Recent Posts

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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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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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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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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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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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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Editing Ruthlessly

As you’ve been working on your draft, you’ve probably noticed several sections that clearly aren’t going to make it into the final version of your script. Those will be the easy pieces to get rid of. As you do so, it’s probably a good idea to have a separate working document open where you can dump those pieces in case they might become the kernel of another story you end up working on later. Even…

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Getting Feedback On Your Story

This post is the penultimate entry in this series, but that doesn’t mean it should only happen at the end of your process. Instead, it’s probably best to think of getting feedback as much as you can along the way. Some storytellers even seek out feedback before they start their drafting process, sometimes talking through their story with one or more people while they’re still trying to figure out what their story is going to…

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Building Your Own Process

It’s important to keep in mind—when you’re reading the posts in this series—that this is just one way of approaching the drafting process. There are so many others. Casually browse the library’s shelves for advice about the writing process, and you might start to think that there are as many different approaches to writing as there are writers. I wouldn’t disagree. I hope you find some useful bits of advice here and they end up…

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Improving Your Photography: Some Online Resources

The physical components of almost any digital story are these: narration, score, images, and movement. As you improve as a storyteller, I think it’s important to sometimes isolate one of these components and hone your skills for the sake of that particular skill. One of your most readily available media elements is the collection of photographs you already have. But no matter how extensive that collection might be, there will come a time when you…

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