digital storytelling,  education,  instruction,  tips

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

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.


  • Sandra Anstiss

    Thank you Gareth, this would be a great idea when taking part in a one day event when time and resources are limited. I used a similar technique in one of my workshops by asking people to bring a small item which hels some meaning to them. They were then given just 2 minutes to talk about it. The stories were later developed into longer pieces.

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