Wild n’ Wacky Week “won”

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I didn’t know what to expect in this class but I enjoyed the format. It seems like it will be a lot of work but worth the effort in the end. I successfully created my first blog https://number1fio.wordpress.com. Why number1fio you ask? It’s actually my old aim handle from the 90′s and I continue to use it whenever I need a screen name for anything. My favorite number and softball and volleyball jersey number at the time was 1 and fio was short for my last name before I got married. The full blog creation article can be found here.

I enjoyed the ideas that share stories assignments and posted my blog here. I selected Major League as the “epic” story to analyze. I created a Vonnegut timeline with baseballs signifying key points in the plot. Overall it was a little cheesy but educational.  In case anyone has not seen Major League, first of all you should. Second here is the story spine:

  • A story spine is a technique used to give stories their shape. I will provide an example of the Major League story spine.
  •  Once upon a time, there was a washed up old ball player named Jake Taylor.
  • Every day, he drank too much and played baseball on a no name team in Mexico.
  • But one day, the Cleveland Indians called him up and asked him to come to spring training.
  • Because of that, he flew up to Cleveland and attended spring training and ran into his ex-girlfriend.
  • Because of that, he made the team and played baseball with a rag tag bunch of ball players and perused his ex-girlfriend.
  • Because of that, he managed to find ground with the ball players and unite the team together.
  • Until finally, the team wins the pennant and he gets the girl.
  • And ever since then, he lived happily ever after with his girlfriend, or at least we are left to think that.

I enjoyed watching Ira Glass and Tim Stanton’s videos about storytelling. The key aspects of storytelling they provided that can be used today are:

  • Timing and inflection are important. The story has to be interesting enough to draw the audience in. Let them know the story will lead someplace. Everything from the first sentence should lead up to a singular goal.
  • The story should include a mix of anticipation with uncertainty. Hint but don’t give everything away at once. Keep them wanting more.
  • The audience needs to understand what’s in it for them and why they are there and care. They commonly want to know what’s in it for me. This should ideally be some reaffirm a truth or deepen their understanding. I’d take it another step and say, to solve a problem or teach them something.

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And last but not least. My final project idea is still la work in progress but I have a few general ideas. I don’t think it should be anything that’s a step-by step procedure such as a recipe or manual. I think it should be something that that audience needs to be persuaded to perform or chose one option over another, more or an idea then a process. One idea I have is a teenager telling the story of how he saved his friends life performing CPR and walk through the steps of what he did in a dramatic fashion.  I love medical shows and they always draw me in and don’t know much about medicine myself so something like that seems like it could translate well as a story.

Final Project Idea Initial Ideas

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Final Project Idea

I have a few general notions. I don’t think it should be anything that’s a step-by step procedure such as a recipe or manual. I think it should be something that that audience needs to be persuaded to perform or chose one option over another, more or an idea then a process.

If I had to throw out and idea I’d say something along the lines of having someone tell a story of how they lost weight eating healthy food and then offering cooking instructions to prepare food. Or, maybe a teenager telling the story of how he saved his friends life performing CPR and walk through the steps of what he did in a dramatic fashion.  I love medical shows and they always draw me in and don’t know much about medicine myself so something like that seems like it could translate well as a story.

Once upon a time…

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What is storytelling?

The concept of storytelling is as old at man. For centuries men have used storytelling as a means to share their experiences with others as well as to explain the word around them. I admit this description was given to me by a history teacher in high school, but it really resonated.
I personally associate an older person such as a parent or grandparent telling a child a story to help teach him or her a lesson. But people tell stories all the time to share experiences and relate to each other or sometimes just to laugh.
The visual that comes to mind for me is typically that of an older person telling a younger person a story or people sitting around in a circle drinking beer and telling stories. Right now I’m picturing the grandfather reading to Ben Savage in princess bride, I saw part of the movie recently so it’s stuck in my head. But that format, old person telling child a tale is often used.
As a child I often asked my parents to “tell me a story” or “read me a story”. As a got older the storytelling became mutual. I came home from school and told my Mother about what happened at school that day in the form of a story. Now I tell stories to my friends over beers. Maybe we don’t call it story time but we certainly do tell each stories about things that happened at work or recent adventures on vacation for example. Additionally, sometimes I need to tell a story at work to explain something in a way that my client or team will understand.
What is digital storytelling?

