The Digital Chapters Of our Lives
“StoryCorps’ mission is to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.”
I thoroughly enjoyed perusing the StoryCorps and reading numerous synopses of the stories they had to share. Their mission statement is seen in most of the stories that I viewed; the overarching aura of compassion is a predominate feature, especially in the stories that speak of war and racism. In my view, if a digital story – in all its elements, components, and dimensions – appeals to and evokes its viewers’ emotions, then it would be a good and successful one. The story that I loved the most was The Nature of War. In the article, The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling, I read about the seven elements of digital storytelling and the story that I viewed contained most of these elements that were incorporated and blended together to create an overall successful digital story:
- Point of View – what is the perspective of the author?
- The story was told from a personal perspective/point-of-view.
- A Dramatic Question – a question that will be answered by the end of the story.
- I did not view such an element in this digital story but it does leave its viewers with many questions.
- Emotional Content – serious issues that speak to us in a personal and powerful way.
- The issue of war and violence was relayed.
- The Gift of your Voice – a way to personalize the story to help the audience understand the context.
- The person who had this experience narrated the story
- The Power of the Soundtrack – music or other sounds that support the storyline.
- The background music was low, slow and melancholic.
- Economy – simply put, using just enough content to tell the story without overloading the viewer with too much information.
- The story was short, to the point but still packed a solid punch into its viewers’ tear glands and emotions.
- Pacing – related to Economy, but specifically deals with how slowly or quickly the story progresses.
- The story progressed in a quick but slow way in that, though it was short, it was not rushed.
The Nature of War:
This animated story was of Specialist Justin Cliburn, who, while serving in north Baghdad, met and befriended two young boys (Ali and Ahmed) living close to his compound. As the story progressed, the melancholic background music alluded to the cruel and sad end: Ahmed and his mother were killed by a suicide bomber and though Ali survived, Cliburn does not know what has become of him. This particular story is a story of many veterans who served in countries where suicide bombers are aplenty but I had never viewed an animated version. Cliburn said something that is a very harsh truth: the nature of war is not only two opposing armies facing off on a battlefield but it is also what he experienced with Ali and Ahmed. Ahmed and his mother, innocent bystanders to the war in their country, were killed in the name of the war in their country; Ali, yet another innocent one, will (if he is still alive and living in Baghdad) will eventually mature into a man and he will either join the terrorists or suffer because of the terrorists. Furthermore, Cliburn will now have to live with the fact that he, as a soldier, could have done little to prevent the inevitability of a mother and her young son being blown to bits by a suicide bomber. War is horrifying, cruel and unforgettable. In just three and a half minutes, I was able to empathize with Cliburn and Ali; as their animated selves sat on the curb and lamented the loss of a dear friend (Ahmed), I envisioned that scene when it did occur in a gunpowder-strewn and blood-splattered country and my eyes filled with the tears that they had shed.
“That’s the nature of war, I suppose.” (Cliburn)
If I were to change or add to the story, I would add another few minutes where the viewers were able to see the compound and the surrounding area where Cliburn befriended Ali and Ahmed. Doing so would add a tinge of reality and tangibility to this story and enhance the story’s elements in its entirety.
About StoryCorps. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2017, from StoryCorps: https://storycorps.org/about/
The Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling. (2006). Retrieved March 29, 2017, from Digital Storytelling: http://digitalstorytelling.coe.uh.edu/articles/Educ-Uses-DS.pdf
The Nature of War. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2017, from StoryCorps: https://storycorps.org/animation/the-nature-of-war/