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PRE-WRITING Powered By Docstoc
Finding Your Story

Our lives are stories within stories. The trick is deciding which one is the right one to tell
right now. It’s up to you. Is there something you want to remember? Is there an object
that has a special meaning in your life? These “triggers” might help you think of an
experience from your life to share with others.

      A big change in your life

      A time when you experienced prejudice or stereotyping

      The best advice you ever received

      The role you have in your family

      A time when you had to make a big decision

      A time when you learned a new skill

      A time when you taught someone else a new skill

      A time when you overcame an obstacle

      A person who you admire

      A time when you were scared

      A time when you were proud

      The place that you call home

      A time when you worked (or played) as part of a team

      A time when you felt misunderstood

      A time when you were a leader

      Or any other experience…

Before our next meeting, decide on a story that you want to use for the digital story and
be prepared to share it with a partner and/or with the entire group.

Handout Adapted from the Creative Narrations Digital Storytelling Guide
An example script and storyboard
(Story written during Shantou Digital Story Group 2007)

Narration (Read by Shooin)      Images                          Secondary soundtrack
                                Title page                      Soft piano music plays

My name is Shooin Leung         Recent picture of Shooin in
                                black and white.

When I was born I was only
1.5 kilograms weight.

You can imagine how little I    Picture of Shooin standing as
was as a baby.                  a baby next to flower.

My father also told me that I
was as small as a chopstick.

Three fingers together could
cover my little face.

My relatives thought I could    Picture of Shooin frowning
not live longer.                next to play pen.

And my father’s parents even
had the thought of giving me

Because at that period people   Picture of Shooin with her
preferred a boy to a girl.      brother.

Boys are more important than    Black and white picture of
girls at Old China.             boys

At the same time, my parents    Recent picture of Shooin and
were too busy to take care of   her family (brother, Mom, and
me.                             Dad). Shooin is smiling and
                                showing a peace sign.

Handout Adapted from the Creative Narrations Digital Storytelling Guide
What’s worse, I often cried at
midnight and was quite at

So, my parent’s decided to          Recent photo of Shooin’s
send me to my grandparents,         grandparents
my mother’s parents. Let them
look after me.

                                    Shooin’s grandmother
Since then, I lived with my         preparing food in rural
grandparents in a small             kitchen.

Although they were poor
farmers, they still tried to give
me the best life and the best

I still can’t forget the shadow     Side view of Shooin’s
of my grandpa’s back.               grandfather. (Transition to
                                    next picture through heart
He cooked meals for me every        shaped fade in and out.)
day. And it always took him
more than an hour to cook the       Picture of rice.
rice by fire. To make it soft
and a little bit wet.

It was hot near the fire and he     Shooin’s grandfather looking
was sweating.                       off to the side.

At that time, I didn’t eat          Pigs in a pen
without seeing a chicken, a
pig, or a cattle.

My grandma held me in her           Grandmother and father
arm, in order to make me
happy, and raise me easily.

Because I was a 1.5 kilogram        Picture of Shooin in front of
weight when I was born, and         playpen (repeat picture from
she was afraid that I could not     before).
be brought up healthy. And
she even wept at night.

Handout Adapted from the Creative Narrations Digital Storytelling Guide
These things are still living in   Picture of grandparents.
my mind clearly.

Now, I am a grownup.            Recent photo of Shooin on
Healthy and Happy.              mock cover of “Tatler” tabloid
                                magazine (from photo shop).
                                Big smile and above fake
Living in another city. In a    English headlines.
beautiful university. I have my Pond and walkway at STU
new life and new friends.’
                                Recent photo of Shooin and
But this does not mean that     friend from mock magazine
distance will change my love    cover (Chinese characters).
towards my grandparents.
                                Grandmother photo (Repeat)
I know that they love me more
than I love them. They devote Grandfather photo (Repeat)
all their love for me for a 1.5
kilograms baby girl.            Shooin as a baby (repeat of
                                first picture of her standing)
I love you my grandma and
grandpa.                        Shooin with grandma (stars
                                and hearts are added to photo).

                                   Shooin with grandpa (stars
                                   and hearts are added to photo)

                                   Credits page rolls from bottom
                                   to top. Text:
                                   My dear Grandparents,
                                   You say: “We are always
                                   behind you.”
                                   I cry: “I am always with you.” Music continues as credits
                                   Shooin Leung                   roll.
                                   April 2007.

Handout Adapted from the Creative Narrations Digital Storytelling Guide
Tips for preparing your story script

A story is not just a straight line that takes you from Point A to Point B.

Think of a story as an arc, with a beginning, middle, and end, it moves along with
a life of its own. . . Most stories are driven by a question that is very important to
the author. The process of telling a story is a response to that question.

What is a story? What is not a story?

In the beginning, your job is to set up the story, to give the viewer a sense of what your
story is about and why it’s important. You might pose a question or present a problem
that will be explored throughout the story. Many stories begin, “I used to…” We know
that this story will reveal what is different now.

The middle is where your story unfolds. You might give some background, discuss
your struggle with this problem or question, and convey why you think it is important.

In the end, your story does not need to resolve the problem or answer the question,
you can leave the viewer asking him/herself about the issue. You do, however, want to
somehow connect the story with how you set it up in the beginning. Don’t feel compelled
to wrap things up neatly.

This is just one way to tell a story, what are others? Feel free to experiment- a story can
be a letter, a poem, a song . . .

Tips for preparing your story script

Handout Adapted from the Creative Narrations Digital Storytelling Guide
i. This story is more than just words: A Digital Story is personal, told from your
perspective and is revealed through pictures, words and special effects. As you’re
writing, think about what images you’d like to see at the different parts.

ii. Stay focused on your main point: A story is like a journey and it is very easy to
start off in the right direction and yet never reach your destination. When you get to the
end, you should be able to “look back over your shoulder” and still see the place you set
out from. So, while you are writing, keep asking yourself: "What is my story about?"
Two minutes is still plenty of time to lose your way.

iii. Think how few words and pictures you need to tell the story, not how many:
For a story of two minutes, the script should be about 250 words long, (about one page
double spaced). Be aware, though, that most Digital Stories benefit from pauses and
silence where the pictures are allowed to carry the narrative by themselves. It can also
be useful to vary the pace of your delivery—slower parts and faster parts.

iv. It's not a speech or a lecture. Your voice is unique and its sound is important to
the meaning of your story. The voice-over is not just words; it's about the way you
speak those words. You are not an announcer merely performing lines. You are
narrating a story as you would tell it to a friend. You can be poetic and creative. Be
natural. Be yourself. Let your script reflect your personal style!

For our next meeting, bring in a draft of your story. It should be between 200-300
words (roughly two pages double spaced). We will be reading our stories
together and offering suggestions.

Handout Adapted from the Creative Narrations Digital Storytelling Guide

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