This is the first digital storytelling project that we published. We decided that it needed to offer more than just the final product: so the webpage also include the designer's reflections as well as her theories of digital storytelling.
|Mikayla Lee: A Digital Story about Love and Responsibility by Jaylise Cosme|
|Defining Digital Storytelling|
Digital Storytelling uses “computer-based tools to tell stories.” It fuses the content of a story with images, videos, sounds, etc. Living in a digital world, it is important to be able to tell interesting stories that catch the attention of the audience. Our generation is very reliant on the use of digital media in almost every aspect of our lives. Old storytelling just doesn’t reach the new generation anymore. We get bored and prefer other forms of entertainment. In a way, we become performers because “digital stories necessarily expand conceptions of what it means to perform a text. While broadly speaking dance, music and poetry might all be viewed as textual performances, digital stories, because they of necessity layer multiple media and modes, complicate our understandings of textual performance as it is linked to the development of identity and agency” (Hull and Katz, 2006, p.47). These stories are a clear and concise view of the author’s true feelings. What better way to show your feelings than to perform them? It is not a far-fetched idea, since we perform on a daily basis. All that is asked is that we exaggerate this daily act in such a way that we are able to use this performance to tell a story important to us.
Digital storytelling has been around since the 1990s. The pioneers of this type of practice include Joe Lambert and Daniel Meadows. They both were influential in the use of digital storytelling and defining exactly what it is and what it accomplishes. On another note, the advances in our technology today have made this type of storytelling not only easier, but also more effective in its outcome. Think of it as comparing a 1950s movie to a 2014 movie. The picture is clearer, the quality is better, and it is more lifelike. This is the same for digital storytelling. As technology continues to advance, the overall quality of digital stories will continue to expand.
Digital storytelling often relies strongly on pathos to deliver its message. Pathos is the emotional impact of a work on its audience and, as such, digital stories can emotionally influence an audience far more greatly than a regular story can. The narration, which is almost always present in this form of storytelling, gives the person’s voice with the emotions, pauses, inflections and deflections that are necessary to convey emotion. This narration, with music added to it, can tip people off the edge when it comes to emotion. Music is another influential form of emotion-emitting media. Adding music to an already emotional- sounding narration can really portray strong images. Then, when images are added, the story gains more power. Think of it like texting. You can read it any way you want, but it might not be the way the person who sent the message intended it to be. With a digital story, there is no way this type of mistake can be made. The audience is forced to feel the same emotion as the rhetor, no matter who they are. If it was just plain words, the audience might all have different interpretations of the emotion that is trying to be portrayed.
When I talk on a daily basis, it's not really a problem. It's not even that I can't hear myself, because I can and I do, but my voice is ordinary. I've been performing on stages since the third grade, acting and singing, and I could never force myself to listen to a recording of the piece. In doing this project, I was forced to listen to my voice numerous times, and I can't count how many times I flinched. Overall, it was a good learning experience. I have to deal with the voice I have for the rest of my life, so I started looking over the fact that I don't like the way I sound. I made a good recording in only one take, and I actually liked how it came out in the end.
I love so many songs that could have fit with this presentation. Once I picked the right songs, it was still difficult for me to pick and choose the parts of the songs that I wanted to include in my soundtrack. And even when I did decide, the actual mixing was difficult for me. I probably zoomed into the sound waves a thousand times just to make sure I cut and placed them in exactly the right spots. I was actually surprised with how it came together and how much I liked how it came out.
I have so many pictures of my neice and my family, probably more than I could count. The first challenge was actually finding all the pictures that I wanted to use. It was a long and stressful process, but all those pictures are very dear to my heart, and it was great that I didn't have to go looking for pictures on other websites. I used all of my original photos. The other problem I encountered was fitting all the pictures into my video. I had way too many; it was hard to pick and choose and decide the order in which they would appear. The images are what made the movie what it is now. They really brought everything together and evoked an emotion that the soundtrack itself couldn't do. The fusion of both, however, moves people to tears. I showed the video to my mom, to my sister and to my neice, and they all cried. I was very happy with the result.
When I look at it now, I think Digital Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to tell a story in this generation. We are blinded by the uses of the internet, by TV and images. It is amazing that we can use those distractions to make them real pieces of stories that can easily be understood. This project has just deepened my understanding and appreciation for this form of writing.
About the Author
My name is Jaylise, Jay for short, and I am Puerto Rican. I am an eighteen-year-old college kid and I am probably the craziest person you'll ever meet. I am loud and outgoing, but I can get serious when the time calls for it. I am a practicing Catholic, and I feel very strongly about my faith. It defines a lot of who I am. I feel strongly about a lot of things like my education and the career I plan on pursuing. I am majoring in Forensic Psychology, something that interests me very much. I love to perform, act, sing, dance, and I love sports. I played volleyball and softball in high school.
Today, I'm pretty much the same. I'm a bit of a gym rat and I no longer perform on stage. Doesn't mean I don't perform at all, as I do every single day to make people laugh. I teach kids at my church about God and I go to school every day of the week. I hardly have time for myself, but that is perfectly fine with me. I busy myself with so many things just so that I can fulfill every single thing I want to accomplish in my life, that month, that day, or in that hour. I love being selfless, giving myself to everything I do in order to benefit those around me. It is important to stand up for those who can't, or won't, stand up for themselves.
How to Cite this:
Cosme, J. (Spring 2014). Mikayla Lee: A Digital story about love and responsibility. Digital Spectrum: Multimedia Essays and Projects from the First Year 1,2. Retrieved from https://johnjay.digication.com/digital_spectrum/Jaylise_Cosme