February 28, 2008

The Digital Storytelling of Unequal Rights

America is the home of the brave and land of the free, right? Unfortunately not. At least not free for our homosexual population. Though for centuries we have been known for our human rights and equality, today we are behind other nations in our stance on gay rights.

I chose two digital story telling clips form The Center, a digital media project website based out of San Diego County. It’s sole purpose is as a website to support the LGBT cause and its members. I decided to go to this website because I avidly support gay rights. So much so that I can’t see the other side of the issue when I try to. I feel that I could never succumb to that level of ignorance. My feelings are really strong on this, as you can tell.

A Marriage Equality Story

The Triumph of Forbidden Love

Continue reading "The Digital Storytelling of Unequal Rights" »

February 27, 2008



“Blue Christmas is based on a Christmas theme and it is a celebration of the video maker’s anniversary. I love this video because it is very colorful and vibrant. Moreover, I like this video for its homely and happy feelings that is brings to me. It feels joy is surrounded all over. It is a very cozy video and the theme song “Blue Christmas? by Jack, Tanner and Anja is very sweet and loveable.
This video was created on 14th of January 2008.


digital stories

The stories I watched were from here:

This digital story was made by Kim Dennis in a digital storytelling workshop through a social work program. The story, done by someone who had worked to help youth others for years, is about her learning to let go and to help people find their own way. She frames this in the context of her helping people rather than enabling them, and also in getting a stronger sense of individual and relational self in the process.

In telling this story, she mixes pictures (with various effects), video and music. I like the way that she mixes up the pace so it doesn’t get boring, and the raw, honest way that she speaks.

This story spoke to me because I can relate to being a caretaker and to feeling like I need to be needed. I haven’t learned to let go yet, but someday I hope to get there.

Breaking Free by Griffin Kinnard is a powerful story about growing up in foster care and the ways that it has affected him. He has lived a hard life, and in response to the breakup of his family and what he had been through he shut out other people and turned against the world. With help, he began to work to overcome his pain, became an advocate, and here he talks about his life and how he feels now as he does that work.

The form is a mix of old pictures and video, with Griffin doing a voiceover throughout, narrating the chronology of time and about his feelings. His voiceover is often poetic, and there is music in the background as well.

I especially appreciate this story because it speaks so strongly to the experiences of youth who are growing up in the foster system; their voices are not often heard, and they should be more often.

Ironing and Sacrificios

I love the stories Ironing and Sacrificios, because they both told me something really moving about life in America.
Ironing is the story of Ryan Trauman's loss of his parents and the way that ironing, a simple household chore, helps him to make sense of and smooth over his feelings. I thought that it was really well produced - the music was perfect and he read beautifully. The screen capture I chose has a photo of his mother that I loved.
Sacrificios is the story of a laborer from Mexico and his family. The narrator is the son of a man who worked all his life for a landowner in Texas, and he tells the story of a family hoping to be recognized for their dedication. Again, I thought that the photos and the music were perfect, and I liked that at the end the narration switched to Spanish. It felt like a personal story, but with a wider purpose and message of hope to people who can relate to this life.

Screen shots after the jump --->

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February 26, 2008

Digital Story


I really understand this digital story. It also goes with what we were talking about in class about how the camera can capture part of a story that isn’t even true. This woman hates her photograph being taken; she hates that forced pose. Sally Davies uses photographs mainly from her family life, since this piece is reflecting on her mother’s words to “just smile naturally.? I enjoyed it because I completely understand her feelings about “forced smiles.? I will openly admit that I practice my forced smile regularly in front of the mirror and with a digital camera. It’s also true that my favorite pictures of myself are when I’m too drunk to care about my posing. Davies ends the piece on a lighter note by acknowledging there are moments when a smile doesn’t need to be forced. She is not ruining photos as she thinks she has been. She apologizes to her mother in text at the end saying she was right. I really liked the personal family touches that came from this piece.

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The “Kelly? Phenomenon


“Let Me Borrow That Top?

I’ll admit it; I too was hooked in by the “Kelly? YouTube videos. I first saw them last semester, but had heard a lot about them from my friends. Most likely you have seen Liam Kyle Sullivan’s most popular video, “Shoes.? In this video a socially awkward teenage girl is obsessed with shoes. Through rock music and her quirky personality she gets her point across. This video was the winner of the 2007 People’s Choice Award for the Favorite User-Generated Video. Sullivan is a comedian that is from Norfolk, Massachusetts, is currently living in Los Angeles, and tours the country to do his comedy routines. When you watch his videos you will realize that he plays many different characters in his videos. He states that he likes to play characters that “never let anyone grind them down.? And after you have seen the Kelly videos you will find this to be true.

