STORYTELLING HANDBOOK
Getting Started
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
This handbook will guide you in your intial decisions on how to tell the stories
of your community. What topic should you tackle? And how should you tell it?
Whether you decide to create a video or audio project, we’ve got you covered
with handbooks that go over the basic steps for any storytelling project. Be
sure to check them out once you’ve chosen a topic and medium.
CHOOSING A TOPIC
How to Choose a Topic
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CHOOSING A MEDIUM
Audio vs. Video
Should I Create a Tour?
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How to Choose a Topic
The topic of your project should be linked to the theme of the traveling
exhibition coming to your community. First, make sure you understand
the exhibition’s themes. Check MoMS website for complete details on the
CHOOSING A TOPIC
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Narrow your topic. Now that you have an idea of what assets are
available, make sure your topic is narrow enough to do it justice. For
instance, the topic of sports in your community is too large. Instead, narrow it
exhibition content: http://www.museumonmainstreet.org. Now it’s time to
down to one sport, or even better, one team. Having a narrow focus allows you
choose a topic.
to fully understand and convey the story of that topic.
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Find your interest. What interests you about this theme? It’s important
for you to be interested in the topic. Your enthusiasm for the topic will
help you convey the story to your intended audience in an engaging way.
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Decide your medium. Should your story be told in audio format
with images or should you use video? Can you weave your narrative
with only words and sounds, or do you need b-roll footage and other moving
images? Think about your audience, your resources, and your interests as you
Brainstorm. Taking as much time as you need, write down the themes
decide.
in the exhibition that interest you. Which ones have the strongest
connection to your community? How do they connect to a larger national topic
or history?
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Determine your audience. Who is your intended audience? Identifying
your audience will help narrow down which themes will work best for
that audience, determine how you should frame your story and what medium
might be best to convey the story.
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Ensure you have the access to the elements you need. Once
you have a theme that works with your interests and audience, do a
quick preliminary search for research sources, images, interviewees, archival
video, old newspapers, and more, to ensure you will have enough content to
complete your project.
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Audio vs. Video
CHOOSING A MEDIUM
Choosing which medium to use for your finished product could be one of
Visuals
the hardest choices you will make for this project. Below are a few things to
When done well, audio-only content can be dynamic and engaging, but it can’t
consider while you are debating between an audio project or a video project.
show users the story the way video can. Instead of spending time describing
Usability
something in order to discuss it, video allows you to simply “show and tell.”
A person, concept, place, or thing can be brought more clearly to life as the
Audio is one of the most easily consumed media in various environments. You
audience can see those things. If you plan to do a lot of interviews, perhaps
can listen to audio while doing almost any activity. You don’t have to be staring
video would be best as video interviews can be more engaging than sound
at a screen. Watching video requires a lot more attention than audio. You need
alone, and can convey other information like body langauge and expressions.
to have access to a screen and dedicate your time soley to watching the video.
Cost
Flexibility
When you are recording for a video project, you are also reqcording high
Because you need less equipment, it is less expensive to record audio than
quality audio. You can always use that audio to create an audio-only project,
video.
but you can’t do the same if you are only recording audio.
Time
Purpose of the Content
You only need to be concerned with sound elements for your final project, not
Ultimately, the biggest question to ask yourself as you plan this project, is what
visual elements, so it takes less time to record and edit the final project. When
is the goal of the project? Which medium will help you meet that goal?
shooting for a video project, you are dealing with more equipment and have to
worry about the visual as well as the audio elements of your project. Therefore
Special Consideration
it takes more time to record and edit a video project.
If you intend to create a mobile tour for your community, then think about the
Complexity
fact that people will be walking around looking at their surroundings. You won’t
need video since the visual will be right in front of them.
Recording and editing video is a more complicated than audio with color
correction, composition, video codecs, resolutions, frame rates, and more.
Data Management
Video files are large. Video projects are more challenging for data management
than audio because they require more storage space than audio files.
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Should I Create a Tour?
CHOOSING A MEDIUM
According to Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds of Americans are
Tours consist of:
now smartphone owners. When visitors come to your town, they will likely
Tourist attractions or locations. The stops or stories on the tour. They
use their phones to navigate – finding places to stay, to eat, and things to do.
contain any or all of the following:
Think about turning your project into a mobile tour that visitors and local alike
can use to explore and learn about your town.
A tour is a group of 10-15 stories connected by a common theme. A typical stop
on a tour is between 1-3 minutes. Using the free mobile app, izi.TRAVEL, you
can create and publish geolocated content (content placed virtually in real life
locations). The audio and video stories or tour stops can include walking and
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Geographic coordinates
A text description
Audio story about the location
One or more photographs
Video about the location (optional)
Quiz question (optional)
driving directions as well as text and images. As the user moves around the
Tour route. The best path to take in order to view each of the attractions on
town, stories are triggered to automatically play at their relevant locations.
the tour. The users see this route via their mobile application and follow it.
Things to think about when considering a tour:
Navigational information. The audio hints designed to give the user
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Are there physical locations connected to the historic and cultural
directions at confusing points on the journey to different stops. It, like the
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stories you intend to create?
locations, have a trigger-zone to cause it to automatically start playing at the
Will you have more than one story or several story segments, so you
point it’s needed.
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Will your content be an appropriate length for a walking or driving
What if I only have one story?
tour? typical tour stops are between 1-3 minutes. Shorter is better.
If you only have one story, but you still want people to be able to hear it as they
Will your content be in an appropriate format for a walking or driving
explore your town, you can add it to the izi.TRAVEL app as a stand-alone stop.
tour? Audio is best for a mobile tour, though you can also use videos.
The app has a “free walking mode” that users can turn on, so they can run into
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can create several connected stops?
all the geolocated content in the town without having to follow a specific tour.
If you decide to create a tour, your completed stories will be location based.
This includes any stand-alone stops that you create.
Keep those locations in mind as you plan and create your story projects. Also,
remember that people will be likely be standing when listening to your stories -
Check out examples on the izi.TRAVEL app or website, like “Eubie Blake’s Ragtime
be kind to their feet and keep the stories short.
Riffs” or “Station North Arts & Entertainment District” from Baltimore.
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