Recent Posts

Finding Your Story’s Ending

I watch a lot of Hollywood and independent films, and what I’ve come to notice is that way too often writers and/or directors don’t offer endings that match the quality of the rest of the film. Don’t get me wrong. There are many different ways to effectively bring a film to a close. Sometimes the narrative is an exploration of uncertainty or unfairness or despair and then offer an open-ended closing. And of course, there are…

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Kitchens (Prompt)

The kitchen. I remember being young enough not to be able to see over the counter. Countertops were a plane of existence that only adults (and my stupid older brother) were allowed to make part of their everyday lives. I wouldn’t exactly call them mythical, but they were certainly part of a world only accessible to most everyone else in my life. But I grew taller, and my universe expanded to encompass the banality of…

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Finding Your Story’s Beginning

Once you’ve started to get a sense for what your story is really about, you can start thinking about how you’re going to structure it. You might opt for a linear narrative that begins somewhere and ends somewhere later. You might find that you need to create one scene and then move to a second. You might find that you need to create a flashback scene within a framing scene. You might discover that your…

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Six Microphones for Storytellers

In a previous post (“Choosing a Microphone for Storytelling“), I offered some factors storytellers should consider when deciding which mic they’re going to use. That background covered, we can now get to the good stuff: the microphones themselves. I’m going to try to keep it simple. (Don’t laugh.) I’m going to recommend seven different microphones, along with comments for each. My criteria consist of sound quality, build quality, ease of use, versatility, and value. When…

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Finding the Heart of Your Story

When I’m thinking about trying to locate the heart of my story, I think of it as a “nugget.” I use this term all the time, but now that I’m stopping to think about it, I guess it’s a metaphor about digging for gold–which seems pretty apt. But “prospecting” actually gets closer. And it’s not about digging a hole, but the pile of earth you’re creating beside the hole. Now I’m taking the metaphor too…

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Thumbnail for "Zoom H5 Tutorial: Recording with External Mics" tutorial.

Zoom H5 Tutorial – Recording with External Mics

This tutorial walks you through the steps for recording your story’s narration using the Zoom H5 portable recorder with external microphones. If you would prefer to record with the H5, but using external microphones, check out this tutorial: “Zoom H5 Tutorial: Recording with Onboard Mics.” If you’re thinking about purchasing a new microphone for your recordings, you might want to check out this post: “Choosing a Microphone to Record Your Narration.” If you’re hesitant about…

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Listening To Your Story

Now that you’ve got yourself a nice, long draft, go back and read it. Really read it. Maybe even aloud. And listen. (At some point I’m going to write a definitive post about why listening is a storyteller’s most crucial skill. Just you wait.) Don’t worry about all the stuff that isn’t working or that you already know is going to get cut. Read it and listen. Read it slowly. One sentence at a time….

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Five Great Stories from StoryCenter’s YouTube Channel

For more than twenty years, StoryCenter has been helping individual storytellers tell their own personal stories. Thousands of people. They have hundreds of these stories posted on their YouTube channel, but that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the thousands of stories populating their archives. I love SO MANY of the stories on their channel, but I’m only including five here. And no, it’s not a top-five list in any way. I’m sure…

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Drafting Long

Usually, I start the process with a stream of consciousness narrative trying to describe a particular moment in my story. It might be the opening moment. It might be one of a couple of different moments I’m trying to reconcile in my head. I try to focus on concrete details as much as possible. What was I wearing? Which room was I in? What could I smell in the house? What was the weather like…

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Writing Your Script

Writing a script for your digital story is easy. Writing a good script is harder. And writing a great script built to work with specific images and audio elements can get downright complicated. If you want to write a great digital story script, my best advice is to accept that your story isn’t going to be very good right away. It doesn’t mean that you’re a lousy writer. Instead, it means that you’re writing. That…

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