Rainbow Family Tree

tell your story - change the world!

Hi RFT Clanspeople,

Sonja asked me to jot down a few thoughts about what it's like to be working on a digital story. I've made several now, and they fall into 2 categories - completely personal stories that I make about my son, and the more politically motivated, serious sort. 


I use Windows Live MovieMaker and I am still learning what it's capable of. So technically, it's quite fun and frustrating at the same time. The more stories I make, the more ambitious I become. This feeds the frustration. However, the more experience I gain, the better I get at asking the right questions of the program, and finding solutions.


It's most recently that I started trying to use film footage as well as still photographs and pictures. I'm finding the soundtrack a very difficult proposition, especially because in film the sound is attached, whether I want it to be or not. But if I slow the film down the sound disappears. As I said, tricky.


Another technical thing that I am struggling with is using Word to create pictures for my stories. I have a computer from work, and although the programs are updated, I find some of the latest versions quite unwieldy. I am nostalgic for the versions that went before, both MovieMaker and Word, which I found much more flexible. But perhaps it's because I am using a work computer that there are so many defaults and pre-sets that make my creative process difficult?


As I gain more experience, I find myself able to think and conceptualise that story as a whole much better than I used to. I feel like I have more power and more choice over how my message is put across, and that distances me somewhat from the centrality of the personal story. I find myself drafting the images and the text many times, just to work through the material that I am thinking about, but the final product is more selective than it used to be. I think in the early days I really had no idea of the fact that what I was making was so very very personal, and exposed others in my life - not just me.


I'm in the middle of making a new digital story at the moment. I find it difficult to work on it unless I am alone. It's one of those cringe factor things - I don't want anyone to see it until I feel it's "right" enough, and I need uninterrupted and dedicated space to be alone and explore the creative process. It's really frustrating to have to stop and start and sneak around to work on it in the periphery of my life, but I hope eventually I will finish it and then be ready to show it to other people.


For most of my life I've found writing (indirect) a much easier form of communication than speaking (direct). And with digital stories my indirect communicative voice has become even stronger. This is a problem, because while a lot of the time I am simply expressing myself, when my voice is very strong, it can seem that I have stronger feelings about issues than I actually do. But it's a fascinating aspect of digital stories that their audience is self-determinate. It's not up to me to manipulate how my stories are received; I have little control over other people's reactions. But that makes it a scary proposition to create a digital story and then open it up to others.


Can anyone relate to any of these scattered thoughts? How are you managing the emotional rollercoaster? Do you feel you have a lot of control over what you are creating?


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Comment by Rainbow Family Tree on July 19, 2011 at 5:14
Hi Melina... I definitely can personally relate to the sense of exposure and vulnerabilty that you describe in the creation stage... and then I feel it again when I send it out into the big wide world. And while I know I have little control over how people respond to it I do notice myself trying to influence their response with the words I use, the pictures I choose and the music that inflects it all with emotion... I think it's the combination of rawness and multi-media storytelling that can make them so influential as a form... I still want to reflect upon your post more and comment further later if that's OK?

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