Continue reading "The “Kelly? Phenomenon" »

Screen Captures


Feministing posted an entry on this ad campaign featuring battered women. The campaign suggests that women's former sports bras were not providing adequate support, and the result was the image above, and others like it. Apparently, women's breasts are so unruly that they can cause abuse that is much more suggestive of domestic battery. I think that is the reason this image is able to draw in a viewer. Particularly on a site like feministing, my mind went straight to abuse. The primary ad they show simply looks like an athlete who got roughed up in a game or boxing match...something. But go to the jump and you get this image. Abuse draws on emotions and curiosity. The fact that this was supposed to invoke humor...that women's breasts could be a source of violent injury...shows the spectrum of perspectives different audiences take.

Feministing did provide this notice after posting the entry, which I feel deserves to be noted:

Note: We have been contacted by the company Running Free and they have cleared up that this ad is in fact NOT theirs; an ad agency pitched the idea to them and they rejected it because of their own offense to it. Regardless, the fact that any ad companies are even thinking to create these kinds of ads (and the positive online response to it) is still gross nonetheless.

Continue reading "Screen Captures" »

Digital Story Telling

“Star Gazing? by Sarah Eyles is a beautiful piece about finding a simple answer to a very complex question, especially for a child. “Where do we come from?? Sarah found her answer as a young child. By simply closing her eyes, she saw the stars that stretched beyond our own universe and concluded that this is where she came from.
Sarah found constant comfort in the stars above her.
As an adult, Sarah went to Israel. There she spent a great deal of time star gazing and once again found the comfort that she had once found as a young child. Beneath the Milky Way she once again found her sense of home with the stars.
Sarah uses different forms of images to portray her story. Some are photographs of herself or of the night sky while others are concise drawings of the sky from space. All of these images contribute to her story of where she came from.

Digital Stories


"Mama Basrat" is about a nostalgic man who expresses the amount of influence his Great Aunt had on him, also tied in to his homesickness. He was born in Ethiopia but currently lives in the states. I loved the beginning of his story because of the use of the rain, it also reminds me of home (Sudan), although I only lived there briefly in childhood. The rain for my family (and extended family) was means for everyone to come together, tell stories, cook "rain foods" (foods reserved for rainy days), etc. There was definitely a feeling of being safe, loved, and protected.

I found the usage of black and white photographs from his childhood to be very expressive and drives him (to me anyway) the feeling of desiring things from the past. As someone who has spent most of her life in foreign lands away from him, I find myself being able to identify very well with him.


"The awakening" is a piece by Sharon. Sharon speaks of her aspirations and excitement as a female black student who goes on to attend college. She describes her wanting to fit in and attempting to assimilated but always being reminded of who she is (a black woman), her hopes to "save" the world (joining the civil rights movement) eventually being dashed and finally packing up and going back home when she realizes that her impressive white friend was not willing to allow her to meet her parents. The ending was a bit open ended, but in less than three minutes, Sharon was able to capture the strong emotions (confusion and pain) that accompanies interracial relationships (in this case, friendship), and what it's like to be a student of color in what I can only imagine is a largely white high education Institution. And although this story was set in 60s , the apprehensions she felt are similar to what I feel sometimes (well, besides the civil rights/parents of friends won't accept me part).

I enjoyed the imagery used, the tone of her voice, and this is an assumption but the usage of images of her "today" and in the past while telling a story that is from the past shows the crossover between events. That things have not really changed.

If that makes sense.

Digital Storytelling


“Born In the Wild?
is Kathleen McCann’s story about her childhood and how her lifestyle was significantly different than others. Unlike most English children, Kathleen grew up and was raised in Northern Rhodesia and South Africa. Although her parents worked hard to surround her with a British environment, they could never fight the fact that the wild surrounded them.
Kathleen’s story focuses a lot on their trips. Even her trips with her brother to their boarding school school involved views of the rainforest and even Victoria Falls. Vacations consisted of their adventurous father taking them to placed many adults never get to see.
From the digital story, you can see that the images go along perfectly with the narration. The various pictures show young children as well as adults dressed in a Western attire as they are constantly surrounded by the wild African environment.

