WHAT IS A DIGITAL STORY?
Overview of course: syllabus, blog
Slide talk: story forms, narrative theory/terms, storytelling and evolution, computers and storytelling, digital convergence, networks
Tools & Platforms
NARRATIVE TRADITIONS I
Blog Prompt*: Ancient Greek Drama is the foundation of dramatic storytelling in the West. The tragic plot can be found in novels , comics, movies, on TV, in video games and in our politics. After viewing the BBC episode above, discuss aspects of Greek Drama in the art and entertainment in your media life: books, movies, games. Describe your emotional involvement with certain stories or genres. Do you think Greek Comedy and Tragedy will continue to be important form for the future of digital storytelling? Why or why not?
*Blog posts will be weekly 300-500 word reflections on the readings and viewings. Please do include quotes as a blockquote in the formatting menu and, if you want, links using the link tool . To add images, you can upload using the “add media” button in the menu.
Narrative Traditions – Class Notes
Aristotle’s Tragic Hero and Plot
Watch: Fargo by the Coen Brothers
NARRATIVE TRADITIONS II
Read: Aristotle’s Poetics
Blog Prompt: Discuss “Fargo” as an Aristotelian tragedy. Map Aristotle’s criteria for a tragedy onto the plot points, events and characters in the movie. Please use terms and quotes from Aristotle’s “Poetics.”
Narrative Traditions – Class Notes
Discuss Aristotle’s Poetics
Alternate Narrative Traditions: manga, anime, avant-garde narrative, meta-narrative, rhetorical narrative
Great Rock n’Roll Pauses, by Jennifer Egan (a chapter from the novel “A Visit from the Goon Squad”)
What ideas and/or strategies in Drucker’s “Diagrammatic Writing” or in Egan’s “Great Rock n’Roll Pauses” inspire you to shape your own typographical story? How can you create structure, sequence, emphasis, pacing and rhythm with type alone?
Typography and Graphic Design
Jennifer Egan’s “The Great Rock n’ Roll Pauses”
E-lit and Typography
Assignment #1: Typographic Storytelling
Due next class (Monday)
Typographic Storytelling workshop
VISUAL NARRATIVE 1
Read: Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud – pgs 2-117
Blog Prompt: Digital storytelling may involve images in sequence (comics, slides, video), arranged spatially in an interface and/or integrated with other media such as text and audio. After reading about “sequential arts”, “gutters” and “time frames” in the chapters of Understanding Comics, how might you approach the next visual narrative assignment? What ideas does McCloud generate for you? Try to think outside the box.
DUE: Typographic Narrative: please post to the blog!
View Typographic Storytelling
Assignment #2: Visual Narrative
Bring sketch paper to next class or…. download and print storyboard paper
Discuss Understanding Comics, McCloud
July 4th – Holiday
VISUAL NARRATIVE 2
Read: Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud – pgs 118-215
Duane, Michaels, Things are Queer:
Blog Prompt: After looking at the above photo sequence for inspiration, take 5 photos with your phone that uses one or more of the 6 transitions McCloud writes about in Understanding Comics. The photos could be shot around your home or out on an errand, with or without people, fiction or nonfiction. Think about how you can juxtapose the 5 images so that we can “read” a micro-story of an event, a movement through space, a setting and/or character situation. Post these 5 photos in a sequence and write a brief statement about your photo story with ideas from McCloud.
Discuss Understanding Comics, McCloud
Word and Image
Visual Narrative Project workshop
Visual Narrative workshop
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, by Ambrose Bierce
Blog prompt: After watching the film adaptation of “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” and then reading the short story by Ambrose Bierce, write a blog post about the differences between the two works. What was removed or changed in the film version and why? What techniques in film language – pacing, editing, shot composition – successfully translate the effects in the short story?