Digital storytelling is telling a story through a digital medium. The description I provided was primarily based on my experience with oral storytelling but storytelling exists in many formats. While each format is unique as requires certain elements to be effective the basic art or storytelling remains the same on all mediums.
The key messages from the videos that influence the storytelling I do today

Both Glass and Stanton talked about some common elements that are relevant to the stories I tell today.

  1. Timing and inflection are important. The story has to be interesting enough to draw the audience in. Let them know the story will lead someplace. Everything from the first sentence should lead up to a singular goal.
  2. The story should include a mix of anticipation with uncertainty. Hint but don’t give everything away at once. Keep them wanting more.
  3. The audience needs to understand what’s in it for them and why they are there and care. They commonly want to know what’s in it for me. This should ideally be some reaffirm a truth or deepen their understanding. I’d take it another step and say, to solve a problem or teach them something.

Major League a story for the ages

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It was the best of times if was the worst time times. Ok, let’s face it Major League  may not be a literary classic but it it does have a plot and follow a classic s story line. Our hero. Jake Taylor is down in the dumps and manages to pull himself up along with a team of misfits up for the bottom (of the standings) and defeat the bad guy (the White Sox) and gets the girl. Along the way Jake and the team overcome obstacles and end up stronger because of it.

To help you better grasp the complex plot line I have developed a series of graphical representations of the story.

Vonnegut’s approach to storytelling

Vonnegut’s approach to storytelling was the graph the the good fortune and ill fortune on the Y access and the beginning to end of the story on the X access the high’s and lows can be seen. Note, you may need to click on the image to view the key plot events.

Major League

 

Pixar’s 22 Rules To Create Appealing Stories

Let’s shift gears a little here, away from Vonnegut to Pixar. Pixar compiled a list of 22 Rules Pixar Uses To Create Appealing Stories. It’s evident that the character’s in major league followed many of these rules. Some of the rules are impossible to verify without speaking to the writers.Rule number 8, “Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.”  was one of the rules that requires as least some knowledge of the writer’s intent. The interesting thing about this is that Major League was written with a different ending than what appeared in the theater. Apparently, the “bad guy”, the owner, was actually supposed to secretly be a “good guy”, who was being mean to the team to motivate them to unite against her. It sounds like the writers finished a story that was not perfect then went back and fixed it.

Story Spine

A story spine is a technique used to give stories their shape. I will provide an example of the Major League story spine.

Once upon a time, there was a washed up old ball player named Jake Taylor.

Every day, he drank too much and played baseball on a no name team in Mexico.

But one day, the Cleveland Indians called him up and asked him to come to spring training.

Jake Taylor

Because of that, he flew up to Cleveland and attended spring training and ran into his ex-girlfriend.

Because of that, he made the team and played baseball with a rag tag bunch of ball players and perused his ex-girlfriend.

Because of that, he managed to find ground with the ball players and unite the team together.

Until finally, the team wins the pennant and he gets the girl.

team winning

And ever since then, he lived happily ever after with his girlfriend, or at least we are left to think that.

Whoa… my first blog entry

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I’ve never created a blog before so initially I was a little overwhelmed and confused.

confused

But I like a good challenge and love telling stories and this this could be a in interesting forum to do so.

I embarked on my journey by by following the guidelines in the http://ds106.us/ blog. I visited wordpress and created the shell for my blog, number1fio. Why number1fio you ask? It’s actually my old aim handle from the 90’s and I continue to use it whenever I need a screen name for anything. My favorite number and softball and volleyball jersey number at the time was 1 and fio was short for my last name before I got married. 

Once the name was selected I went to Gravatar and uploaded a custom icon I created. I think I will change that at a later date but it works for now. Then I created the my own tools pages, going with the fio theme I named it Fio’s tool box. I added some placeholder info for my About Fio page. Last, I added categories to the page. The process was fairly intuitive. Honestly, I’m surprised I never created a blog before!