Digital Storytelling Basics


There are several elements that make up a good story. Just throwing a bunch of slides together in a slide show is not storytelling. There are several elements that must be present. (These are adapted from Jon Orech's wiki on digital storytelling.)

1) Point - Every story needs a point. What is the ending? Where will the journey take you? What is the end result? Is there a lesson to be learned, a moral to be taught?....etc.

2) Dramatic Question - What direction will the story take you? Is there an overarching question that is driving the storyline?

3) Emotional Content - The story should cause us to feel something. Anger, happiness, sadness, concern....we need to care about the story.

4) Pacing - Think about the pace of your story...is it moving along quickly enough? Do you need to slow down to increase the impact of your story? Maybe as things build to a crescando the pace needs to pick up to increase the dramatic potential. Keep in mind the timing.

5) Gift of your own Voice - The best gift you can give your audience is your voice. Voice overs lend an intimate personal touch to any story. No one can tell your story like you can. Don't be shy, be willing to share.

6) Soundtrack - Music can identify the mood of your story it can relay information in ways that simple words can not. People connect with music. Many times music without words can be a great backdrop to an amazing story.

7) Economy - "Less is more" Think of a commercial. They have less than 30 seconds to convince you to buy their product. Remember the anti-drug PSA?

Every element discussed above is present in this 11 sec clip.

1) Point - Keep kids off of drugs
2) Dramatic question - What happens to your brain when you take drugs?
3) Emotional Content - This quick clip causes you to stop and think
4) Pacing - Quick and to the point
5) Gift of Voice - a very simple voice over of the action
6) Soundtrack - The frying egg is very chilling when combined with the voice over message
7) Economy - They packed so much into this one commercial and it was less than 11 secs long!

Ideas for getting started


Here is a list of story starters from Jon Orech's site that he got from Christina Baldwin's StoryCatchers.

More story starters

A-Z Teachers
Scholastic Story Starters
Scholastic Story Starter Machine
StoryStarter.com

Telling Simple Digital Stories