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We previously wrote about the 5 Essential Elements Your Digital Storytelling Strategy Should Include. Today we’ll be sharing with you on how to get started on your digital story.

Before we get started, let’s recap what digital storytelling is about.

Digital storytelling describes a simple, creative process through which people with little or no experience in computer film-making gain skills needed to tell a personal story as a two-minute film using predominantly still images and voiceover. These films can then be streamed on the web or broadcast on television.

A digital storyteller can be anyone who has a desire to document life experience, ideas, or feelings through the use of story and digital media. Usually, it is someone with little experience in video production but with time to spend a few days attending a workshop and developing a story with creative support and technical assistance from compassionate, experienced facilitators.

The uses of digital storytelling range from a means to express creativity, to a research method for local health issues or a means of preserving a community’s identity and a form of oral history. As a method, digital storytelling combines techniques to develop literacy and storytelling skills with an introduction to basic Information and Communication Technology (ICT), using group exercises and individual processes that develop confidence and build self-esteem.

On the surface, these digital stories are all singular, personal audio-visual accounts of an individual’s story, yet the making of them is shaped by the collaborative experience in the workshop. Each story shows how someone envisages their place in a personal and a public world.

Now, let’s dive into the 7 steps to create a great digital story.



1) Start with an Idea

All stories begin with an idea, and digital stories are no different. Digital stories might be fiction or non-fiction. Once you have an idea, make it concrete: write a proposal, craft a paragraph, draw a mind-map, or use any other pre-writing tool.



2) Research/Explore/Learn

Whether writing a fiction or nonfiction digital story, you need to research, explore or learn about the topic in order to create a base of information on which the story will be built. During this process, you will learn both about validating information and information bias as they delve deeper into a topic.

At this stage, the organization is very important. You can use mind-mapping to help keep track of information. Outlines, index cards, and online note-taking tools all work as well. If you can organize your information digitally, then it makes the next steps much easier.



3) Write/Script

When you are trying to write, there is nothing worse than a blank sheet of paper. That’s why we strongly encourage the two pre-writing steps above. If you have a proposal, with a little bit of editing, it can become the introduction. If you researched and explored a topic well, the body of the script should fall into place like a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces are already there, you just need to make them fit.



4) Storyboard/Plan

Good stories start with a good script, but they don’t end there. This is where we transition into visual media literacies. Storyboarding is the first step towards understanding sound and images. It is the plan or blueprint that will guide decision making about images, video and sound. Simple storyboards will just have room for images/video and the script. More advanced ones might even include room for transitions and background music.



5) Gather and Create Images, Audio and Video

This is the “stuff” that makes magic happen and writing comes alive. Using your storyboard as a guide, you can gather or create images, audio and video. Everything you choose will impact and set the tone for your digital story.

Introduce concepts such as visual hierarchy, tone, and illustration. This is also a great time to think about Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons.



6) Put It All Together

This is where the magic happens – where you discover if your storyboard needs tweaking and if you have enough “stuff” to create your masterpiece. You will find yourself revisiting and revising your storyboard.



7) Share

Your story is now ready for the world to see it. Sharing online has become deeply embedded in our culture, so we might as well embrace it.




Creating your own digital story can seem tough and overwhelming at first but with the right help, you can get started on the process and create a compelling and engaging story.

Check out our two-day course – Professional Certification in Digital Storytelling where you will learn:

  • The HOWs and WHYs of digital storytelling
  • Critical insights on how to script a compelling story
  • Entry and Intermediate level video production
  • The WHYs and HOW each video editing feature add a WOW to your story




What is digital storytelling?

8 Steps to Great Digital Storytelling