I really enjoyed this assignment because I love having the opportunity to combine the concepts I’m learning at university with personal stories in a creative way. I think it definitely helps you understand a topic if you’re able to connect it with something you enjoy or with something in your real life. I chose to make a video because I have the software for it and love filmmaking and editing.
I chose to use the same style as the video below with brightly coloured cardboard cut-outs, which I had previously made for a friend. This was because I thought it was a fun, visually stimulating look that would draw people into my story. I felt that the way it mimics and caricatures real life with the mix of real photos of people and the cartoonish cut-outs was well suited to my discussion on imaginary spaces, which are a heightened and often slightly strange transformation of the real world. I wanted to illustrate why imaginative worlds are so appealing to me, so I thought that creating one of my own was the best way to do this.
Although this was a solo project, I really appreciated bouncing off others in the tutorial time, as it is always useful to see someone else’s perspective. They might see something you didn’t because you’re too close to the project or focused on different details. I found that simply describing my plan for my project to others helped me to solidify my ideas and direction. As Carey and Russell point out, our preferred stories about ourselves do not have the sense of being ‘real’ if they simply remain in our own minds, as it is essential for others to witness and reflect back our claims (2003, p3). This meant that telling my ideas to my classmates and hearing their perspectives was a necessary part of conceptualising my thoughts.
I really appreciated our focus in the tutorials on the planning stages, as I think planning well is necessary to building a strong foundation for your story. As Hofer and Owings outline, before even sitting down at the computer, it’s necessary to ‘undertake research, engage in creative writing, editing and revision, consider the potential and impact of images, music and narration on the mood and tone’. It’s next to impossible to create a well-rounded and coherent story without some planning, especially in the digital storytelling platform. In particular, I found that making a storyboard was essential for my project, because it was so visually orientated. Also, because I was making all of the props myself, it was difficult to figure out what was going to work without drawing a storyboard.
I was well aware of the danger of trespassing copyright laws and so even though it was a lot of work, I appreciated the fact that I could avoid this by making everything myself and using only my own footage. I considered doing the same with music by using a loop program, but as the rest of my project was so time-consuming, I decided instead to find some royalty free music. I was lucky enough to find some appropriate songs from an artist with a creative commons licence that only required me to attribute them, and I felt that the addition of music lifted the whole video, which would have been much too dry without it.
Hofer and Owings note that file storage and management can be one of the difficulties of making digital storytelling projects due to all of the different elements involved, and I ran into this problem myself. Due to limited memory and the fact that video editing programs struggle with multiple still photos, towards the end of my project, my editing program began crashing when I tried to render it. This was an absolutely awful experience for me as I simply had no clue what I could do if I couldn’t render my video, and it was really frustrating to have spent hours putting everything together only to be unable to finish. I eventually managed to get around this by rendering it in 30 second bursts, putting those pieces together and rendering it again. This was a lesson in problem solving and perseverance for me, and one that I’m unlikely to forget.
Overall, I was very pleased with this experience and was grateful to have the chance to explore ideas about the media and space in a creative way.
Hofer, M, Owings, K, 2006 ‘Digital storytelling: Moving from promise to practice’, Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, Vol 2006, No. 1
Carey, M, Russell, S, 2003, ‘Outsider-witness practices: some answers to commonly asked questions’, The International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, Issue 1, Dulwich Centre Publications, Adelaide