Tips & Tricks

Rhea Wessel

Here you will find tips, tutorials and links

Ground rules for story circles

  • Story circles are about listening to the person who is sharing, not about judging them
  • Take a few notes about what you hear, also in case you want to share feedback with others on a one-to-one basis during a break
  • Absorb what you hear before responding
  • Practice the idea of stepping up or stepping back. If you tend to be the first with feedback, step back. If you tend to shy away from speaking, step up.
  • The leader will thank the person who has shared
  • The leader will ask the person who shared if he/she wants feedback, and if so, what type
  • Give feedback in a respectful way. Begin with the positive.
  • If you have negative feedback or suggestions for changes, always say, “If it were my story, I might….”
    • Other good phrasing for helpful feedback: “One thing I didn’t quite understand was….”
    • “I began to get a picture of…”
  • You will be given a time limit for sharing
  • You will get a 1-minute warning from the timekeeper to finish reading your work

Story framing is the process of finding the best entry point to the story so that it has the intended impact.
If your story is about a disappointment in life,  you might begin with a scene that illustrates the hopes you initially had.
Or, if it’s about how you changed your opinion on a subject, consider starting with a place in time that will allow you to show how things changed for you.


For those who are receiving script coaching, know that:

  • Good digital stories tell and show a slice of life. Not everything is articulated. Some things are only hinted about.


  • Good digital stories speak from a distance. A distance that has given you insight and perhaps wisdom. If you are still processing an experience, or are simply too close to it, it may not be the right story to tell right now.


  • Good digital stories are not about revealing your secrets to the world. However, some people choose to tell very personal stories, and they do that for very personal reasons.


  • In general, if you are trying to teach a lesson, or looking to judge someone, that sense of righteousness will come out in your story and be a turn-off. You may be better off telling what an experience means to you or what you learned from it.


  • The person coaching you on the frame of your story is trying to help you with these points by bringing in the perspective and distance of an outsider who is hearing the story for the first time

For those who are giving script coaching, know that:

  • Script coaching is different that Story Circle feedback
  • In script coaching, you’re trying to help a person move from a text that may read like a diary entry to one that is a script set in time and place
  • Therefore, it’s good to ask questions that make the person think in time and place
    • Where were you when ABC XYZ happened?
    • What were you thinking?
    • What pictures/ images/ personal artifacts come to mind?
    • Looking back, what were the turning points?
    • I noticed that ABC and XYZ have parallels. Do you see it that way, too?
    • I noticed the stark differences between ABC and XYZ. Do you see it that way, too?
    • When did you know your life/work/education/hobby would forever be different than it was before?


  • Keep in mind that all stories do not need resolution. The resolution may be that you have not reached resolution and continue to struggle with what you are describing

Day 1  
8:00 Viewing of 3 films

Audience comments


10:00 Break
10:20 Introduction to the 7 steps of digital storytelling and Story circle ground rules

Writing prompt #1 (10 minutes)

Shares (8 minutes)

Feedback (max 5 minutes)

11:35 Break
11:55 Writing prompt #2 (10 minutes)

Shares (8 minutes)

Feedback (max 5 minutes)

1:00 The first day ends
Overnight Write your script

Day 2
8:00 Check in, status update
8:15 Live script coaching as a demonstration
8:45 Break
8:50 Partner script coaching
9:25 Break
9:45 Coaching and writing
11:15 Break
11:35 How to select good images – think abstractly & Where to find license free music and sound
12:35 Voiceover explanation
Overnight/Over Weekend
Record your script, gather images and sound, select your music

Day 3
8:00 Check in, status update, We video Tutorial, Begin Creating your Video
10:00 Break
10:20 One-on-one help

Technical trouble-shooting

11:35 Break
11:55 Finish creating video
1:00 – 3:00 Viewing of workshop films

MUSIC Royalty Free, Creative Commons Licensed


ccMixter is a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want.


Creative Commons licensed music composed by Kevin MacLeod. Credit: Music Title, Kevin


Creative commons licensed music, mostly under Attribution. Check the license for each download. Give credit as specified.



Database of Creative Commons licensed sounds.


A free site where you can search the Web for sound effects and musical instrument samples.


creative commons

Database of Creative Commons licensed sounds.



University of Houston: Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling

Source: storycenter




Here are places to turn for free/low-cost stock images and video:

  • Inside wevideo. Login included with your workshop


On Image Size

A good minimum internet image size for use in a digital story is: height + width = 800. Do not download/save the small “thumbnail” file. Always double click on an image to open and download/save the larger image file.

Creative Commons Search: Use Advanced Search>Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content. This needs to be re-checked for each new search.

Yahoo Creative Commons Search (Click “Search CC”).

Free Public image archive. Use “Free Photos” search.

International site for free image sharing – you must sign up (register) to download.

Access to the Internet Archive’s Collections provided at no cost for scholarship and research

purposes only. Use of content is solely at your own risk. You must certify that your use of any part of the Archive’s Collections will be noncommercial and will be limited to non-infringing or fair use under copyright law.

Use requires attribution and link back. Full size images require a credit line: Supplied by / © (Site has lots of annoying pop-ups).

(Educational use only). The Pics4Learning collection is intended to provide copyright friendly images for use by students and teachers in an educational setting.



Open Source movies from the Internet Moving Images Archive.

Make sure to use the filters that allow search for Creative Commons licensed content.



University of Houston: Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling (“Links” tab).



Descriptions of the different types Creative Commons licenses and their restrictions.