Category Archives: instruction

Working with groups of more than ten people on their personal stories

Canadian digital storyteller Kent Manning contacted Barrie Stephenson and I recently with a question: “I’m conducting a digital storytelling session next month for a group of 26 educators. I value the story circle part of the process as this is the way I was taught by the folks at CDS. Would you have any suggestions for conducting story circle time with such a large group? Would you have individuals share their stories with the large group? Small group sharing perhaps?”

Here’s what I suggest:

26 is a big group. You could either split it into three and hold three storycircles or here’s a suggestion that may help.

1. Pair people up and ask each to talk for two minutes about ‘the most remarkable day of my life’. Their partner takes notes and will relate their partner’s story in the next step.

2. Bring neighboring pairs together into six or seven groups of four. The tell each other’s stories of their big day to this small group.

3. Bring neighboring quads together into three groups of eight or so people for the Love/Hate game.

4. If you want one preparatory activity with all 26 together, Gilly Adams’s Match Game is the one I suggest.

5. Back to the three groups of eight will be the best way to develop the stories each participant intends to tell.

For other Story Circle activity ideas, see also this page with seven articles about helping people to capture their story in a digital storytelling workshop.

Photo is either by Huw Davies or Carwyn Evans. I can't remember which, sorry.
Kent got back in touch afterwards to say:

“I employed a couple of the strategies you mentioned at my DS session in New York City. The group was a close knit bunch and all had very good working relationships so small group interaction as you suggest below worked the best. And then we gathered as a larger group to talk about our stories.

The teachers came prepared to the workshop with story ideas and photos, so we used the morning as a writers workshop and most folks had a working draft by noon. It was at this point we started our conversations and story circles in depth.”

If you’ve worked with larger groups and have tips or experiences to share, feel free to use Comments.

A gentle introduction to Creative Commons for digital storytellers

Copyright in the old days:
All of this is owned by me, contact me if you want to discuss the possibility of re-using it.

Copyright nowadays:
You can still use the above model.

Or…

You can state explicitly and irrevocably up front that you’re happy for people to re-use your intellectual property in certain stated circumstances without them having to come to ask your permission every time.

This is attractive to those making digital stories who want the world to be able to share and re-embed what they’ve made. And a knowlege of this kind of license is useful for someone who wants to include other people’s work within their own digital story.

One model that’s popular is the Creative Commons licence, which has three axes:

1. Whether or not you want a name-check (Attribution or BY) for your work
2. Whether or not you’re willing for others to alter your work, or create derivatives. Risk: someone may Photoshop someone else’s body onto that image of your child’s face you put on Flickr. Three options here:
(a) If you want your work untouched, just passed on as it is, use NoDerivs (ND)
(b) If you do decide to allow alterations as long as the new author shares it in the same way as your original work was, you add ShareAlike or SA to the label.
(c) If you don’t care what happens to the altered work, no mention need be made of this on the license label.
3. Whether or not you care about others making money for themselves out of what is yours. This part of the label says either Non-Commercial (NC) or there’s no mention of it.

So a Creative Commons license which is labelled: Attribution, No Derivatives, Non Commercial means I’m happy for you to use my work without getting in touch with me as long as you name-check me as the creator, don’t change my work and don’t make any money from its re-distribution.

A more relaxed license – used by Wikipedia – is Attribution-ShareAlike or CC BY-SA. This is the license many of those lobbying governments to open up publicly-funded data would like to see adopted by governments.

Creative Commons is most straightforward if the thing you made was entirely made by you and contains no unlicensable third-party elements. So a video diary of you speaking your own words to camera in front of a blank wall is OK to label with Creative Commons. If there was a photo by Steve McCurry in the background, or some commercial music playing and it’s no longer ‘all yours’ and it might no longer be fair to pass the right on to others to use the clip.

So, as you can see, a knowledge of Creative Commons is useful for anyone involved in a diital storytelling project.

Source:
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ – on this site you can read more about correct attribution, various international territories, comparisons between CC and Public Domain, etc.

Disclaimer – I’m not a lawyer; please don’t take what I say as legal advice.

9 things digital storytellers can learn from Steven Moffat, Doctor Who & Sherlock writer

some rights reserved by (c) Stormsearch
1. Imagine someone with their hat on, their coat half on, stepping out of the door. Make them say: “I’ll just keep watching until I find out what this is about”

2. Have a big whallop at the start.

3. Start with a promise of something you’re going to deliver

4. Surprise them

5. Try to think of a brand new idea.

6. Keep giving them reasons not to turn off

7. Try to make what you do appeal to _everybody_, then you’ve a chance of making it somebody’s favourite.

8. If you’re stuck for inspiration: stare out of the window, think of something and then write it down. Do that again.

9. “A good day is one when I _finish_ a script”

(source: notes I took at a conversation between Steven Moffat and Huw Edwards at a BBC Wales event on 19 June 2012)

Digital storytelling admin

I’ve just been speaking on Facebook with south Wales digital storytelling and community video practitioner Sandra Anstiss. She’s venturing into the private sector making stories with owners, marketing staff,customers etc. and she was asking members of the Facebook DS Working Group for advice about consents and copyright.
I’d say there are three or more issues here…
1. The stated consent of the storyteller and featured subjects;
2. Some form of evidence that any third-party assets are OK to use (other people’s pics, music, etc.); and
3. Something that says who owns the finished digital story entity.
Once these are established, it becomes possible to license the story’s re-publication elsewhere, either exclusively or – as in the case of Creative Commons – non-exclusively.
In terms of a project’s ethos, due consultation and consideration will need to be given to sensitivities around possible hurtful comments online etc. YouTube comments can be cruel.
I wish Sandra good luck with her new venture and – adding a disclaimer – I do emphasise I’m  not a lawyer, so it’s best to seek professional advice.
P.S. sorry for the really boring headline to this story

Using your mobile phone as a digital storytelling tool

My friend Bethan is planning a workshop to train artists and business people in using their mobile phones to tell stories about the work they do and she asked me for some ideas. I had a chat and then sent her these four links and I thought I’d share them with you here too:

Vlog tutorial This short video tutorial is from one of the pioneering video blogging sites.

Great tips from the Video Nation archive.


Citizen media network Witness Video Advocacy offers craft and safety tips here.

The old BBC Scotland digital storytelling project Highland Lives offered this valuable PDF document with useful tips on planning your shoot and advice about getting good sound.

Developing the one-hour digital storytelling form, with a video example

I’ve been piloting the one-hour digital storytelling form I want to present at the #storycamp get-together in Ludlow on Saturday (1 Oct 2011).

(If the embedded video won’t play, here’s a link to it on blip.tv)

Here are the ingredients:

– one object you can hold in your hand which is related to a place that’s special to you. Two photos are taken: the first is a close-up of the object or photo itself; the second photo is of you holding it.

– a personal story of fewer than 100 words or 45 seconds which you’ll record (tell or read) onto an mp3 file (via phone or voice recorder)

– a closing title: Place; by (name)

The form owes a lot to Capture Wales’ Shoebox Stories, developed mainly by Huw Davies, Lisa Heledd Jones and Carwyn Evans.

I used Windows Movie Maker to edit mine but any other video editing software will be fine.

The small print I want to declare is that it’s reasonable for the storyteller to make such a film in just one hour as long as the person making it has prior media-making experience – can take and upload a photo; has access to and knowledge of audio recording/editing tools; etc. Of course, working solely with people who already have these skills is missing the point of digital storytelling’s inclusiveness and up-skilling capacity. So perhaps it’s fairer if I say that these stories can be made in as little as one hour.

Finding the story in so little time is challenging. With only 100 words to play with, it’s difficult to bring out the personal impact above the factual matter which needs to be conveyed for the story to make sense. I’ll need to keep working on that aspect of the one-hour digital storytelling form…

That aside, making such a simple digital story can be comparatively straightforward, fun and quick.

Digital Storytelling Pod Ep01-How to make a DS on iPad with Barrie Stephenson

This is the first episode of a new monthly audio podcast for digital storytellers: Digital Storytelling Pod with Gareth Morlais.

Podcast feed: Audio RSS (MP3) dspod-ep01.mp3

Barrie Stevenson of Digistories sums up his experiences of using iPad v2 to help people make digital stories. This interview was recorded in Aberystwyth, Wales, June 2011 when the version 2 of the iPad had not long been introduced in the UK.

Shownotes: links
Barrie Stephenson – http://digistories.co.uk
. Links to Barrie’s other projects can be found on this site.
DS6 – http://digstocymru.ning.com
iPad – http://www.apple.com/ipad/

The next episode will feature Cheryl Colan.

The audio is released under Creative Commons license:
Creative Commons Licence
Digital Storytelling Pod Ep01 by Gareth Morlais is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

One-hour digital storytelling?

Is there a form of digital storytelling that can give people a taste of what’s possible in just one hour? That’s the question Nicky Getgood and I wrestled with when we met earlier today.

Nicky works with Talk About Local and edits the Digbeth is Good hyperlocal online site. The 1 October 2011 #Storycamp in Ludlow is what Nicky was inspired to organise after she attended DS6.

Nicky and I began by looking back at the Capture Wales project, then we wondered about what kinds of video outputs might be produced at the Ludlow #Storycamp. The model we’re considering piloting consists of:
– four images, including titles;
– half a minute of audio, recorded on mobile phone in a quiet room;
– a personal anecdote based on one image or object related to ‘my special place’

We’re confident the technical building of the digital story can be done within the time, as long as not much training is required. But we’re both concerned that there’s not enough time to give the anecdote (mini personal story about a place) time to ‘breathe’.

We’ll continue the discussion and I’ll keep you updated here.

How your own hand can help you find your story

Here’s an idea you can try at the story-origination phase of your next digital storytelling workshop.

Ask everyone to place their hand on a blank piece of paper and draw round it, kindergarten style.

Ask people to write a line on each digit, in response to this:

Little finger: what’s the best thing that’s happened to you so far this year?

Ring finger: Looking further back in time, name one highlight of your life.

Middle finger: thinking of your family, what makes you most proud of being you? Did your grandfather have a fascinating job? Has your family made its mark in your town?

Index finger: pointing to the future, what would you like to achieve in the next five to ten years?

Thumb: what’s your philosophy in life? recipe for success? favorite saying?

In the case of someone who says: “I don’t have a story”, an exercise like this may help to suggest a theme for their personal story so they can script it or form it, record it and start making their digital story.
kindness - thumb

The secret of COW’s success – six lessons.

Half a million views across TV and online – I wrote about COW in my last post and, since then, I’ve been pondering: how come it did so well?

When I think about what made this film so successful, I’d say:

– the people who originated, developed and delivered the idea were the very people the film was aimed at. Lesson 1: consult and collaborate with your target audience

– it was a surprising subject which hadn’t had much coverage. Lesson 2: be fresh

– no punches were pulled in portraying the crash, so people who saw the film talked about it afterward. Lesson 3: be memorable

– the producer/director Peter befitted from many years of experience in the social action / public service field and he has strong interpersonal skills. Lesson 4: the key talent counts – that’s you.

– the ‘point’ of the film can be shown and grasped in one hard-hitting 30 second sequence. Lesson 5: build out from the point by adapting press-release and news story writing skills when making a fact-based short like this

– great title: COW. Lesson 6: choose a good title

That’s just half a dozen; if you want to add more, feel free to use the Comments.