July 15, 2010

Digital storytelling: A tutorial in 10 easy steps


“Thankful,” a digital story by Sarah Schmidt.

 

How to create a polished, powerful digital story for yourself or your nonprofit

Target audience: Nonprofits, social change organizations, educators, foundations, individuals. This is part of Creating Media, our ongoing series designed to help nonprofits and other organizations learn how to use and make media.

JD LasicaWith millions of videos floating around on the Web, I’d like to make the case today for a genre that has received far too little attention: digital storytelling.

Digital storytelling is a craft that uses the tools of digital technology to tell stories about our lives. Done properly, storytelling can be a powerful, evocative way of communicating

Let the people your nonprofit is helping tell their own impactful stories.

themes and stories, often touching us in deeper ways than one-dimensional videos that rarely probe beneath the surface of people’s lives. Nonprofits, especially, can use this technique to convey powerful, emotion-filled messages — by letting the people you’re helping tell their own stories.

If you plan to do it yourself, see our Visual story checklist to make sure you follow all the steps involved in creating a compelling story. You may also want to sign up for a digital storytelling workshop (see bottom), which can last from a few hours to a full day or two and generally costs a modest tuition fee. Either way, follow the following steps and you’ll be on your way.

Decide on the story you want to tell

Step 1You probably already have a person or subject in mind. Think small. Focus. Don’t get caught up trying to convey all the aspects of someone’s life — you’re not writing the great American novel, you’re creating what will optimally be a 3- to 5-minute work that recounts a personal tale and reveals a small truth.

KQED Digital Storytelling Initiative

What form should your story take? In their decade of leading workshops, Joe Lambert and Nina Mullen of the Center for Digital Storytelling list these main varieties of digital stories:

The story about someone important. Character stories center on a person who’s touched you in a deep way. Often, these stories reveal as much about the narrator as about the subject of the piece. Memorial stories pay tribute to someone who passed on but left a lasting impression.

The story about an event in your life. Travel stories — stories about a personal journey or passage — can be effective if they result in the narrator being transformed by the experience in some way.

Accomplishment stories about achieving a goal, graduating from school, or winning an honor can easily fit into the framework of the desire-struggle-realization structure of a classic story. Continue reading

October 14, 2008

How to pitch your social enterprise

JD LasicaI‘m handicapped by not having my MacBook Air, which was stolen yesterday, but here are some notes from Day 2 of the first Social Capital Markets conference at Fort Mason in San Francisco.

At the Pitching in Action session, four organizations gave presentations on social enterprises they’re planning to launch. Each had a compelling story.

Kevin Starr of the Mulago Foundation said investors look at four things in deciding whether to invest in a social enterprise startup:

  • What is the compelling problem you want to solve?
  • Do you have a solution to connect the dots on a path to impact?
  • Do you have a plausible path to go to scale?
  • Do you have the right organization to deliver on your vision? 

BAVC

Ken Ikeda, executive director of the Bay Area Video Coalition here in SF, outlined the prospects for a new venture called FUSE, an online platform and portal to provide digital media training online.

The appeal of FUSE, Ikeda said, is that its short, intense classes last two to three days rather than the weeks or months in schools or other programs. "Most of us don’t want to go back to school," Ikeda said.

Continue reading