website www.TheBeerNextDoor.com and compile the footage into a TV show of the same name. At the end of September I attended The Great American Beer Festival in Denver.  It’s like the Super Bowl of craft beer. I got an interview from the Bill Gates of Craft Beer. His name is Charlie Papazian.  While I was excited to get the interview for the show, I knew that many local home brewers and craft beer fans would love a chance to talk with him. That’s where the Selfie idea from class kicked in!

I reached out to the local community of craft beer enthusiasts and asked them to send a video selfie asking Charlie a question about craft beer.

I couldn’t believe how excited the local home brewers were. The biggest problem was getting their questions. Their reactions were like those of a child when the child meets Santa. You’d think the kid would be happy, but in many cases the child is terrified!

Well, these grown men took days to formulate their questions. I gave them a deadline that was before I left for Denver so I could prepare the files. I received them after I arrived in Denver and got everything ready for the next day’s interview.

Here are a couple of email comments I received from respondents:

Rick, this is surprisingly hard to do well, not to mention concisely… Here’s one attempt with a slightly shorter alternate to follow. Hope it works for you.  If it doesn’t, my feelings won’t be hurt.

Received the night before my interview explaining what took so long: Remember that Charlie is the godfather of home brewing…

I did get the questions I needed and the interview and I intend to use some in my TV show. Here is a question and response I posted on the Facebook page. I decided that this was a bit too long and esoteric for the casual TV viewer of the show so I posted it online.

Here is the video and response.