Center for Digital Storytelling: The Ramones Come to Farmville, VA

I’ve had my eye on the Center for Digital Storytelling for a couple years, and this past week the timing finally worked out for me to take one of their workshops. I decided to make it an adventure and take a 10-hour road trip from Portland to Berkeley.

The premise of the three-day workshop is to take a story from your life and turn it into a brief video (fewer than five minutes long), including voiceover, images, text overlays, and effects. Many of the stories participants create are poignant and moving, with topics related to family dynamics, illness, social justice, public health, and activism. The story I chose for my project concerned a question I had the youthful nerve to ask, and the amazing result.

Here is my video about the time the Ramones played at my tiny Longwood College in Farmville, Virginia.

The process of creating the video was trickier than I thought. First of all, I showed up with an 800-word script. With the help of the workshop facilitator and the participants, I ditched a lot of the detail and was able to carve out a story that stands on its own, more effectively without all the exposition.

Writing for video is a special skill that takes time to develop. It’s too easy to be redundant. The workshop helped me refine my ability to remove the fluff and balance the visuals with the narration.

I loved my experience at the Story Center and recommend it to anyone seeking professional development or time to focus on a personal story project.

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