Saturday, June 28, 2008

Digital Storytelling Scheme

My current mission statement is that I want to explore how to use media in the context of social justice organizing with youth. What does that mean? I want to teach kids from marginalized communities (latino and/or queer to be exact) how to use media in order to tell the stories that are important to them. This means 1) affirming that what they have to say matters 2) sharing a technical skill that has practical applications, and 3) creating media that could potentially be employed towards a variety of educational and political ends.

All that seems great, but what does it look like? Well, I learned about two models when I attended the Allied Media Conference. On was presented by The Center For Digital Storytelling. They travel around doing 3 day workshops with other non-profits.. Here are my notes…

7 Elements: point (why that story at that moment), dramatic question, emotional content, voice, soundtrack, economy (300 wds), pacing.

Workshop Model about 12 students w/ two instructors

Day 1: Elements, writing time, idea discussion, adobe training, production time

Day 2: Scripting, story boarding, photo workshop, voiceovers, DV tutorial Final Cut, Production time

Day 3: Rough edit, special effects, production time, screening

How to use: Silence Speaks National Center for Lesbian Rights compile include w/ manual for outreach to social workers, include with letter lobbying congress, include with grant proposal

Funding: grants through community organizations, work exchange

Website:; decentralized youtube;

Similar organizations: Mass Impact in Boston, Creative Narration in Seattle…

It produces impressive results in terms of stories (which are normally a series of still images put to narration), but not in terms of relationships. It’s training more than growing with the learner, but that being said, it takes a lot less investment from the trainer or the learner. It’s logistically manageable.

I’m thinking that it would be feasible to follow more or less this model in making an afterschool program that would meet a couple of hours a week for a month or so. Perhaps if we were to target a group that already met regularly, like a Queer Straight Alliances, then there would be a group of people who felt already felt comfortable talking about personal things, then it may work. The first step seems like it should be finding a partner in crime...

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