Audio Storytelling

To begin Unit 4, I have watched two videos of Ira Grass’ series on storytelling, and picking out ‘nuggets’ that stand out to me. Within the first video Ira describes that we shouldn’t think of storytelling like we were taught at school, but that there are just ‘two basic building blocks’, one being the anecdote. A short but interesting or amusing story where there are stages in a story where one thing leads to the next, and to the next, and so on. There needs to be a momentum, so that even if the story is dull, it should feel like theres suspense and that the listener feels like something is going to happen. This also makes the listener want to listen. The other part of the anecdote is that it has to be raising a question from the beginning, a constant beat of raising questions and then being answered along the way which will also keep the listener engaged. The second building block is to have a moment of reflection. At some point, it has to be explained what the point of the story is, there has to be something at the end that has a meaning or purpose. If it’s a good story, it will bounce between these two building blocks.

His second video is about finding a good story. He mentions that finding the perfect story usually takes longer than actually going out and making it and how important it is to give yourself the same amount of time to come up with and find a story as you would to shoot it and make it. Something that really stood out to me within this second video is the way he explains that not all stories you go out to find will be as interesting as you thought it was going to be, such as a story you wanted to put on your radio show, so you have to be ruthless with that story and cut out all of the rubbish that might bore listeners, and to just have the interesting and heart felt parts that will make the story sound as interesting as you wanted it to be from the beginning. Not all stories will work out how you wanted them to, so he explains that you have to work with that and make it back into what you wanted. He also goes onto say that a huge part of success is failure, and that people will fail many times before they succeed, which just means that you’re doing it right. Ira also goes on to say that it is also a lot about luck, and sometimes it’s just about stumbling across something special, and until then there will be a lot of ‘crap’ that has to be gotten rid of first.

I then went on to looking at Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad: How radio creates empathy. He begins by describing the way with radio, we don’t have images to create a picture when something is being described. He makes this point that it’s like he is painting a picture for the listener but he’s not holding the paintbrush, you as the listener is. I really like that sentence he uses to describe how audio storytelling works that it takes two to cooperate together to make the story. He talks about the connection people have through radio, and how much he loves that about radio and believes it has something to do with this ‘co-imagining’, another word I really like.


Telling Stories with Photos

This activity was quite interesting, in the way you had no control of what photos were going to be randomly given on Flickr, then only choosing 1 out of 5 at a time to make up a 5 photograph story. This was challenging in the way that linking random photographs to make some kind of sense in a story is quite a hard thing to achieve. As I worked my way through choosing the photographs, I ended up coming up with a theme of flowers and patterns seen in the street on in the environment, and plucking inspiration from this to then lead to a tattoo design, where the story ends at the tattoo studio. Here are the photographs:






A few Daily Creates during Unit 3!

Daily Creates

1. My first daily create within Unit 3 was a task set to photograph every colour of the rainbow by looking for objects around one room. So I stayed within my own living room and managed to get every colour! This was quite a fun challenge where I tried to capture different objects, with a nice bright colour. I think put them together in a small collage to present the colours I found.


2. On the 25th December, a Daily Create was assigned specifically for Christmas Day. This was to share a photograph that made this day unique. To me, Christmas Day is all about the bringing together of family, and enjoying that. In this day and age, it is slightly rare now to find ourselves spending quality family time together, which is a huge shame. It is not often when I am at home that my family make the effort to make an amazing meal and all gather around the table to spend it with each other. The effort to do this just isn’t really made anymore, so for me, what makes this day unique, is the part where we all sit together for dinner and just simply enjoy each other’s company.



What is Storytelling?

Unit 3 of DS106 is all about storytelling. Firstly, what do I think storytelling is? And what is my perspective of it? When I think of the word storytelling, I generally just think of someone or something, describing a matter of events whether they are fiction or non-fiction. A story can be anything you want it to be in terms of imagination. It is a chance to be creative, and come up with something unique, or perhaps a unique way of re-telling an already existing story. Storytelling should involve a number of different aspects to really allow the audience to be able to realistically feel engaged within the story as if they are actually there. This includes senses, describing feeling, sounds, smells, textures. As well as this everything within the setting should be described perfectly to the point. This is the only way to really engage people and to make them feel as if they are part of the story.

Now bringing the word ‘digital’ into it, this slightly changes my view on the word storytelling. When I think of just storytelling, it usually reminds me of someone reading a book, or telling a story off of the top of their head. Digital brings in a whole different means to the word, where video, imagery, photography, special effects, sound, and so much more comes into it. This is where people can get even more creative, really exploring the different ways of storytelling.

Kurt Vonnegut

During Kurt’s video about storytelling above anything made me laugh, because of how true it is. He describes the basic story lines that people love, and it is quite funny how as humans, we do in fact enjoy these story lines that are repeated over and over, just with different characters, and slightly different concepts. One example he uses is the type of story where someone finds love, then it all goes wrong, and then it all ends happily ever after for the couple. A perfect example of this would be The Notebook, a film that follows this exact story line. We start with the main character, Noah, going after Allie, a girl who he has his eye on. He wins her over and they have seem to have a perfect relationship, which is then ruined by Allie moving away and her parents disapproving of Noah. This is when the story goes wrong and everything goes wrong for their relationship. But of course, this is then fixed by the end of the film where Noah and Allie find each other again and find love once more. An exact story shape of what Vonnegut explains.

Here is a graph in which Maya Eilam created based on Kurt Vonnegut’s views on storytelling, which matches my example.


This nicely illustrates the shape of the ‘boy meets girl’ storyline. I have also made a very short video showing how the Notebook fits into this storyline.

Describing Something I Love. Ds106 Daily Create.

‘Describe something you love’.

Doing this activity makes me happy, I can flow to the music and do anything I like. The patterns are beautiful, with lights or without, making amazing swirls and movements in the air creating an exciting performance. Body movement is a huge part of it, it is all about where you place your feet, and letting your wrists loose to really gain the right effect. There are so many skills to learn, but the main thing is to have fun with it, and make it into something beautiful for people to enjoy. This is what I love to do, and I will always continue doing it as I go through life. What I love, is Poi.

For this daily create, it was nice not to be given a task of photographing or videoing, it was nice to just describe something that I love. It is nice being given a task like that, where you can really reflect on something that makes you happy! As I went to begin this daily create, the first thing I saw on my desk next to me, was my set of poi, and it was the perfect thing to describe! It is interesting and also fun, and something I love to do.

Here is a video to give an idea about poi.

“Say it Like the Peanut Butter”

Digital Storytelling Gif.

DS106 influenced us to create a GIF during Unit 2, of one of our favourite films or least favourite and to go and find out ourselves how to make one, which made it more challenging. I like how ds106 likes to push the people on the course to try and learn things themselves, rather than handing out all the information so that we don’t have to think for ourselves. The Shining isn’t necessarily my favourite film, but it has a very iconic scene where Jack Nicholson says ‘Here’s Johnny!’ which made me think straight away that it would be perfect for my first GIF! Firstly, I took screenshots of the scene so capture the main mouth movements, then cropped these in Photoshop followed by uploading them to a GIF Maker online, which put my GIF together then let me edit the settings. I chose to set the animation to 350 milliseconds so that the GIF isn’t too quick to not understand, but not too slow either. This was not too hard for myself to create, but it was something I haven’t done before which made it an enjoyable experience!