Many years ago, I learned that it’s great if you have talent to produce amazing stories. However when it’s your job to produce stories on a regular basis, you need a workflow, a process, a framework that helps you plan, produce, present, and promote efficiently and effectively.
Here are 5 of my lessons learned through the years.
#1. Create a shared language. Because you will be working with other people, it’s important that you use terminology that helps facilitate the different parts of the process.
For example: At the top level, agree on a framework! For me, I follow a 5 “P” approach!
Plan: here we do the planning. What are we going to make? Why? What? And How?
Produce: once you agree on WHAT you’re going to produce and why, it’s time to make it. It’s the HOW part of the process.
Everyone needs to be a storyteller. The very special ones have three great qualities! They are great process of stories. They see what happening, imagine the possibilities, and know how to collect or make it. The are truly life learners because everything and anyone is their teachers. They live to see, hear, taste, smell, and feel their environment. They process these experiences and understand how to internalize it, associate it with different aspect of their lives, and they have a hunger to share.
Storytellers want people to care. They want people to feel. Think about your favorite artist. Do they make you care? Feel? That transference of their interpretation of the world is amazing. Think about it. They live something, it moves them, they internalize it, remix it in their language of choice (media or style of choice), they share it with you. If it all aligns, it works. The emotion transfers through the process. How beautiful, amazing, important, AND hard is that? It’s a gift for some and a craft for others.
Explorers are cool! Explorers who travel with a map maker is even cooler! Explorers who travel with a storytelling mapmakers ARE THE COOLEST! Why? Because they create a buzz!
What does the explorer, mapmaker, and storyteller backpack look like? I’ll show you mine.
Lets chat about what I think a story can be:
Victories (big or small)
Lessons learned (pluses, deltas, reflections)
Needs and concerns (what questions do we still have)
How do we collect, create, and showcase those stories:
Text (blogs, journals, social media tools).
A mix of media.
iPad/ media tablet: A very rich, media creating device. There are so many tools to help capture stories and evidence. Audio, text, video, and animation.
iphone/ smartphone. There are so many tools to help capture stories and evidence. Audio, text, video, and animation.
DSLR / Camera: Quality is key for me. There are times where I need QUALITY images and video and thanks to DSLR (or mirror less cameras with interchangeable lenses), I can get great images that utilize existing light more effectively than video focused cameras. Most DSLRs now record great HD video and (FOR ME) the depth of field control (the area in focus) is AMAZING!!! That’s the process of controlling what is in focus and what isnt. It provides a better focus on what you want to people to focus on.
Microphone / audio recorder: Many times video doesn’t work. Sometimes people are too nervous to respond to a video camera or you’re not sure if you have the appropriate release for them. There are many mice and audio devices you can use. Using your iPhone/ ipad/tablet can do the job for you, too.You can record ambient sounds of the activity, interviews, edit them in an editor like garageband or audacity and share it out (NPR style).
Tripod of some sort. Please USE a tripod when you can! Moving video can be nauseating. KEEP AS STILL AS POSSIBLE, if you don’t. When using an iPhone/iPad/ or other smart device— you can look into solutions for mini tripods and claps to help you with that!
A notepad (in any format): I write and draw and map out my stories, my collected media assets, my production notes. ALL DIRECTORS DO!! Storytelling is a process in assembling, dot-connecting, curating and strategizing. Notes, many times for storytellers, are very visual and a notepad/notebook, or even note taking tools are critical. Being able to share those notes is even better. I can talk about that on a later sharing! Simple: Use your notebook! Share your notes!
A Stage: Vimeo, Youtube, Blog, GoogleDrive, iLife theater. I don’t know what the parameters are for the schools but you need a stage— ITS YOUR PORTFOLIO! Its a place that showcases your verbs, what you did, what you’re doing, and what you’re gonna do! This is an area that is not super strong with schools. Making evidence and showcasing the victories, the lessons learned, and any needs and concerns are critical to what the story is with you. Rumors, perceptions, and other forms of outside determined forces DONT HAVE TO paint your picture, tell your story. Think of a place that serves two purposes:
Identify your stories.
Collect your stories. Create them.
Curate and Cultivate the stories— What can be an out facing story, what is inside facing!
Share and showcase.
There are many tools for the job and TODAY is a great day because there are many tools that can help enhance the story making and sharing experience. Explore! Share your tools, your storytelling strategies!