This semester’s Art Therapy Studio class I’m teaching again for Ursuline College’s Art Therapy and Counseling Program is quickly winding down. Our time together over the last few months has been another series of artful Saturday morning gatherings! It’s a pleasure seeing students take time to create their own art and strengthen the important role of personal creative practice as artists and soon to be art therapists.
One of the requirements of the class, even before I started teaching the course has included students telling their “Art Story” through the media of digital storytelling (DST). This assignment provides students an opportunity to use (and learn!) digital video making and create a creative piece of work reflective of their identity as an artist.
According to Lasica, (2006) “Digital storytelling is a craft that uses the tools of digital technology to tell stories about our lives…. and can be a powerful, evocative, and emotional way of communicating themes and stories, often touching us in deeper ways than one-dimensional videos…”
The final videos and stories that students reveal in class are always delightful, inspiring, and grateful to view. Here are a couple of videos (shared with permission!- thank you!) created by students in this semester’s course about their journey as an artist:
Want to tell your Art Story? Using tips from this TechSoup tutorial, I recommend these steps and considerations to help guide students in the process of putting their stories together:
- Step 1: What is your Art Story? I encourage students to brainstorm ideas about the story they want to tell about their journey as an artist, which will include showcasing their art work through the years.
- Step 2: Collect materials to help tell your story– This can include images relevant to the art story you want to tell that is inspired by memories, creative milestones, keepsakes, and meaningful items, objects, and photographs. Art expressions and work can span from childhood, undergraduate, graduate, and also include historical pieces and periods of art or travels that have influenced this journey.
- Step 3: Draft your narrative/script for voice over– Start working on what the voice narrative of the story will be in association with the images and visual content chosen. The story should have a beginning, middle, and an end. It is normal to be anxious about adding and hearing ones voice as part of the story, but it is important to have confidence in the words you speak. The inclusion of ones voice I believe is an important element to telling and claiming the story as your own in an authentic and natural tone. Reading your script to a friend or classmate for feedback can also be helpful.
- Step 4: Prepare equipment– You’ll need access to a computer, laptop, or tablet that you can use movie making applications, such as iMovie (for Macs) or a program such as Windows Movie Maker Live (for PCs). Basic movie making programs are often already installed on many computers or can be easily downloaded for free. Newer computers often have a built in mic that you’ll need for the voiceover. Other equipment that will come in handy includes a scanner and a camera to capture your art in digital form.
- Step 5: Try storyboard planning – The TechSoup tutorial recommends creating a storyboard with index cards to plan out what happens in your story and in what order. Using index cards makes it easy to move the sequencing of content around as you work on matching the visual material you’ll be using with your voice over script.
- Step 6: Digitize material & media– This often involves scanning or digitally photographing art and images you will be using in your story, as well as cropping and sizing them appropriately. If you have art photographed on slides, some scanners have special attachments for converting them into digital form or your local photo developing store often can help.
- Step 7: Record your voice over– Find a quiet and interruption free space to record the voice narrative of your story in natural, conversational voice that is clear and easy to hear.
- Step 8: Add music– The addition of music will often inspire the emotional feel and rhythm of your story. Music that is without vocals and instrumental in nature works well. I recommend that students explore the site Free Play Music to find a genre or type of music that fits for their story.
- Step 9: Edit, Add transitions & effects – For this assignment, students have the challenge of making sure their digistory is between 1 1/2 – 3 minutes, which I think is a good size. During this step, all the content (visuals, voiceover, music) start to come together in the movie making program. It’s also a good time to start adding transitions and effects between frames, as well as titles or text overlays.
- Step 10: Share – It’s time to produce! Saving or exporting your movie project into a video form (often a m4v, mp4, or wlmv, wmv) will make it easy to share with others on video sites such as YouTube or Vimeo. Often raw movie files are very large and difficult to send through e-mail, but can be saved on USBs or dropboxes for easy archiving.
Some other resources:
- Creating Digital Stories | AATA Technology Committee Blog
- Tips for Digital Storytelling
- Center for Digital Storytelling
- Windows Movie Maker Live Quick Tutorial [VIDEO]
- iMovie Tutorial – Introduction
- Digital Storytelling: A Tutorial in 10 Easy Steps | J.D. Lasica- TechSoup
What’s your Art Story? Where would it begin and what would you include to tell your story?