This post was written by Elisabeth Donnelly and Tímea Nick, a mentor-mentee pair in our Digital Media Mentoring Program.
We think this workshop was the best so far. With all the activities that we did around storytelling, we could see that the images, words, and sounds are related to each other in a way. The first example is the voice mail activity, which was a very creative idea and it was cleverly solved by Katie and Nyasiah. They did an interesting job using a mundane voicemail from a dude in order to tell a story about Julie (she was in the hospital/on vacation, so she wasn’t picking up her phone), the lady to whom he was leaving a message. It was an eye-opening way to find a story in the negative space.
The next activity, “Glues Write Now” was a great example how we can change a boring text, like moisturizer advertising, into a meaningful poem. Many people used the short story written by Donald Barthelme, “The Balloon” and they created a poem about balloons and feelings. We had moisturizer advertising copy, so we had to make something meaningful from word-mush about Greek and Roman empires, combination skin, and oil. Timi did a good job with it. Elisabeth failed, on the other hand.
The most exciting part of the workshop was when we had to write a story with other people in “Free To Be You and Me” by passing our words to another person who had to add her words and fantasy to our story. The outcome of the activity was funny, as we could see how other people changed our story to a completely different genre from what we planned. One of our stories was about finding a fish, and it became a terribly great yarn about the legendary Walker the Fishy Ranger who could walk on land! Our other story was an emotional tale about a lonely girl in the midwest, that ended with some funny definitions of midwestern terms. Apparently, fun Friday nights are also known as “cow-tipping.” Who knew?
When we moved to the other building, one of the main points that we have to mention is that the food was very delicious. Bagels are awesome. On the other hand, when we were seated in the editing room, it started to get more serious. Editing is part of something visual and not like writing our thoughts out. It was a real challenge for those who have never worked with an editing software before (like Elisabeth, unlike Timi). We made New York movies using footage of the Brooklyn Bridge, busy streets, taxicabs, buses, buildings, and fast-walking people. We put parts of the clips together, we added transitions — when it would look like the film “faded out” and “faded in” to the next shot — we added opening credits, and we added a great audio track of jaunty music to score our video. It was fun. We are the next great filmmakers. Or maybe Timi is, as Elisabeth had a cold and started coughing a lot and got lost during the presentation and Timi held her hand and let her know how to use Adobe Premiere Pro.
We liked the writing activity “Free To Be You And Me” so much, we used the same technique to write our blog post. So then both of our thoughts and writing style could be added to it and made a whole piece. It’s a little bit like the exquisite corpse game that we’ve played at our meetings, but instead of writing a random story, since we can see the words, we can make things relate to each other and be, again, a whole. It’s a nice process to see how stories come together.