Indian. Woman. Storyteller.

Home…in past tense? by Bix Gabriel


When I was growing up Hyderabad had a bad reputation. People who were from there or had some cultural attributes were not as good as other Indians. No one ever came out and said that, it was just something that I knew. I came to college not really giving that a second thought. I didn’t think people from Hyderabad were bad, I just didn’t challenge the notion that they weren’t any good. All I knew was that I loved Hyderabadi Biryani.

This piece resonated with me because I loved seeing pictures of India and learning more about the South Indian culture. Being half-Indian myself, I love anything to do with India…no matter what region. I found her story to be rather engaging and I thought her quote about her house back in Hyderabad being "a musum about growing up," and her before and after photos of Hyderabad to be poignant reminders of capitalism and globalization.

Continue reading "Indian. Woman. Storyteller." »

February 25, 2008

Digital Storytelling


I absolutely love this story because of its simplicity. The author, Sally Davies, uses snapshots of herself, both "good" and "bad" layered over her own narrative. She is a Welsh woman who gives us just enough personal information that it is her story but not enough that it is not translate-able to anyone who watches the clip. Her story is about how she looses the ability to "smile naturally" and how she finds moments (usually inspired by alcohol) that the natural smile resurfaces. (It also made me think of my mother, who also does not like the way she smiles in pictures : ) ).


This second digital storytelling is about (how cheesy) true love. It is authored by Carol Bolton. It tells the story of meeting her first love, their first date and how they fell in love. It also talks about the years that interviened, the marriages (to others at first, then to each other) that interviened and the "Magnetic Attraction" they still felt when they reunited. Bolton uses snapshots of flowers as well as flowery rhetoric (love bloomed, etc), "borrowed images," hand drawn images, as well as snapshots of the two. She layers music and her voice over these images to produce her story.

February 24, 2008




Fever Dream lacks a couple of the elements that we've been looking at, but it works for how simple an idea it is. I don't think the story here is so much about what he's saying, because he has a fever and his ideas are pretty sporadic. (That is one of the things I related to, I think I often talk that way) I think the story is more about him through what he says, rather than about what he is saying. Daniel Liss I believe is the creator of all the videos on this site. Through his other videos and comments about them I think he is popular for making urban life poetic and thoughtful with his observations and videos. In this one he simply uses video, voice over, and music very effectively to say what's on his mind.

Continue reading "DIGITAL STORYTELLING" »

February 23, 2008

digital storytelling


Sunita & Anita, HIV+ women in India Tell their story

this vlog is a story of 2 real women in india finding out that they are HIV+ and having to deal with the consequences. it is very sad, especially because they feel their lives are destoyed, by husbands/arranged marriages, and they do not know who they can confide in.

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February 19, 2008

Course Blog Post Assignment: Digital Storytellers [and Videobloggers]

What makes a good story? Read about stories on iRoom Stories

This week you'll be viewing digital stories [and videoblogs]. Start at the suggested links on this blog (on the right sidebar), in the Week 5 folder of our WebVista site, and in the Digital Storytelling reading for this week (excerpt 2, Appendix C "Web Resources for Digital Storytelling"), and follow the links to whatever interests you.

Post links to at least two of your favorites. For each post an image (and/or pull image grabs of your favorite images), and link to the original piece.

For each write a short reflection (about 100-150 words) for each piece you've selected. Consider:
1- the context (where the story was created, or anything you know about the maker)
2- the content
3- the form of the piece
4 - why this is a "good" story (read: why/how this piece engages you, draws you in, why you like it...)

Post by NOON on Tuesday, 2/27.

+ + + + Rachel's Example + + + +


untitled by Kevin West is a really powerful digital story. Kevin is a transguy who lives in Santa Cruz, California. The piece tells his story of being a queer youth trapped in the juvenile (in)justice system, until a social worker who understands GLBTQ issues helped him. In the piece he uses personal photos, "borrowed images", graphic elements (like texts), motion graphics to edit the pieces together. The music (a drum beat helps to build the rhythm of the piece. The story is structured by Kevin's story, told in a voice over.

I chose to share this digital story because I really like Kevin's honesty. He speaks in a clear, engaging and honest way about his life. He's telling us an emotional story without the boo-hoo sobs (whoa is me stuff), but with clarity. I like that he uses the piece as a way to thank the social worker who helped him change the course of his life.