Digital Storytelling Initiative (2008)

KQED is a national leader in community created digital content. Digital Stories are being incorporated into mainstream on-air and website programming.

I chatted with Leslie Rule, Project Supervisor for their Digital Storytelling Initiative:

Pop-up Player Leslie Rule(54:00)  mp3

Digital Workshops

The goal of the workshops is to provide all participants with the intellectual and technical skills necessary to independently create digital stories in their own work, school or personal endeavors. Starting with story theory and ending with technical skills, participants will create a 2-3 minute piece to take home on CD or DVD. The four steps are described on their website:

Finding the Experience

We start with an appreciative inquiry approach to find meaningful experiences while we explore story styles and the power of personal narrative to facilitate a "re-storying" process that encourages deep reflection around the experience for a more evolved understanding of how our stories define who we are and how we walk through the world. We are a compilation of our experiences, and we need to know and communicate what those experiences are: we do that through story.

Telling the Story

Once we have "found" the story, we explore the best way to tell that story. Asking questions like who is our audience, what are we really trying to say, and what is the best way to say it. This includes writing the script in a way that works digitally and finding images that are both literal and symbolic. We download digital images and scan photographs and mementos. Then we are able to put the audio and visuals together using quick and easy storyboarding techniques. Discussion also focuses on understanding the intricacies of voice so as to use tone, diction, volume, and inflection as a incredibly powerful tool for creative expression.

Creating the Piece

At this stage it is all hands-on. Editing begins by combining the audio and visuals together using digital video editing software like iMovie4, Premiere, Pinnacle, or Final Cut Pro. Once in the software and after creating a rough cut, we add special effects, transitions, and titles to get to our final draft. As we move through the process, we also take note of problem areas around and with the technology, so that we learn easy solutions to common problems. As every artist knows, the process of creation is transformative. This is where we become producers of multi-media, not just consumers.

Publishing the Work

We'd like to call this the democratization of the media. We publish the stories that we have created to a variety of platforms: CD, DVD, VHS, web. Having created the stories, the natural next question is how do we use these stories, whether as learning tools and we develop curricula around them, for social activism, and program development, or as a tool for reflection, for healing.

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