Digital storytellers are made, not born. One place they're made is the Digital Storytelling Bootcamp, held each year in Crested Butte. FC's Dan Pink enrolled in this year's camp. Here's his story.
I arrive in Colorado with a manila folder bulging with 19 photos. My 11 fellow enlistees include an artist from Hallmark Cards and a Netscape technical writer. Our instructors: Joe Lambert and Nina Mullen — who are husband and wife, and digital-storytelling pioneers. Our task: to create a story by 4 p.m. on Wednesday. We get crash courses in Adobe Premiere (a movie-editing application) and Photoshop. I write a script and scan images. Before I know it, the sun is setting over the Rockies.
Using Macromedia SoundEdit 16 and a nifty iMac, I record my script. It takes me 90 minutes to develop 3 minutes and 54 seconds of decent stuff. "Welcome to multimedia," Joe cackles.
At noon, Dana Atchley, the guru of digital storytelling, ambles in. "It's publish or perish!" he barks. I may perish: Toward the end of my film, there's an 18-second gap. I'm out of images. I grab a CD-ROM filled with stock photos. Then my computer crashes. It's 3:30. I reboot. My adrenaline is racing now. Finally, I'm done — except that I don't have any music. Enter Nina. She elbows me aside, and in five minutes of clicking and tapping, she fixes my soundtrack. It's now 5:30. I've blown the deadline, but I've got a movie.
My masterpiece appears on a large screen. The crowd applauds. In my head, I thank all of the little people who made this day possible.
You can reach Joe Lambert and Nina Mullen at the Center for Digital Storytelling (www.storycenter.org).
A version of this article appeared in the January 1999 issue of Fast Company magazine.