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COM 583: Multimedia Storytelling 2011

-- syllabus-in-progress
Instructor: Hanson Hosein, with Scott Macklin and Filiz Efe
Room: CMU 226 (302 and 304 for breakouts)

Office: Room 251A, Communications Building

Office Hours: By Appointment
Contact: hrhmedia@uw.edu, smacklin@uw.edu, filizefe@uw.edu

Twitter: #mcdmstory

This is a pivotal time in the history of digital media. Inexpensive technology and
powerful distribution networks mean nearly anyone can transmit their creations.

Since the advent of human communication, storytelling has been a key factor in our
survival and development.

Over the last century, storytelling to an audience beyond our immediate social circle
has largely been the preserve of industrialized, mass media. But now, with digital
media, we can not only listen to new voices, we can be those new voices – leading
some to conclude that we have entered into a new Storytelling Age.

Despite our newfound access to these tools of creation and distribution, effective
communication still requires the timeless basics of effective, credible storytelling –
perhaps even more so given the exponential increase in new content competing for

In this hands-on course, we'll explore what it takes to conceive, develop, create and
distribute compelling multimedia stories.

At the end of this course, we'll be able to:

- Define key concepts to successful storytelling structure.
- Explain different processes and tools for producing multimedia stories (story
development, pre-production, post-production, distribution platforms and accessibility
to digital technologies.
- Assess the strategic communication considerations, business opportunities and
legal issues, related to digital media content creation and distribution.


Prior to the start of the first class, you must complete a Personal Inventory of Skills
and Technology so I have a sense of your skills and interests beforehand (you'll
need your UW Net ID).

Link: https://catalyst.uw.edu/webq/survey/hosein/120359
You'll also be required to post comments to either Hanson's Storyteller Uprising
book-in-progress on Sribd, Storyteller Uprising blog, or Flip The Media (see grading
for details).

We'll be posting our work any other other class-related thoughts to the Media Space
Storytelling 583 Group Page.

*** NEW If you don't already have a Vimeo account, please create one. Then, join
the class group: http://vimeo.com/groups/mcdmstory2011

*********** Finally, attendance and participation is REQUIRED in the first four

class sessions, given the skills we'll be developing, along with the critical
discussions we'll be having around the assignments. Do not register in this
class if you know that you're going to miss one of those first four sessions
(MCDM policies apply to the remainder of the quarter). There'll be no
opportunity for catch-up or make-up. ******



Michael Tierno Aristotle's Poetics for Screenwriters (Hyperion 2002) [and if you'd like
the real thing: Aristotle, Poetics]

The Digital Storytelling Cookbook (Joe Lambert, Center for Digital Storytelling,
January 2010 -- as book for $20 from site, or $10 for downloadable PDF)

John Hewitt, Gustavo Vasquez Documentary Filmmaking: A Contemporary Field

Guide (Oxford University Press 2009) http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/

Hanson Hosein Storyteller Uprising (Scribd 2011) http://www.scribd.com/doc/


Various PDF's and readings (see weekly listings) uploaded to Media

Space http://mediaspace.washington.edu/ms/mediaspace/pg/file/group:5572821

Strongly Suggested (Will serve you well in the future):

Carolyn Handler Miller, Digital Storytelling: A Creator's Guide to Interactive
Entertainment (Focal Press 2008)

Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery
(New Riders 2008)

Good to Have
Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth (Anchor, 1991) [Chapters 3-5]
Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (New World Library 2008)

Jane Stevens, Knight Digital Media Center, A Story from Start to Finish



The Department has everything you need (go to this link, then select "Equipment" on
the left hand side menu, using your UW NET ID to login) but feel free to use your
own technology if you have it.

- Video: Pretty much anything goes (Flip, Point & Shoot camera with video, DV
camera, etc.) -- we would recommend you stick to the Flips and Kodaks though.

- Still: any available still camera (personal or UW-stocked).

- Video Editing: We'll use Adobe Premiere (installed on the Dell computers in CMU
302). We'll be teaching the basics of editing, but if you decide you would like to use a
different platform, that's fine. As long as the final product is outputted to a common
video format (tbd.), it doesn't matter how you get there. I'm also happy to provide
individual assistance outside of class to help refine your techniques. If you want to
get started on this, check out some free online tutorials from the UW's Learning and
Scholarly Technologies on Digital Video (for Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere).

