Archive for October, 2008


The Stuff of Good Stories

October 24, 2008

(Note: Banner by Mark)

This week, I introduced you to some of the basic principles of digital storytelling. More specifically, we’re turning our attention to stories that have the following elements:

1) Still photos as key visual element

2) A linear timeline (hit play and it goes)

3) Voice over narration

4) Interview audio (quotes and sound bites)

5) Music

6) Sound design

7) Transition effects, pans and zooms

Now I want you to find online stories that have these qualities (not full-motion video, but stills), and post their links here. I also want you to write whether you think the piece succeeds or falls short of its potential. Explain why you have arrived at either conclusion.

In your search, try the following sources:

This American Life video podcasts on iTunes (just search in iTunes)

Magnum in Motion video podcasts on iTunes (just search in iTunes)

Some suggestions: Check out the multimedia section of newspaper sites. Try YouTube, Google Video, Metacafe, or other video sites. Check other podcast offerings on iTunes. Try advertising agency sites; film festivals; movie or TV show sites.

Remember that to post a link you can cut-and-paste the link directly into your post. If it’s too long or you want to specifically label it, use the HTML tags:

<a href=”URLgoesHERE”>anytextyouwant</a>

I look forward to your discoveries.


What’s Your Story?

October 3, 2008

As we discussed in class yesterday, there are some key qualities that are found in successful stories:

1) A narrative arc (conflict, crisis, resolution)—especially in fictional stories. Another way to think about it: a beginning, a middle and an end.

2) An angle (some specific point or response to a specific question)—especially in journalistic stories.

3) Specific details that illustrate universal themes—found in all stories that resonate with wide audiences.

With these qualities in mind, as well as the basic requirements of Project 2 (15 images, text), share your story ideas here in one or two paragraphs. Just describe your subject and tell us how you intend to craft it into a story. Or give us a short summary of your story and describe the pictures you will pursue.

Do this as soon as possible so I can respond. Also, let’s treat this like a workshop. That is, read the other story ideas and comment on them if you feel you have something to contribute.

Remember, the project is due next Thursday so it would be ideal to shoot this weekend! I will give you feedback publicly, on the blog, so be sure to check back for my response. 


An Eye for Composition

October 1, 2008

To summarize what I said in class yesterday about this next project, there are three aspects of new media production involved:

1) The technical (being able to create these slides in Photoshop and use a digital camera).

2) The storytelling skills (creating a compelling story, with a narrative arc, using images and words).

3) The aesthetic (taking good, well-composed pictures and placing them in appealing slide layouts).

This exercise will address the latter item; specifically, it will look at composition. There are many compositional devices and principles used by photographers as they shoot: the Rule of Thirds, Symmetry, Balance, Diagonals, Disappearing Lines, Patterns, etc. The following links explore and define these devices. Please read these pages closely and study the examples. Then, find 2 pictures that are posted online which demonstrate one or more of the compositional approaches. Post those links with a brief description.

Basic Composition Guidelines

More Good Guidelines

Fill Your Frame!

Find Fresh Angles!

When looking for examples to post, DO NOT SIMPLY GOOGLE “LOWER THIRDS” OR SOME OTHER KEYWORD. Instead, let’s go to sites like Flickr (click on the EXPLORE tab) and find them.

Remember the tag code for posting links:

<a href=””>Some Name for the Link Goes Here</a>