Digital Storytelling

Resources, Tools, Information, and more.

Digital Storytelling

Digital storytelling, as pioneered by Joe Lambert, his wife Nina Mullen, and colleague Dana Atchley, began as short, first-person video-narratives created by combining recorded voice, still and moving images, and music or other sounds. Digital storytellers are anyone with a desire to document life experience, ideas, or feelings through the use of story and digital media. Digital storytelling now incorporates many more media forms and practices. These are resources for the courses I teach and my own creative practices. Use the "Quick Links" menu below to access subject areas.

Comics and Graphic Novels

See the separate resource for Comics and Graphic Novels.

Digital Storytelling Components

BrandJuice. A Whiteboard History of Storytelling
40,000 years of storytelling in 4 minutes; illustrates the power of video to enhance storytelling.

Narrative Structures
This website, maintained by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides great examples of different types of narrative structures including dramatic arc, Kishõtenketsu, hero's journey, Hollywood, and Robleto.

Story Structure: Parts of the Narrative
This video provides in depth information about narrative (story) structure including exposition (beginning/setup), rising action, climax, falling action, and denouement (resolution).

Copyright and Creative Commons

See the separate resource for Copyright, and left.

EXtended Reality

Augmented Reality. Virtual Reality. What's the difference? Does it make a difference? You say augmented. I say virtual. They both EXtend what we believe to be reality.

Augmented Reality

The practice of connecting digital content to the physical world. Augmented Reality (AR) is used for educational, informational, and commercial efforts. Often the boundaries are blurred. Still, AR provides a unique way for people to interact with the world.

The New Digital Storytelling: Creating Narratives With New Media
Bryan Alexander
Interesting overview and useful resources.

Broadcast AR video
produced for broadcast on the National Geographic channel
provides an interesting introduction to live interaction with AR.

Future Stories for a free download of "SnapDragonAR," an augmented reality program

Mapping Ararat: An Imaginary Jewish Homelands Project
Utilizes augmented reality (AR) to create a walking tour that envisions what would have happened if Mordecai Noah's 1825 plan to transform Grand Island, New York into a city of refuge had succeeded. Using mobile devices, tourists interact with Ararat artifacts and monuments created using 3D modeling software and inserted into the Grand Island landscape.

Keiichi Matsuda
In this film, Columbian design artist Matsuda explores the place where the physical and virtual worlds merge, and everything is saturated in media. In this place, virtual reality, augmented reality, wearables, and the internet of things are intertwined and envelop every aspect of our lives. Hyper-reality will be the glue between every interaction and experience, offering amazing possibilities, while also controlling the way we understand the world. Intriguing and scary.

Evaluation of Interaction Tools for Augmented Reality Based Digital Storytelling
Jun Park
Focuses on identifying "intuitive and easy-to-use interfaces and interaction methods to be used for manipulating virtual objects and scenes in AR applications."

Virtual Reality

The practice of creating new worlds, ways to be in them, ways to interact. All seem believable, and immersive.

A non-profit organization founded in 2003 to digitally record, archive, and share the world's cultural heritage for preservation and education. A lot of this work is undertaken in three dimensions and presented as virtual reality.

Future Storytelling

Some sources that will continue to drive the evolution of digital storytelling.

Alternate reality games, multiplayer online games, social gaming and the cultures surrounding each, all promoted by developments in digital technology, extend the capabilities of games, and add fun, social collaboration, interaction, and immersion to the mix.

Serial, fan, and multimedia culture
Fan cultures have always surrounded a good story, and in many instances, these fans have created their own versions of the stories, or added to the original stories with additional materials. Serial culture, in the form of print magazines and books have contributed to storytelling. Multimedia culture has promoted a tremendous opportunity for fans and others to participate in the creation and consumption of digital stories including websites, hypertext writing, video, animation, radio, and television.

Electronic Literature
The Electronic Literature Organization
Established in 1999 to promote and facilitate the writing, publishing, and reading of electronic literature. The term "electronic literature" refers to works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer. Within the broad category of electronic literature are several forms and threads of practice.
◊ Hypertext fiction and poetry, on and off the Web
◊ Kinetic poetry
◊ Computer art installations with literary aspects
◊ Conversational characters, also known as chatterbots
◊ Interactive fiction
◊ Novels that take the form of emails, SMS messages, or blogs
◊ Poems and stories generated by computers, either interactively or based on parameters given at the beginning
◊ Collaborative writing projects that allow readers to contribute to the text of a work
◊ Literary performances online that develop new ways of writing

Games and Storytelling

See separate resource for Digital Games. See below for general information about games and interactive storytelling.

