Digital Storytelling and Community Projects

The Digital Story is a highly useful tool for community organisation and community projects because:

- in a Digital Story you can:

  • hear the storyteller's voice with all of the richness of experience that an individual's voice provides
  • see photos and video of places and people which not only help the storyteller tell his or her story in an interesting way but also provide another way of building a rich source of information

- Digital Stories can be published in a range of digital and print forms:

  • individual movies or video can be saved to CD or DVD and distributed and viewed on computer or home DVD players
  • individual movies can be emailed to friends, family, community
  • collections of movies can be used to create DVDs which can be either replicated and manufactured commercially or copied in small numbers with home or community computers
  • published on free internet web networks such as YouTube
  • published on a web database such as Queensland Stories or Capture Wales
  • transcripts of stories can printed out and distributed alone or with individual movies or accompanying DVDs
  • transcripts can be added to web page descriptions of movies or emailed
  • audio can be published alone or accompanying movies in a range of different sound files eg mp3, wav etc

Digital storytelling projects can be organised for different community outcomes such as:

  • teaching digital skills (digital cameras, scanning, editing, audio and video programs)
  • building self esteem and self confidence (sharing stories, being heard)
  • building language and communication skills,
  • educating the public about different individual and community needs,
  • promoting an organisation
  • building community awareness
  • building community identity

You can make Digital Stories about all sorts of topics, eg:

  1. an important personal event
  2. life story or autobiography
  3. an oral or local history subject
  4. a story about why you value someone (relative, friend, workmate)
  5. your favourite activity or hobby
  6. your sports team or work team
  7. your cultural background
  8. valuing your neighbourhood or suburb
  9. overcoming prejudice or disability
  10. a historical event or site
  11. something quirky
  12. a pet
  13. a possession
  14. your organisation
  15. why you live where you live

Digital stories work best when:

  • they are kept short
  • are personal
  • told in the first person
  • are informal
  • are true


  1. Decide on a story (Story Circle is a good group process)
  2. Write a draft script
  3. Get feedback about script and revise if necessary
  4. Record voiceover (mp3 recorder, PC with microphone etc)
  5. Edit voiceover
  6. Some form of 'story board' ie list what sort of images, scanned documents, video etc are needed for what parts of the voiceover
  7. Collect visual resources (digital photos, scans, video clips) and import to video editor
  8. Edit movie by adding visual resources in time to changes in the voiceover
  9. Add sound effects, music (if any), transitions, title and credits
  10. Share
  11. Publish and promote

Requirements depends on the level of community and individual participation in the Digital Story creation project.

At the least you will need one computer with video editing software, a microphone, digital camera, scanner and either a web connection or DVD burner.

If one of the outcomes is to teach participants how to create their own Digital Stories you will need an appropriate computer for each participant and one data projector and speakers to demonstrate software techniques and processes. A project like this needs at least 3 days and a night over two and a half weeks for reasonably computer literate participants to create their stories and longer if participants have more basic computer skills.

However if the main outcome is to publish without the skills training, the project can be run by single digital storyteller working to help participants choose and script their stories and then record, edit and publish them.

Digital Storytelling is a highly flexible and effective community process that utilises currently and commonly available computer software and hardware to create products with a wide range of publishing options.

what is | examples | projects, workshops & training | notes & resources | links

Return to Top of this page. Return to 'Storytelling in Australia' entry page.

Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller
P.O. Box 5300, West End, Q4101, 
Brisbane, Australia
Tel. 61 (0)7 3846 3135
Mob. 0417 478408
All contents copyright 2007, Daryll Bellingham. All rights reserved.
Last update: 24th October, 2007.
URL of this page: