Writing/recording the story

The next stage is thinking through how to match images with text. Participants may bring photographs, drawing or images with them, or they may want to act out/illustrate their stories in the workshop, or find images online to illustrate their ideas. It is sometimes a good idea to get participants storyboarding prior to locating any multimedia as it forces them to think through exactly what images they want before looking for them. Images that participants have brought with them can be scanned in/photographed at this stage. As a rule of thumb, digital stories tend to work best with about 20-25 still images.

  • Learning the technology

There are many different approaches to using technology in the workshop process, as well as at what point it is brought into the workshop process, and how activities are sequenced. Introducing the technology, and the relevant software for story creation, is possible in plenary, with a view that participants are then given individual space to learn. One-to-one facilitation here supports learning, and enables facilitators to respond to the different levels of technological experience within the workshop. For many, the building of skills will take place as the storyteller works with the equipment and practices through the workshop. Digital technology may be used for: writing scripts, developing storyboards, creating the film, sourcing and creating images.

Download Computer handouts: 1. Workshop equipment checklist 2. Working with computer technology

Download Tablet handouts: 1. Workshop equipment checklist 2. Working with tablet technology

  • Telling the story through images, sounds, and the script

Images in the storytelling process have the power to enable a deeper form of honesty and truth. Image consideration will further inform the editing process as the narration can use images to provide additional meaning where right words are not available. Working with images to visualise the story can be built in throughout the workshop process. Through the process storytellers consider what kinds of images will help tell the story: literal or metaphorical, concrete or abstract, long-shot and close-up, colour or not, and how the images will move from one to the next. Facilitators and fellow storytellers can support this process by prompting through reflective questions: What do you see when recalling your story? Do you have these images? How would you like to create them? Participants can bring photographs, or significant documents to the workshop, as well as do drawing and painting at the workshop itself.

Download ‘telling the story through images’ handout: 1. Guidance on supporting visualisation in digital storytelling 2.Link to ‘Working with images’ section of this guide

The audio elements of the story are also a consideration, how voice will be used (storyteller voice and the voices of others), and also how non-vocal sounds might interact with voice. Participants may want to include a music soundtrack or ambient sound. If so, what kind of music would help tell the story? In making this decision participants ask themselves whether including particular audio helps to portray meaning in the story. Participants can sing or record sound effects at the workshop – singing a protest song or a traditional melody will be meaningful to the viewer and can make a powerful statement.

Download ‘audio recording’ handout: Working with participants on their audio recording

  • Storyboarding

The storyboard asks participants to think about the way someone “reads” a digital story; it provides a plan for how to use images and the sequence of imaging for the digital story. A template can be provided or participants can create their own storyboard template that shows the relationship between the images, voiceover and soundtrack over time. As a rule of thumb digital stories tend to work best with about 20-25 still images.

Download ‘storyboarding in DST’ handout: Building a plan for how to use images and the sequence of imaging and sound for the digital story.

  • Building stories iteratively, creatively and honestly

Throughout the digital storytelling process space should be retained for encouraging risk-taking, honesty and creativity. Opportunities for engaging with peers can support this, of particular importance is the role of the story circle. Participants will work at different speeds and feel confident and inhibited in different ways at different points of the process. Creating open and flexible ways of working within the group, and in the way that stories grow, will help ensure that participants have the space and time to find the story they are trying to tell.

>> See next section:  Creating the story and voice recording