Seven Steps of Digital Storytelling – Chapter Critique

Lambert’s Chapter 5 is all about the steps of Digital Storytelling.

Step 1: Owning Your Insights

“Focus on creating a story that feels unique and powerful”. That seems really broad an difficult to me because it seems like such a mountain to climb. Starting with an idea, all of the elements that have to play into the idea to make unique and powerful, are really daunting. Powerful may be the hardest aspect there. Later in the discussion on step one, Lambert mentions “…if you burden the beginning on your process with the external expectations, you can easily interrupt or edit the little voice inside your head that is working through while the story has great personal meaning for you.” Bingo! This is the problem I have with all of my work. I always tend to focus on what others will think of the work, the project, the course, what I’m trying to say, etc, instead of just focusing on the voice in my head and letting it all out.

Step 2: Owning Your Emotions

Depending on the topic, I think emotions can get in the way of storytelling. For example, what might make someone emotional in the manner that the well up with tears, may bring about anger or conflicting judgment in another person. Maybe it has more to do with whether or not the story is being told from a “I” perspective, instead of a “we/our/they” perspective. I’ll admit it; I’m not the most emotional person, and can become angry/annoyed at others stories that come across as too emotional or “poor me”. It’s my perception of what is being presented, and I’m probably a little wrong most of the time. However, I think it’s all in how the story was presented by the author/storyteller. Regardless, being aware of your own personal emotional attachment to a story should be factored in with, “how will this story be perceived by others”. At least that is my take on it? Wait… did I just contradict step 1?

Step 3: Finding the Moment

This step seems to be all about “change”. Lambert talks about when storytelling, it’s important to identify the moment of change. Several weeks ago, I read a Lambert chapter and then reflected on a moment from my life that is still very vivid in my mind. When I think about the moment of “change” in that story, it had to be the realization that “this was it – the last time we’d be in the same room.” Lot’s of reflection all lead up to that realization. I suppose that is what Lambert means about finding the moment of change. When building a story, maybe that is the first thing I need to figure out in my head, and then work backwards and forwards from there.

Step 4: Seeing Your Story

Ha! I spoke too soon. The first line under step 4 is: “finding the moment of change in your story and describing it within a scenes is the starting point to telling the story as a story.” I guess that is what you’re supposed to do! (by the way, I’m writing my response as I read and digest each section. I don’t want to read it all and then miss parts at the end!) Another thing that I’m processing in my brain is how important it is to identify images along the way as checkpoints. Also, “Would the audience be able to understand ¬†the story’s meaning without this image?” Yet another aspect that I had not considered. Having an image to back up each piece/detail of the story will only help the viewer get inside the storytellers head to better understand their point of view.

Step 5: Hearing Your Story

This is one aspect that I feel passionate about and actually feel like I understand. The sound of a story is essential. I’ve played around with backing music tracks, and based on the backing music track and images/videos played over the top, the emotion or feel could be completely changed. Last week I was doing a Daily Create and used a lot of different photos and short videos. I had one backing track over the top at first, and it made the video seem light-hearted and fun. Once I switched it to another track, the mood of the story changed to a more somber/reflective mood. Also, the digital story I critiqued last week, the creators used black and white in order to convey a serious tone with a serious voice. The speaker is normally a jokester, but with the black and white aspect, I could tell the tone was something serious.

Step 6: Assembling Your Story

“The joy of storytelling comes in determining how much to tell them and at what point”. Lambert’s reference to Daniel Weinshenker’s comparison of¬†building tention to antagonizing a cat with a string made a lot of sense. When building a story, I need to think of each step along the way and determine, “are my viewers/listeners going to get bored and hit stop, are they going to be too confused and hit stop, or will they be interested enough to want to keep chasing the rabbit down the hole.” Not giving away too much information right off the bat is a great suggestion to. It’s like when you watch an episode of TV that starts with the ending of the show, shows you one bit, and then moves backwards to “12 hours earlier”. I know that I am always engaged because now I need to know what happened to get me to that point I just saw! Maybe I’m in the minority there, because what if someone else interpreted that as, “well now I know what happen, so I can change the channel.” Maybe it depends on the story being told. If I were talking about my move from IN to CO, that approach might not work well because guess what, I ended up in CO. However, if I started to tell a story with the first moment being that I was sitting in a tree, staring down at a Russian Boar, people may be more engaged to find out what the heck is going on.

Step 7: Sharing You Story

This has to be the most important part, right? I feel like Lambert spent a lot of time talking about considering your audience one more time before publishing and making final edits. I just imagined that when creating a story, considering my audience would have been earlier on, like after the hearing your story part when you are assembling it? I don’t know that I would have been focused on considering my audience after assembling the story.

This was a great chapter about presenting the process to building a digital story. I learned a lot to take into consideration when I build a long form story in the future. Lambert mentioned his seminars a lot throughout the article. He also seemed to present all 7 steps from the point of view of building a digital story based on a story that another person would dictate to you. I don’t think I’d be doing much of that quite yet. For me, I plan on working through everything in my head and following these 7 steps personally before making an attempt to capture someone else’s story.


2 thoughts on “Seven Steps of Digital Storytelling – Chapter Critique

  1. Love this post! Would be really grateful if you could check out my latest post! Kind of a touchy subject and I don’t know what to do.

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