50+ Web Ways to Tell a StoryWorkshop for Skidmore College • Match 19, 2014

Not long ago producing multimedia digital content required expensive equipment and technical expertise. Now almost anyone can create and publish on the web digital media with nothing more complex than a web browser or a mobile device. But easier content creation does not free us from Sturgeons Law.*

This workshop will cover a simple development process. Participants will create a digital story using images, audio, and/or video using free web tools and/or mobile apps. I use "story" in a general sense; it may be one of personal discovery or growth, a fictional narrative, a travel experience, a presentation, or something else you find worth telling. I discovered more than 50 such tools and recently have expanded the site to include mobile apps as creative platforms. As an example I created the same story in each tool. The result is that a good story and the creative process should and do transcend the tools.

*In response to criticisms of the poor quality of science fiction writing, author Theodore Sturgeon claimed that “90% of everything is crap”, suggesting science fiction was no different from other genres of art.

(a) Warm Up Activity


(b) The Way of the 50+ Ways

(c) Table Group Activity: Story Brainstorm

  • Groups of 3-4 people at each table.
  • As a group we are going to decide a shared topic tag.
  • Each table will run version of pechaflickr with settings for 5 slides shown for 30 seconds each.

  • Each person should silently watch and independently write down an idea for a story told by those 5 photos. As a suggestion, use the Story Spine approach
    • Once upon a time there was . Every day, . One day Because of that, . Because of that, . Until finally _.___
  • At the end of the show, the person who's computer you are using should copy down the list of final image URLs

pf experience.jpg

(d) Table Group Activity: Pick and Find the So What?

  • Share the ideas for your story; as a table vote for the one that the group can agree has the most potential to be an interesting story.
  • One person in the group, ideally the one with the computer used for pechaflickr, should open your group Google Doc. Put down the names of the group members, and add the basic outline for the story, and include the URLs used from your pechaflickr experience. These images must be used in your story project

  • In your groups, revisit the story. Does it have the "So What?" element? What might that be? Does it have an opening that grabs your interest, and maybe hints at the so What? Revise.

(e) Table Group Activity: Find Media

  • All table members should now seek out additional media that might support the story, use the Storymedia resources to find media you can use. Keep track of all found media in your shared Google doc so it is available for every person on your group.

(e) Individual Activity: Build a Story in a Web Tool and/or a Mobile App

Recommended To Try

(f) Summary and Review (and Celebrate)