the one about digital storytelling
by jenny weight
your digital story project
• Stories created for distribution on the internet
which make great use of digital production
• Not just video!
• You have a great deal of freedom
• However, having a lot of choices doesn’t make it easy
• And a lot of the technological options are too amateurish
• As with any storytelling exercise, you need to have a plan
• You also need to accept that whatever you do, it must be very
• Teams – work in a group to do a bigger project.
• There are also more marks available in you’re in a group
• You can only do video and animation if you’re in a group.
Fiction or non-fiction?
• Planning your story will be different
depending on this decision
• Then write the script
• And the storyboard.
• Accept that you are not going to use actors. It’s too much work for
such a small project. Plus you probably don’t yet have the skills to
• Your storyboard should have less than 6 scenes
• Consider at the start what the visual style will be (but don’t lock it
in yet, see the slide ‘aesthetics and technology’).Your plot needs to
be practically achievable.
• You can do an audio project or a mainly textual project and avoid
needing many images
• Not so much a story, but a problem/issue you want to explore
• You need to locate and foreground the human interest in the problem
• Structure – the beginning should establish the human interest. Perhaps an
interviewee? A problem we can all relate to? Maybe put yourself in the frame – it’s
personal and instantly dramatic.
• The middle explores the problem. It’s not an essay, don’t be too dispassionate.You
need to keep your audience emotionally engaged
• The conclusion – you may or may not have a solution, but you need to wrap it up
• Your storyboard should be less than 6 scenes.
• To inspire you to do non-fiction I recommend this:
http://www.slideshare.net/kalabird/new-culture-of-storytelling by Michaela Hackner
Linear or non-linear?
• A linear work is the traditional beginning – middle – end.
Non-linear might be interactive or hypertextual. Different
readers can have different experiences. Both are possible
with digital storytelling.
• In a non-linear work, your viewer may never reach your
• Some platforms encourage linearity (eg video) and some
encourage non-linearity (eg wikis). Some do both, for
example, you can have a choice on endings in aYoutube
However, whatever genre you choose, it must somehow be about
Because we this program is very international.
The sooner we find ways of working together,
Your digital story proposal
• You need to submit your proposal to your tutor. Here are the
• Discuss your idea with your tutor before you submit the
• You should get feedback on your proposal before you start
Be careful !
• You have to rely on production skills you already have.
• You should only use simple equipment at this stage,
unless you have good pre-existing skills.
• You need to experiment with options you have not
used before. Give yourself time for testing!Work in a
group! Distribute the workload!
Do you want to do video?
• Use skills you already have (ie, don’t do video unless
you already have video skills)
• publish it inYoutube orVimeo (better quality) then
embed it in your blog
• Or consider using Popcorn http://popcornjs.org/
• Video projects must be group projects
Interactive video adventures
usingYoutube, for example
Read this for more
Great video tips and production techniques:
Some ideas for video…
Do you want to do animation?
• Use skills you already have
• You’d publish inYoutube orVimeo (better
quality) then embed it in your blog
• Animation projects must be group projects
• Lots of online animation tools – however
some of them are very amateurish.Test them!
Do you want to do Photography?
A video made up of a sequence of photos?
An instagram story?
Can be hard to sync audio and transitions, for that reason you
may want to compile it all in iMovie (or similar) and output it
in a video
The visual style becomes very important.You may need good
What about a textual project?
• However you should incorporate still images
• And graphic design elements
• Text alone is boring on theWeb
• Includes wikis, blogs, micro blogging, twitter
and other forms of social media
What about drawing?
• It is likely you’d incorporate either audio, text, or both
• It is important, and time-consuming, to develop a consistent aesthetic
when using stills.
• There are lots of little apps to help you make comics using their characters
and sets. However, many of them a squarely aimed at children and they
may not offer you enough creative freedom.
• Perhaps you’ll need to expand your Photoshop, Illustrator (name your
software here) skills?
• If you have an ipad, it’s great for drawing
Warning: steep learning curve!
Some free drawing tools
Howabout an ebook
• Mainly text, but
• Much more powerful to have images as well
• However, combining text and image is a design challenge
• How you do it may depend on your structure – hypertext? Non-linear?Or
• Simple blogs likeTumblr and Posterous
• Or a pdf?
• Or a zine publishing platform?
Not an exhaustive list
• You can go beyond my suggestions
• The web is all about recombining, synthesizing
You need to discuss how you’re going to do it with your tutor.
His or her main worry will be whether you’re taking on too
Complexity is easy. Simplicity is art.
Everything is complex,
the art lies in making it look simple.
3 cants and 1 must
• You can’t break copyright (including music copyright)
• You have to credit everything you use, and everyone that was
• You can’t do anything with minors without parental consent
• You can’t video/photograph private property without owner’s
The story is the difficult part,
not the digital
Tips for telling 6 second stories:
• Missing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiyDmqO59QE
• The last hunt: http://www.allmyfaves.com/blog/photos/the-last-
• Student work: http://postgradmedia.org/rmit/s12014-ex.html
• Chilling by 1BobHolt http://www.flickr.com/photos/1bobholt/6918332157/
cc some rights reserved
Thanks to ‘Stories on the go’ by Sherlly Ferrell (tiny.url/shellyferrell)