The earliest games were perhaps developed to prepare peoples for success in hunting or warfare. Often these games were conducted as competitions between opposing teams of players. Later, board games were developed to provide training in strategy and diplomatic skills. Alternate reality games, multiplayer online games, social gaming and the cultures surrounding each, all promoted by developments in digital technology, carry forward these original purposes of games, and add fun, social collaboration, interaction, and immersion to the mix. We can point to many elements from these different types of games as the sources for the gameplay components of digital storytelling, including
◊ Drama and excitement
◊ Action
◊ Competition, often intense
◊ Demanding of physical and mental skills
◊ Regulated by rules
◊ Structures for beginning and ending
◊ Clearly-defined goals or objectives; succeed at winning; avoid losing

Example Online, Interactive Games

Myst Online
The graphic video adventure game Myst was first released 24 September 1993 and quickly immersed players in its fictional world. Hoping to build on this success, brothers Rand and Robyn Miller (Cyan; Mead, Washington) created a massive online multiplayer game, Uru, which was canceled and restarted several times. This is the current iteration and it speaks to the idea of immersive, interactive experiences promoted by digital media that we will investigate in this course.

Seltani: An Introduction (2013) is an interactive (collaborative, social) fiction narrative/game with the look and feel of Myst Online. This is a transcript from a talk at Mysterium, August 2013.

Damsel in Distress: Part 1—Tropes vs. Women in Video Games

Montfort, Nick and Emily Short. Interactive Fiction Communities From Preservation through Promotion and Beyond. Dichtung Digital 41 9 November 2012.

Montfort, Nick. Riddle Machines: The History and Nature of Interactive Fiction. In A Companion to Digital Literary Studies, Eds. Ray Siemens and Susan. Schreibman. Oxford: Blackwell. 2007. 267-282.

Montfort, Nick. Twisty Little Passages. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 2003.

Nelson, Graham. (2001). A Short History of Interactive Fiction. Inform Designer's Manual 46. 4th ed. St. Charles, IL: IF Library.

Nepstad, Peter. (2012). 1893—Bringing a Real Setting to Life in Interactive Fiction. The Illuminated Lantern.

The Nokia Games
(1995-2005) A series of alternate reality games designed primarily to promote the latest Nokia mobile telephones, involved communication between players through various forms of mass media and featured storylines that changed each year. Each game lasted 3-4 weeks.

Uncle Roy All Around You
(2003; Blast Theory). A game played online in a virtual city and on the streets of an actual city. Online and street players collaborate to find Uncle Roy's office before being invited to make a year-long commitment to a total stranger. Building on Can You See Me Now? (2001; Blast Theory), Uncle Roy investigates some of the social changes brought about by ubiquitous mobile devices, persistent access to a network, and location aware technologies.

Hypertext Storytelling

The hypertext approach to digital storytelling uses the ability to link between discrete units of information ("chunks") to provide multiple pathways through a narrative. Linked text is called "hypertext." In addition to facilitating easier access to the information, a hypertext digital story allows storytellers to experiment with non-linear narrative and users to enjoy different experiences each time they engage the narrative. Many pioneering works of electronic literature used this feature to promote more active reader involvement with the text.

For a brief overview of early hypertext fiction read The American Hypertext Novel and Whatever Became of It? by Scott Rettberg. Some questions asked by Rettberg that help us think through some of the issues we encounter when writing fiction for an online environment include . . .
◊ How does the network function as a writing technology? ◊ What are some of the material differences between the technology of the book and the technology of the network, and how do these differences affect the form of writing produced for the network? ◊ What effects does the location of electronic literature on the global network have on reading practices?

Pioneering Works

Bush, Vannevar. As We May Think. (especially sections 6-8).
First published in Atlantic Monthly (vol. 176, no. 1, July 1945, pp. 101-108), this essay by Vannevar Bush, then Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development and responsible for coordinating the World War II efforts of some 6,000 scientists, proposed "MEMEX" (MEMory EXtender), a machine that would store and provide access to a large amount of information. Use of the memex would create a series of trails between the documents, personal notes, photographs, and diagrams and allow one to develop knowledge from such a collection of information. A pioneering work for for current day considerations of hypertext, Bush's discussion of the MEMEX (see section 6 of his essay) might also be seen as outlining hypertext, browsing via hyperlinks, and a genre of digital storytelling.