Due: Visual Narrative
Discuss Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
Continuity – 180 degree rule, match on action, shot reverse shot, POV shot, parallel action
Montage – rhythm, metaphor, associational thinking, dream, intellectual argument
Long take – “realism”, documentary-style, duration
Watch: Noah opening
WORKSHOP: Visual Narrative
HYPERTEXT & HYPERMEDIA
Read: Beyond Myth and Metaphor -The Case of Narrative in Digital Media, by Marie-Laure Ryan
My Boyfriend Came Back from the War, by Olia Lialina (1996)
My Body, by Shelley Jackson (1997)
Last Dream, by Andy Campbell (2006)
Editions at Play, by various authors
Hey Harry Hey Matilda, an Instagram novel by Rachel Hulin (2015)
A Modern Ghost
The Shootout by Alan Bigelow
Loss of Grasp, by Serge Bouchardon andVincent Volckaert (2010)
Hypertext – hyperlinks connecting documents – opens up new ways to write, think and connect with others in networks. Hypertext created the web, spawned new forms of art and ways of presenting knowledge. But has hypertext done anything new for storytelling? What kind of stories work best in digital form?
A digital story can be made of hyperlinks that follow a linear sequence, like pages of a book. But what about multilinear networks, random access and user interactivity – computer properties that break away from strictly linear sequencing? Electronic games certainly use narrative forms and there is a rich history of literary fiction that have game-like qualities. Can the computer do for storytelling what it has done for gaming?
Read the essay and then explore the works listed above. Find one that most appeals to you and write a blog post about how the work can be considered a story- or not. Does the work present a coherent story world? What keeps you imaginatively engaged in the work? How does the navigation structure bring you into a story? Is linear sequencing clear, vague or unimportant? How do various signs present and/or conceal the works meaning?
Assignment #4 : Hypermedia Story
Digital Storytelling tools and platforms:
HYPERMEDIA: SYMBOL, INDEX, ICON
Symbol, Index, Icon
Book from the Ground: from point to point, by Xu Bing (amazon preview)
Filmtext, by Mark Amerika (2001-2002)
Cityfish, by J.R. Carpenter
Found Floppy, by Andy Campbell
Inanimate Alice, by Kate Pullinger
How to Rob a Bank, by Alan Bigelow
Tachistoscope, by William Poundstone
The Cartographer’s Confession, James Attlee
Blog Prompt: After exploring the works above, choose one work to view/read in depth. In your blog post, reflect on the role of symbol, index and/or icon in the story’s presentation. How does the type of sign and /or system of signs, help in the narration or presentation of the story? How might you use different types of signs in your own project?
Signs: symbols, icons and indexical signs
Electronic Literature Lab visit
Discuss signs in digital stories
Workshop Final Project
Final Project – 40%
The final project may be a significant reworking of a previous project or a new idea and direction. You may also work on a group project (maximum 3 per group) with my approval. The requirement for the final project is that you incorporate typographic, visual, hypermedia elements and that you work on story structure.
Final Project Rubric:
You get an A if your digital story…
- demonstrates an understanding of narrative structure: plot, character, development, recognition, reversal/ twist, climax/resolution, etc.
- considers typography as both a design element and an expressive narrative element
- uses design elements (imagery, color, type, layout) to create/support narrative context (genre,setting, character, backstory)
- uses “closure” between images and between images and text to create interest and imaginative projection in the reader/user
- has thoughtful interaction design (hypermedia, hyperlinks, branching structure, scroll, etc.) with navigation that is clear, yet also in support or integrated with the narrative purpose
- is proof-read, checked for errors in grammar, spelling and code
- has complete content and is finished
- includes an artist statement with the blog post and/or in the work itself
a B if your digital story…
- Any work that is deficient in one of the above criteria
a C if your digital story…
- Any work that is deficient in two of the above criteria
an F if your digital story…
- Any work that is deficient in three of the above criteria
Blog: Watch the above videos about storytelling. How does the most basic story engage our participation? Try to answer this by looking critically at your own story for the final project. How can you improve your storytelling by 1) removing information, 2) generating questions and anticipation in the users, 3) making more compelling characters/situations?
Bring index cards to class!
Due Hypermedia Project
Story= Anecdote (concrete events in cause and effect) + Meaningful Reflection (why is it important?)
simple plots – change of fortune
complex plots- Reversal of the Situation or Recognition or both, the element of surprise
Narration – objective/subjective or user interaction
Character – select details, motivation/goals, actions
Setting – select details, set mood, genre
Events – character actions/user interaction
Plot -sequence of events which affect other events, work backwards from ending
Theme – repeated patterns
Brainstorm Final Project
group story workshop
work with index cards
work on outline
group story workshop
Final Project workshop
DUE: Final Projects for Critique