- Online Distribution: YouTube, FlipTheMedia.com. Possibly Intersect.com

- Soundtrack production: Apple GarageBand/Soundtrack Pro, Adobe Soundbooth,

music in the public domain or music that we can freely license.

If any or all of this makes little sense to you now, don't worry, we'll explain it all in



10 Deliverable #1: 1-minute oral self introduction with physical artifact (due Class 1)
10 Deliverable #2: 1 to 2-minute video with images and narration (due Class 2)
10 Deliverable #3: 2-minute in-camera edit film (due Class 4)
10 Deliverable #4: Strategy pitch (due Class 4, bring 1 page hard copy to turn it at
beginning of class) -- feel free to turn in earlier if you'd like to discuss next steps.
05 Deliverable #5 Substantive Comment on Media Space TV salon (due January 20)
10 Deliverable #6: Story pitch
10 Deliverable #7: First cut (due Class 7 -- upload to YouTube/Vimeo for in-class
viewing - and post link to the Media Space to make it really easy for us!) --
exceptionally, a fully-developed storyboard if you're missing elements/still shooting.
25 Deliverable #8: Client film (due Class 8), uploaded to Media Space as YouTube
link. Turn in release forms.
10 Participation
5 - Minute Papers to Media Space group page (at least 5, one per a specific
5 - 3 (three) meaty, substantive comments to Hanson's Storytelling Book on
Scribd (see the bottom right-hand corner of the screen for the comments input
box), Storytelling blog, or to "Flip The Media" [or a mix thereof...e-mail me the text of
the three comments by March 3rd]

To see the output of the 2010 Storytelling class, check out the class Media Space

Final Grade
Your final grade will be based on the total points received. The following is the scale
used to determine the final grade.

* 95-100 = 4.0
* 90-94.9 = 3.9
* 87-89 = 3.7
* 84-86.9 = 3.5
* 80-83.9 = 3.2
* 77-79.9 = 2.8

Our typical class will consist of a lecture that focuses on the week’s subject matter,
followed by discussion. Many classes will include expert guest speakers with whom
we will engage in a two-way conversation from the outset about our projects.

Although we will teach some skills in filmmaking, editing, etc. we'll also draw upon
resources within the UW, including free Catalyst classes to help refine your
techniques. There'll also be a lot of guided self-learning as we seek to further
develop our initial creations, and push the limits of accessible, consumer-grade

I intend to make this a collaborative environment. This means:

- Everyone is expected to participate in class discussions.
- Once we've met once or twice, I'll fine-tune the syllabus to ensure you get as much
value out of the class as possible.
- There'll be some group work, particularly in the skills-based workshop, but students
will be free to choose how they work on their assignments (individually or in teams).

CLASS 1 – January 4 Introduction to Storytelling: Structure

- Reading for Week 1: Tierno, first 99 pages.
- DUE IN CLASS Deliverable 1: create a 1 minute oral presentation that somehow
tells your story (with a beginning, middle and end), and highlight that story by
bringing a physical artifact to class (photograph, souvenir, etc). MAXIMUM 1 minute,
along with a 1 paragraph "ACTION-IDEA" summary as explained by Tierno (which
you'll submit on a physical piece of paper). This can be a particular episode in your
life, or your life's story. [Lambert's Cookbook (Chapters 1 & 2) might also help you
with this assignment]. No need to memorize, you can read from a sheet of paper,
but please do so with verbal passion.

CLASS PREZI http://prezi.com/bkk3zrgj04tj/com-583-week-1-2011/

- Adobe Premiere workshop.

- Assignment: Deliverable 2 for Class 2 now take your narrative and cover it with
imagery (2 minute maximum). Uploaded to VIMEO and the class VIMEO group
page, URL posted to Media Space group page.
- Assignment: Deliverable 3 for Class 4 create a 2-minute (max) video with a
beginning, middle and end – without editing. Uploaded to VIMEO, the class VIMEO
group page, URL posted to Media Space group page.

CLASS 2 – January 11 Strategy for the Shoot, Strategy for the Story
- READING for Week 2 YouTube article (PDF on Media Space
http://mediaspace.washington.edu/ms/mediaspace/pg/file/group:5572821), Lambert
Chapters 1 & 2, Hewitt Chapters 1 & 2
CLASS PREZI http://prezi.com/r86deg1ufkdt/com-583-storytelling-week-2/
- Hanson and Scott's Detroit Uprising film as model.
- Crafting a strategy for the client.
- The Logline and pitching a story.
- Pacific Science Center client presentation.
- Assignment: Deliverable 4 develop a strategic storytelling pitch for Pacific
Science Center client (or an organization with whom you'd like to work). 1 page
maximum: who are you trying to reach? logline, 3-act story, technology/production?
distribution platform? Other considerations? Hewitt p. 62-68 might help, as well as
Chapter 10.

CLASS 3 -- January 18 Storytelling and the Digital Age: Who Owns the Pipes
and What Does that Mean?

*****************************LOCATION FOR THIS CLASS IS THE WALKER-AMES

- READING FOR WEEK 3: Placing the Camera in the Community (PDF on Media
Space http://mediaspace.washington.edu/ms/mediaspace/pg/file/group:5572821)
- DUE: logline for your assigned classmate to Vimeo group page. Bring
Strategy Pitch (Deliverable #4) for submission if you'd like feedback ahead of
time, otherwise, it's due on 1/22.
- "public storytelling salon" at Kane Hall, Walker-Ames Room.
- Watch Media Space TV live episode with transmedia storytelling guru Brent
Friedman live from Walker Ames. Bonus point for question to #mediaspace before
TV show or during the show (6:00-6:30 p.m.)
- Open conversation about storytelling and digital platforms (who owns what, what
does that mean for content creators who want to make a living?). Other community
experts to engage class in discussion.
- More class critique of Deliverable #2.
- Assignment Deliverable 5: Substantive Comment on our storytelling salon (due
by Thursday, January 20th to Hanson's post on his Storytelling blog). You may
comment on the substance of the conversation, or on your thoughts on "best
practices" to convene community through live events paired with multimedia such as
Media Space TV. I've also cross-posted to Flip The Media, if you'd rather comment
there -- thought this is a separate deliverable from your three-comment requirement
for the course.

CLASS 4 -- January 22nd Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Making Movies

- Reading for Class 4: Lambert Chapters 3 & 4; Hewitt Chapter 6, 10, 13
- DUE IN CLASS DELIVERABLE 3 (for discussion), Deliverable 4 Strategy
Pitch, bring to class 1 page hard copy to turn in/discuss
- Interviewing workshop with Ross Reynolds
- In-camera edit show & tell: discuss framing, structure
- Shooting exercises; some editing.

CLASS 5- February 1 Communities and Legalities

- Reading for Class 5: Hewitt p.85-91, Chapter 11; Handler, Chapters 12, 13 (PDF
link; this reading is now OPTIONAL).
- Lecture: Legalities, budget.
- Lecture: Building a community. Hanson and Scott's Detroit film (link).
- Strategy Discussion: Pacific Science Center/other clients. Speed matchmaking.



- Assignment Deliverable 6: Story pitch for Pacific Science Center,or a pitch for a
story of your own; for submission and discussion in Class 6. With "logline",
overview/abstract (1 pg maximum -- hand in a hard copy in class, and present orally
(with "verbal passion!"). This optional reading may help you: Osgoode Visual
Storytelling Ch1 (link). Sample pitch: Independent America Rising from Ruins Pitch

CLASS 6 – February 8 Technology


Class Slides: https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=d7qhh2s_241c7hcv6d8

- Branded content and the BMW films.
- Discussion: Story pitches.
- Discussion: next steps for filmmaking.

- Due CLASS 7 5-slide/image storyboard of your film to show in class: (not

graded) enough to provide a sense of imagery and structure to the class.
- Assignment Deliverable 7: First cut of Client Film. Due Week 8, Feb 22nd.

CLASS 7 – February 15 Narrative in the Edit Room

-Hanson's Rising from Ruins film: the story behind the story (filming, editing, writing,
-Scott on asset management, story flow and output.
-Good summary of video and audio codecs http://diveintohtml5.org/video.html
-5-slide storyboard of your film to show in class: (not graded) enough to provide a
sense of imagery and structure to the class.
-Guest Lecturer: Guy Morris, iVN Entertainment -- innovation in immersive

CLASS 8 – February 22 Are We There Yet?

- First cut in-class screening of client films. Upload your first-cuts to the Vimeo
group for in-class viewing.
- Comprehensive critique.
- GUEST LECTURER: Tad Harmon 206 Inc. Agency on Prius engagement
campaign, storytelling strategy.

CLASS 9 – March 1 Film Festival/The Future of Storytelling is Now

SPACE GROUP PAGE, as well as to the VIMEO GROUP PAGE. Turn in hard
copies of release forms.
- In-Class presentation of final client films. Turn in videos and releases.
- GUEST LECTURER: Steve Clayton, Microsoft's Storyteller.


The Master of Communication in Digital Media is a degree program for working

professionals, intended to balance fundamental theory and concepts with practical
tools. It focuses on the economic, political, social and cultural impact of new
communication technologies and encourages students to apply these concepts to
their spheres of interest.

Many of our students are looking to advance their careers – some within their
present organizations, others in new professional directions. They want a new
perspective on technology. Although a few may pursue additional studies after
completing the MCDM, the MCDM is not integrated into the Communication
Department doctoral program.
At the end of the program, students should be able to:

- Identify and analyze the impacts of current digital media technology on business
and social institutions.

- Understand how to use digital media tools to create and convey a message.

- Apply new business and management models based upon or impacted by digital

The MCDM provides high quality instruction with conceptual and practical
applications. As such:

- The course plan should clearly lay out expectations and learning objectives.

- Class projects should flow directly from larger learning objectives.

- Grading and workload (3 hours a week per credit hour including class time) at this
grad school level should also reflect that most students are working full-time, which
may require instructors to be realistic, and flexible, in their expectations.

- A 3.5 - 4.0 grade reflects a substantive ability to master the course content, reflect
upon it critically, fully participate in class, and express oneself in a way that expands
the scope of the content beyond how it has been traditionally understood.

- A 3.0 – 3.4 grade reflects the ability to assimilate course content, understand its
implications, express oneself clearly, and obvious progress in learning.

- A minimum of 2.7 is required for each course that is counted towards the degree.

- Final grades should be submitted in a timely manner.

Our students are expected to:

- Write coherently and clearly, completing assignments on time and as directed.

- Not miss more than two classes a quarter, unless due to extreme circumstances.

- Engage as much as possible with colleagues and the instructor.

- Stay current with the latest developments in digital media.


To request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disability
Resources for Students, 448 Schmitz, 206-543-8924/V, 206-5430-8925/TTY. If you
have a letter from Disability Resources for Students indicating that you have a
disability that requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to me so
we can discuss the accommodations that you might need for the class.


Email communications among MCDM members should seek to respect the rights
and privileges of all members of the academic community. This includes not
interfering with university functions or endangering the health, welfare, or safety of
other persons. With this in mind, in addition to the University of Washington's
Student Conduct Code, the MCDM establishes the following standards of conduct in
respect to electronic communications among students and faculty:

• Email communications should be limited to occasional messages necessary to the

specific educational experience at hand.

• Email communications should be responded to, if at all possible, within 48 hours. In

particular regard to student communications with faculty, if an email from a student to
a faculty member does not receive a response within 48 hours, then the student
should investigate other ways of contacting the instructor (telephone, office hours,

• Email communications should not include any CCing of anyone not directly
involved in the specific educational experience at hand.

• Email communications should not include any blind-CCing to third parties,

regardless of the third party’s relevance to the matter at hand.



I’m happy to confer with students on a regular basis – in person (before or after
class, or by appointment), and by e-mail. I usually check my campus e-mail several
times a day M-Th, less frequently on F-Su. Please use clear subject lines (add
“urgent” if the message is time sensitive). Expect to get a reply back within 24 hours,
so take this into account if you’re close to a project deadline.

If you disagree with a grade that you receive:

(1) Wait 24 hours after I return your assignment.
(2) Re-read the graded assignment.
(3) Write your reasons for disagreement with the grade.
(4) Turn in your note indicating your reasons for disagreement, along with your
graded assignment.

I will contact you and make an appointment to discuss the issue with you within 48
Please note, this syllabus is not a contract, and is subject to revision at any time
(although the deadlines for assignment will not change, unless by mutual
agreement). Should there be any revision, students will be notified accordingly.