Memex animation—Vannevar Bush's diagrams made real
This short video demonstrates the process behind Bush's MEMEX, or MEMory EXtender.

Nelson, Tom. The Xanadu Project
Nelson subtitled this "An Overview on 'The Future of Information'." First conceived in 1960, Nelson used this work to build on Vannevar Bush's idea of "trails" between information nodes. Nelson called them "links."


Hypercities Project
(2009). "A collaborative research and educational platform for traveling back in time to explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment."

Johnson, Steven. Why No One Clicked On The Great Hypertext Story. Wired 16 April 2013.
A work of hypertext writing in which the author argues such writing is very difficult to do well, and, that people explore a hypertext story, not read it.

Joyce, Michael. Twelve Blue (1996).
A classic, pioneering work of hypertext electronic literature.

Swiss, Thom. "Shy Boy"
Another pioneering work of hypertext electronic literature.

Donna Leishman. "Red Riding Hood"
Another pioneering work of hypertext electronic literature.

Image and Storytelling

Free Creative Commons Images
Over one million images and videos
Beautiful, free photos

Kids Guide to Making Movies
Movie making basics for someone just getting started, young or old. Suggested by Abby Zimri, who dreams of becoming a movie maker when she grows up.

One Button Studio
Create high-quality video projects, including automated and streamlined video recording, with your flash drive and a one-push button.

Man with a Movie Camera
1929; full length; original silent version.

Man with a Movie Camera
Full length; with sound; Alloy Orchestra version

Man with a Movie Camera
A participatory global remix. People worldwide record images interpreting the original script; with soundtrack; everyday a new version of the film is compiled using images uploaded to the site.

Design and/or Visualization

See the separate resource for Information Design.

Interactive Storytelling

With interactive narrative the reader interacts directly with the story, influencing its narrative outcome(s). The reader becomes a participant, an interactor. Examples / prototypes can be found in games, radio programs, location-aware applications, and museums.

(2014) by Dene Grigar and Greg Philbrook. An interactive, multimedia poem about one man's encounter with the forces of nature.

YouTube video demonstration of the London Museum Streetmuseum iPhone app

A BBC London television report on the Streetmuseum iPhone app, with demonstrations.

Mapping the Rise of Craft Beer

Malloy, Judy. The Roar of Destiny
(1996, 2016) An electronic manuscript constructed with hundreds of carefully crafted, intertwined lexias, accessible through interactivity, which Malloy defines in her writer's notebook. "Interspersed throughout are lexias with audio readings, a practice that began in 2014 when John Barber invited me to contribute sound to radioELO. . . . More readings will continue to be added."—Judy Malloy
The Roar of Destiny-Twentieth Anniversary Version
The Roar of Destiny-Archival copy available at The Well website

The Five Mysteries Program
one of the few interactive radio shows

Ellery Queen's Minute Mysteries
During the 1970s, this syndicated radio filler began with an announcer saying, "This is Ellery Queen..." and then outlining a case in one minute. The radio station encouraged callers to solve the mystery and win a sponsor's prize. Once they had a winner, the solution part of the spot would be played as confirmation.

Radio Event No. 3: Furniture Mix
(50:59; 20 November 1969) dance choreographer and intermedia artist Anna Halprin leads the audience listening to KPFA radio (San Francisco) in a participatory event where they rearrange their home furniture in time to the music played during the radio program and then visualize a fantasy that occurred to them during the process. Audience members were included to call the station and share their fantasies, which were included in the program's conclusion. This was one of several audience participation programs where artists were given time to create situations that physically involved the listening audience.

Simon, Nina. The Participatory Museum
Simon is a museum director and former design consultant. Her book is a practical guide to working with community members and visitors to make cultural institutions more dynamic, relevant, essential places through participation. Think about it. Museums are interfaces for all the stories that might be told by the artifacts curated within. Simon's ideas can translate easily to digital storytelling. READ for free online.

Locative Storytelling

Locative storytelling (AKA location aware narratives) generally focus on a specific location, real, virtual, or a combination of both. Participants can move around the space(s) and interact with digital narrative elements, and each other, using mobile communication devices, to explore different storytelling techniques, or deep, rich content.

7 Things You Should Know about Location Aware Applications. Educause Learning Initiative, March 2009.

Barber, John. Walking-talking: Soundscapes, flâneurs, and the creation of mobile media narratives. This is a chapter. In J. Farman (Ed.). The Mobile Story: Narrative Practices with Locative Technologies. Jason Farman, ed. New York: Routledge. 2013. 95-109.

Boyle, Jan E. Re-moving Flat Ontologies: Mobile Locative Tagging and Ars Combinatoria in the Hollins Community Project. Proceedings of the Digital Arts and Culture Conference 2009. University of California, Irvine, 12-15 December 2009.

Center for Locative Media

A web and mobile app framework for publishing location-based content using the Omeka content management system. Wide-ranging functionality including the following: content geolocated on a map (or tied to the organization of your museum/gallery), tours, search and browsing functionality, layered multimedia, social media, analytics for web and mobile, and more. Conceptually, Curatescape emphasizes storytelling, rather than the display of single archival objects, the default approach for so many mobile apps. A story can be told broadly, in many ways, from the historical to environmental, from the literary to the architectural, or using any approach that builds meaning through evoking context, place, or identity. Good storytelling, then, builds context through text, images, and multimedia, and is fundamental to humanities interpretation. The information architecture of Curatescape is built with this approach in mind. LEARN more.

Dekker, Annet and Virtuell Platform. New Ways of Seeing: Artistic Usage of Locative Media. Proceedings of the Digital Arts and Culture Conference 2009. University of California, Irvine, 12-15 December 2009.

Hight, Jeremy. Narrative Archaeology. NewmediaFIX 22 May 2006.

Hight, Jeremy. Views from Above. Leonardo Electronic Almanac Vol. 14, 07-08, November 2006: 1-9.

Hight, Jeremy, Jeff Knowlton, and Naomi Spellman. 34 North, 118 West
A former industrial area in downtown Los Angeles, California, is turned into a locative narrative project. Imagine walking through an urban area surrounding the former Freight Depot with a tablet computer equipped with a GPS card and headphones. Physical maps are also available. GPS tracks your position in the neighborhood and triggers audio-visual narratives when you enter hot spots created by Hight, Knowlton, and Spellman. Physical elements/details at each location augment the narrative, providing metaphors and symbols for your interaction(s) with the characters and history of this place. By wandering about the area and evoking multiple narratives, many lost or forgotten, you can uncover the hidden history of this once thriving part of downtown Los Angeles. The streets, the buildings, the ghosts of former residents, all provide fragments that, taken together, provide a deep and rich narrative of this place. Learn more.

Hypercities Project
(2009). "A collaborative research and educational platform for traveling back in time to explore the historical layers of city spaces in an interactive, hypermedia environment."

LA Flood Project
(2010; Christy Dena, Jeremy Douglass, Juan B. Gutierrez, Jeremy Hight, Marc C. Marino, and Lisa Ann Tao). Positions the audience/user/narrator as the ellipses (. . .) the points between the narrative action: "Voices are being heard on cell phones . . .."

(2003). A digital storytelling initiative launched by The Canadian Fim Centre's New Media Lab, Toronto, Canada. The project involves integrating audio interviews into cellphone-based tours. Participants walk neighborhood streets, find signs with a telephone number and/or access code. If they dial the number and enter the access code they can listen to an audio narrative regarding the very spot where they are standing. The project has expanded to other cities worldwide.

Løvlie, Anders Sundnes. Flâneur, a walkthrough: Locative Literature as Participation and Play. Dichtung Digital 42 20 December 2012.

Oppegaard, Brett. Brett Oppegaard's Big List of Mobile Storytelling & Location-Awareness Technology Resources
Focusing on "storytelling technology that incorporates awareness of locative, spatial and contextual factors in mobile interactive environments (situations where people move around and interact with digital content as well as each other in a specific real-world space using mobile communication devices)"—or, mobile narrative on your cell phone—this website is not only interesting, but a gold mine of resources.

Digital Art+Culture: J Rock Teaching Blog
Information and examples of locative media

Rock Blog for more information and examples of locative media

Wood, Jeremy. Mowing Lawn
(2010). GPS artist Wood uses satellite navigation technology to compile a personal cartography of his relation to space and time while mowing his lawn.

Multimedia Storytelling

Pioneering examples of digital storytelling are short videos (2-3 minutes) combining narrated personal writing, photographic and other still images, and a musical soundtrack. Beyond this basic form, multimedia digital storytelling might include narrated slide shows, movement capture or tracking, live multimedia performances, locative media, DJing, electronic literature and/or multimedia books, web-based stories, interactive stories, hypertext, audio productions, narrative computer games, podcasting, video blogging, Internet radio and/or television, and digital graphic novels. These media might be used separately or in combination depending on the storyteller's purpose and skills.

Much of this pioneering work was led by StoryCenter, founded in 1994 by Joe Lambert, Dana Atchley, and Nina Mullen as San Francisco Digital Media Center. The three producers felt that people could create powerful personal stories using digital tools like computers, cameras, audio recorders, and digital media software. Moved to Berkeley in 1998 and renamed Center for Digital Storytelling. In 2015, the name changed again, to StoryCenter.

Branch, John. Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek
This article for the New York Times utilizes multimedia in such a way to set the standard for all future reporting and/or expository writing. See for yourself.

The Displaced: Introduction (Jake Silverstein, 5 November 2015). Published in The New York Times Magazine. Includes The Displaced, an 11-minute, 360-degree virtual reality film about three children—from Lebanon, Ukraine and South Sudan— torn from their homes by war. Virtual reality gives a sense of immersion, of being present in distant worlds. You can watch the movie online, and manipulate the view by clicking and dragging on the image, but it benefits greatly from the downloadable NYTVR app. You can also use Cardboard, a viewer from Google and the free Cardboard app for your Android or iOS phone.

Chen, Sande. How Technology is Changing Storytelling
A short video provided by the Game Design Aspect blog.

Digital Storytelling: Tips and Resources
An Educause guide describing strategy and sample rubrics.

Granados, Samuel, Zoeann Murphy, Kevin Schaul and Anthony Faiola. Raising Barriers—A New Age of Walls. The Washington Post. Oct. 12, 2016.
Barriers are rising around the world, driven by migration, wars, and threats of terrorism. One of several award winning multimedia stories by The Washington Post in 2016.

Grigar, Dene and Stuart Moulthrop. Pathfinders: Documenting the Experience of Early Electronic Literature A Scalar book, with hypertext and multimedia.

Harris, Jonathan. The Whale Hunt
An experiment in human storytelling, by the author who spent nine days living with a family of Inupiat Eskimos in Barrow, Alaska, and participated in a thousand year-old traditional whale hunt. NOTE: Requires a large screen monitor and Flash.

Shook, Carla. Digital Story: Secrets and Codes of the Underground Railroad
A multimedia digital story apparently created by Shook while attending Catawba Valley Community College.

Silverstein, Jake. The Displaced: Introduction. The New York Times Magazine, 5 November 2015.
Includes The Displaced, an 11-minute, 360-degree virtual reality film about three children—from Lebanon, Ukraine and South Sudan—torn from their homes by war. Virtual reality gives a sense of immersion, of being present in distant worlds. You can watch the movie online, and manipulate the view by clicking and dragging on the image, but it benefits greatly from the downloadable NYTVR app. You can also use Cardboard, a viewer from Google and the free Cardboard app for your Android or iOS phone.

Matthews-DeNatale, Gail. Digital Storytelling: Tips and Resources
An Educause guide describing strategy and sample rubrics.

Music and Storytelling

Freeplay Music
Over 50,000 songs available free of with low-cost license.

YouTube Audio Library
Login using your Google account for tons of music you can use for your online and offline projects. Browse by genre, mood, instrument, or duration. You can listen to the tracks before downloading them as MP3 files.

Purple Planet Music
Royalty free MP3 downloads, or purchase WAV filels with commercial licence for standard or broadcast use.

Net Art and Storytelling


Introduction to Net Art (1994-1999)

Fluidities and Oppositions among Curators, Filter Feeders, and Future Artists
Anne-Marie Schleiner

Net Art Examples

Tina Laporta

Dakota & Artist Statement
YHCHANG Heavy Industries

World of Awe
Yael Kanarek

My Boyfriend Came Back From the War
Olia Lialina

Blackness for Sale and keeping up appearances
Mendi and Keith Obadike

The Jew's Daughter
Judd Morrissey

Oral History

See the separate resource for Aural/Oral History.

Planning for Storytelling

Managing a Digital Storytelling Project
Goals and practical tips for managing digital storytelling projects. Check the "Pages" sidebar to the right of the screen and follow the links for an amazing amount of information amassed in this website. This website, now archived, was a project by the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

A Quirky Take on Making A Radio Show
(Nora Young 2008). Substitute "digital story" every time Nora says "radio show" and learn a lot about planning a media production.

Storytelling Platforms

There are LOTS of platforms specifically designed for digital storytelling, and LOTS more that can be repurposed/adapted. Remember: start with the story, then pick the platform that will best help you tell that story. In the meantime, these platforms are great ways to begin telling digital stories.

ESRI Story Maps
Combine maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content. No coding required. Open source. Tell your story with geography and maps. A Story Map Journal app template lets you combine in-depth narrative text with maps, 3D scenes, images, and other multimedia content.

Free and open source tool for creating nonlinear, linked (think hypertext), interactive stories. Many style templates are available. One is sugarcube. Information about sugarcube markup language available here.

Social Media and Storytelling

Social media promotes collaboration and the social construction of knowledge. Why not storytelling? Multiple voices can create, shape, and share stories. Diverse participants can collaborate/participate without a central structure. The result: a conversation where the storyteller is one voice in the process of telling the story. Diverse narrators decide how they will shape and use the collaborative spaces afforded by the social network(s). This collective narrative is all around us all the time. It is always being created without our awareness, or even direct participation. This prompts some interesting questions: * How do we sort through the messages to find the/a story?
* How do we search, sort, organize this information?
* How do we make sense with the storytelling tools now available?
* What stories are going to be told?
* How are these stories going to be told?
* By whom will these stories be told?

See the Cowbird website for some answers.

A good question is, "What is the difference between digital storytelling and sophisticated marketing campaigns?" The answer is: Digital storytelling is differentiated from commercial narrative projects by its focus on authorship and humanistic and emotionally engaging content. Because of this tension, transmedia digital storytelling is interesting, especially with regard to inquiry into best practices for utilizing the unique properties of different digital media platforms to share an engaging, immersive, and interactive narrative. The desired result will be the production of compelling digitally-based narratives that explore the affordances and opportunities of particular media for enhancing this form of storytelling. These examples blur the boundaries.

The Beast
(2001). An interactive web game designed to promote the film A.I., an unfinished film project of Stanley Kubrick, directed by Steven Spielberg, and released in the United States on 29 June 2001. Elan Lee and Sean Stewart, lead designers, both of Microsoft, seeded the initial clues and puzzles throughout the World Wide Web. A discussion group eventually claiming more than 7,000 members called Cloudmakers formed on 11 April 2001 to solve the puzzles and fill in the details of the game. They solved the game on 24 July 2001.

I Love Bees
(2004; 42 Entertainment) is an alternate reality game created and developed by 42 Entertainment to serve as both material world experience and a viral marketing campaign for the video game Halo 2. First advertised in a subliminal message in the Halo 2 trailer, players who visited the website found it apparently hacked by a mysterious intelligence. Playing the game involved solving puzzles to reveal the backstory of an artificial intelligence apparently from a crash-landed military spacecraft and its attempts to repair damages suffered in the crash. Launched in August 2004, over three million people viewed the website and thousands of people around the world played the game during the three months it was active. Learn more.

Hunt the Truth.

Nicole Buckner et. al. Occupy Global Map
CMDC graduates! This was a senior seminar project.

Occupy Wall Street

Simon Cottle. Arab uprisings, media inscriptions
Cottle begins this essay by noting, "What is striking about the continuing wave of Arab uprisings is not only their historical momentousness and stunning speed of succession across so many countries, but also the different and complex ways in which media and communications have become inextricably infused inside them." It goes from there.

Sound and Storytelling

Storytelling begins with sound, the sound of the storyteller's voice. See the separate GIHUMONGOUS collection of resources, tools, and information links related to sound and audio (recorded sound).

Storytelling and Storyboarding


Storyboards are graphic organizers, blueprints, usually in the form of a series of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of previsualizing a motion graphic or interactive media sequence or website interactivity.


The storyboarding process, in this form, was first developed at the Walt Disney Studios in the early 1930s. Earlier forms were used by Disney and other animation studios. The first film to be completely storyboarded was Gone With the Wind. Storyboarding became very popular in live-action film production during the early 1940s.


Storyboarding is most recently used for outlining websites and other interactive media projects during the design phase. The storyboard is used to present and describe interactive events as well as audio and motion, particularly for user interfaces and screens. Storyboarding is also used for films, theater, animation, slide shows, and business.


Storyboards are created by hand, or by using computer software programs.


Allows experimentation with changes in the storyline; allows a group of people to brainstorm, develop ideas, and generate consensus.

Basic Steps for Developing a Storyline

Decide topic / what you want to say / "big idea" message: the one message you want visitors to take away from their experience with your story.
Decide what you will use for storyline development. What artifacts do you have? What do you want to say about them? What research do you need to learn enough about any artifact to tell story about it?
Decide how your digital story will look. What design / development are needed to accomplish your goal?
Decide how you will produce your storyline. Do you have the ability? If not, can you learn? Or, do you need to find a collaborator?

Storyboarding Resources

This website is a project funded by the European Union to provide resources and networking for usability practitioners, managers and EU projects. You can use it as well! Good information about how storyboarding can help improve the usability of digital objects. NOTE: Storyboards historically have been used for films and/or animations. There is no reason, however, why they cannot be used for all kinds of digital storytelling projects, especially those that will appear on digital media platforms.

Stanford University Academic Computing Services. Storyboarding
Storyboarding is a form of planning, and planning is essential for high-quality productions. This webpage, developed and maintained by Academic Computing Services at Stanford University, offers a tremendous number of resources and links to many others, all focused on using storyboards to plan and develop your storytelling project. NOTE: Storyboards historically have been used for films and/or animations. There is no reason, however, why they cannot be used for all kinds of digital storytelling projects.

Storyboard Images found on Google that you can download or copy for your project. A storyboard is very helpful for planning your digital story.

The Easy Storyboard Creator
A free, online tool for creating storyboards. See Using storyboards to tell a story to learn more. NOTE: This program is fee-based, but you can use it free for 14 days. Why not take advantage of this opportunity!

Part of American Film Institute's "Lights! Camera! Action!" series.

"How to Storyboard Your Film: Indy Mogol"
Part of the "4 Minute Film School" tutorial series.

Telephone and Storytelling

Amerika, Mark. Immobilité (2007)
The world's first feature-length mobile phone art film. A story about a future world where the dream of living in utopia can only be sustained by a nomadic tribe of artists and intellectuals. Immobilité mashes up the language of "foreign films" with landscape painting and literary metafiction. The work was composed using an unscripted, improvisational method of acting and the mobile phone images are intentionally shot in an amateurish or DIY [do-it-yourself] style similar to the evolving forms of video distributed in social media environments such as YouTube. By interfacing this low-tech version of video making with more sophisticated forms of European art-house movies, Amerika both asks and answers the question "What is the future of cinema?" Download free Immobillité app from iPhone App Store. Amerika says this about this work:

The performative remix of the NOW, moving through and around the bits of information. Art about the future using materials of the now, especially when technology removes us from contact with the physical world. We're borrowing from one another. People are making up their lives while learning to navigate virtual, online spaces.

What Are Cell Phone Novels?
The answer: ongoing, serial literature generally written in poetic, short chapters with 100-200 words per chapter. This article provides background about the origins in Japan over a decade ago and some ideas about the future. The website, Textnovel, is a social sharing network for authors and readers of serial fiction.

Transmedia Storytelling

The practice of distributing narrative across different media platforms to provide multiple, yet connected, narrative experiences focused on the same subject. The Matrix franchise, with its movies, animated films, comics, games, and books, is a good example. Another is Firefly which began as a television series and ended as a feature film. In between, these two narrative worlds were linked by a three-part comic. Consumers must engage with all media utilized in order to experience the complete story. Each media provides a different perspective. A flowchart visualizing this process at This is transmedia website.

Rather than using different media channels to retell the same story, transmedia storytelling utilizes these channels to communicate different elements of the story. Success relies on fragmenting a narrative and making each platform do what it does best rather than bending to fit a central idea repurposed for multiple platforms. This extends the life and longevity of the story. With a solid transmedia strategy, everything is connected by a central narrative and theme. (Transmedia Storytelling—What's It All About?)

Media theorist Henry Jenkins calls this "transmedia" (Anagrams for the word "Transmedia") and explains the practice of media flowing across multiple media platforms in his book Convergence Culture (New York University Press, 2007). "Transmedia storytelling" he says, "represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes its own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story." See also Jenkins, Henry. Convergence? I Diverge." MIT Technology Review 1 June 2001. Download PDF here.

In his blog, Transmedia Storytelling 101, Jenkins makes several points about transmedia storytelling.
Point #6: each episode must be accessible on its own terms even as it contributes to the narrative system as a whole.
Point #7: requires coordination across multiple media.
Point #8: collective intelligence = new structures for production and circulation of knowledge within a networked culture and how transmedia storytelling is the ideal aesthetic form.
Point #9; transmedia does not simply disperse information but rather provide rules and goals readers can assume as they enact aspects of the story in their everyday lives.
Point #10: Given the encyclopedic ambitions of transmedia stories, readers have a strong incentive to elaborate on story elements, filling in the gaps, until they take on a life of their own. (Henry Jenkins. Transmedia Storytelling 101)

Christine Weitbrecht says such applications add another perspective to transmedia: to "deliberately use the unique properties of each media platform to help the consumer experience the different parts and perspectives of a story in the most meaningful way possible." In this practice, transmedia storytelling does not simply distribute a narrative among several media platforms and/or remediate a narrative from one platform to another (like adapting a novel as a movie). Rather, transmedia storytelling attempts to use each platform to add something new to the overall narrative. (Follow Weitbrecht's thoughts about Transmedia Defined. Follow through to her thoughts about stylistic platform potency.)

Jenkins, Henry. Transmedia Messionaris: Henry Jenkins
In this video, Jenkins describes transmedia storytelling as "a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes its own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story."

Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture Slideshow
Jenkins describes convergence culture as the merging of traditional and new media. He describes five processes that comprise convergence culture. Read the discussion under the slide show for even more insight into this new and exciting opportunity for creativity across multiple media.

Jenkins, Henry. Convergence? I Diverge
Jenkins argues that rather than converging into one black box, media will continue to proliferate through multiple channels and ubiquitous connection. As a result, "We will develop new skills for managing information, new structures for transmitting information across channels, and new creative genres that exploit the potentials of those emerging information structures." Read or download as a .PDF file.

Vogel, Mike. This is transmedia website, maintained by film maker and author Vogel.

Transmedia Resources A collection of multiple resources associated with transmedia. Worth the time spent browsing.

Moloney, Kevin. Porting Transmedia Storytelling to Journalism Moloney's master's thesis argues "journalists can better engage their publics by adapting the methods of transmedia storytelling to journalism." By comparing entertainment transmedia storytelling theory and technique with examples of journalism that illustrate one or more of these techniques, Moloney explores whether journalists can reach more individuals, achieve better engagement and participation from their publics and more thoroughly communicate the complexity and context of any story. The upshot: It's necessary to make newspapers stop trying to be newspapers in the digital era. Could this be insight for academic scholarship and research presentation as well?

Twine and Storytelling

Twine is an authoring tool originally developed to help create digital games. Many people use it for creating linked, interactive narratives similar to hypertext.

Porpetine Charity Heartscape: With Those We Love Alive

Ambient Literature at Bath Spa University

Web-based Storytelling

Example Web-based Digital Fictions

Stuart Moulthrop
What happens to text when it goes digital? (Opening screen of Hegirascope: "What if the word will not be still?")

My Body
Shelley Jackson
How does the narrative "structure" of a story like Jackson's My Body differ from traditional print-based writing?

These Waves of Girls
Caitlin Fisher
Requires Flash, which has been deprecated by Adobe.

Six Sex Scenes
Adrienne Eisen

Hyperbody Juliet Martin

Self-Portrait(s) [As Other(s)]
Talan Memmott

Writing and Storytelling

See separate resource for Effective Writing

Capitalize My Title
Automatically capitalize your email subjects, essay, headline, and article titles. Use Title Case, AP style, APA style, Chicago style, MLA style, and more.

The Fifty Tools
Using digital media, there should be many ways to tell the same story. This webpage presents 50+ web-based tools, grouped in categories, you can use to create digital stories. The same story is told with each tool, illustrating the point that, "there is more than one way to tell a story." NOTE: These are not current tools, but they should provide you with many ideas for how to produce your own digital stories.

One Sentence: True Stories, Told in One Sentence
An experiment in brevity. Telling the best part of a story, a true story, a poignant story, in the one, most interesting sentence.

Four Word Film Review

50 Word Stories

Ommatidia: Fiction in 101 Words

Reviews in Haiku: Reviews of Anything in 17 Syllables