Collaborating For A Cause

The collaborative project.

I must say, working with people I never had a verbal conversation with and processing an idea into a final project is a first for me.

I’ve worked on several projects in the past, but this one was special and quite a bit different. I really wanted to create a video that didn’t rely on the technical qualities of good stock video and hired talent, but instead had content- content that would stand on it’s own.

The story I narrated was one that happened to me several years ago. I never really thought about it since that time. But the input by the team members and the content of this class gave me the opportunity to look within myself to find a story that was personal and relatable.

Norma mentioned that she was leaning toward a topic about helping someone. We bounced ideas around and the topic veered into several directions, but we ended up with a story with same meaning at the center. We were all able to contribute photos or footage (even sneak in a cameo) and in the end, tell the story we set out to tell.

Telling a story like this was what I wanted to do from the first day. That is the reason I took this class.


Digital Stories with One Image

In chapter 9 of Digital Storytelling, Lambert talks about designing your digital presentation. In the chapter he shows several examples of way to frame your digital story. One example (under the heading One Picture Many Pictures) that caught my attention features a video that uses a single photo that is cropped several different ways for a large portion of the story. That is one aspect of digital storytelling that I have found most interesting. The fact that you can tell a story with minimum visual elements.

I went to the web and searched for other examples of single image digital stories and found a trove of them. The following video links go to a site called “Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling. The video link below lead to a digital story that uses one image that slowly zooms out while the narrative and music carry the story. The expanding view of the scene gives more and more visual information as the story gives more and more aural content. It works.

Kindertransport: The Unknown Children of the Holocaust

Here is a second. The photo is static throughout.

Robin’s Market

While you could that the image of the market could be cropped to match the audio, the full screen shot of the market onscreen while the narrator describes the scene is a different approach.

Sometimes I find that too many times excessive edits never really show more or create more interest in a visual presentation. That is especially true in digital storytelling. The story is the most important element. The music and visuals are there to reinforce what is being told.

These examples show that less can be more.

Lambert, Joe. Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives Creating Community. 4th. New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.

Changing Conversation

Communication Tangle A
Joe Lambert mentions is his book “Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community” that, “the art of conversational storytelling has diminished or disappeared from our lives”[1] Personally, I don’t fully agree. I think that there are so many ways to tell stories that conversational storytelling-in the traditional sense- is competing for space. The way we have a conversation is changing.

In his article “The Positive Impact of Social Media”, Dave Parrick writes, “It isn’t just your inner circle of close friends and even closer family members that social networking sites allow you to communicate with easily and effectively, either. They open the world up to you.”[3]

The interesting thing about technology is that as much as it advances our ability to express ourselves as a society, it doesn’t necessarily do the same for the content of the individual conversation.

Take for instance the person who tweets on Twitter. In a traditional conversation, would that person contribute anything different-good or bad?  How about this observation from Ann Smarty in the article “Social Media and Society: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. In the article she makes a reference to something we’ve all seen, endless posts from “vain people on Facebook”[3] or those who conduct a regular “sob fest, usually vague. Or way TMI about their struggling relationship with someone they should have dumped six months ago”.[3] Would that person tell a different story in a traditional conversation?
Word processing hasn’t turned people into literary geniuses, it just allows more people to write letters and notes with spell check-but with the same content as before. Having a camera in everyone’s pocket hasn’t created a generation of Ansel Adams-just an army of people with a wallet full of digital snapshots.

The new technologies haven’t killed conversational storytelling. In fact, they allow more people to to tell more stories, more often- but not necessarily face to face. Digital storytelling allows those who can tell a great story to spread those great stories to a much bigger audience-it also allows the same for those who do not tell such great stories.

Conversational storytelling has not gone anywhere- it’s just has an expanded zip code.

[1]Lambert, Joe. Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives Creating Community. 4th. New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.

[2]Parrick, Dave. The Positive Impact of Social Media.

[3]Smarty, Ann. Social Media and Society: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly