Disneyland and Storytelling


Let me just put this out there and let everyone know once and for all that I am a total Disneyland nut.  And while I am not ashamed of this fact, I will also be one of the first to say that I know the reasoning behind this is deeply psychological.  Disneyland holds a great amount of nostalgia for me (as I think it does for many people).  Trips to Disneyland were associated with memories of my family — and somehow those memories are always stronger when they are from a vacation.

I think that anyone would agree that the real draw behind Disneyland is storytelling.  Walt was a master storyteller and it really shows in his park.  I have taken trips to other theme parks (Magic Mountain, Universal Studios, Chessington World of Adventures) and while each had thrilling rides (Chessington, not so much) anyone would agree that their storytelling is sub-par.  Before my most recent trip, I read David Koenig’s Mouse Tales.  Probably the thing that I got most out of that book is the fact that good storytelling takes effort and preparation.  Disneyland is willing to pay the big bucks because it know that money is necessary to fill in the holes in the walls of storytelling.  In the same way that extraneous details can ruin a story (think about your aunt going on and on about something), Disney knew that he must keep those details hidden.  Nothing should be extraneous.  Everything should support the plot.

Anyway, here is my most recent video from a trip that my entire family took to Disneyland, and while I may not have captured the stories of Disneyland, I hopefully captured the story of my family and our experience with that place.


My work thus far

Design, ds106, photography

It’s tough to write about my own work that I’ve created in this class, because I’ve mostly been blown away by the other work that I have seen in the class.  It is truly great to see so many people putting their time into often non-required material.  I think we are all here to develop our skills and share in this learning environment, and that is something that I would love to emulate more in my own classroom.

Probably the thing that I am most proud of in this class is The Post Post show.  To tell the truth, I’ve always wanted to be a radio dj, and this show really came out of that desire.  I’ve created 4 shows thus far and it is one of my favorite activities that I get to do during the week.  I’m grateful for all of the kind feedback that others in the class have given me.

I’m also grateful for the dailyshoot project.  While I do fancy myself an amateur photographer, this is the first time that I have participated in such a program.  I know it sounds cliche, but I really felt as though the dailyshoot challenges forced me to see differently.  I was constantly thinking in terms of angles and depth of field, and I think that process really helped me spur on my photography.  Here are some of my favorite images:

I took this photo in the hallway at my school and I really love it.  I love the softness that the fluorescent lights produce, it makes it feel almost as if it is from a sci-fi movie — Solaris (The Russian One).

The challenge for this day was “depth and dimension”.  I spent about 30 minutes walking around downtown Kirkland, hoping that I would find the right image.  I saw this doorway and loved how I could see through this pathway onto the other side, however there were all sorts of reflections that wanted to mess with me.  I was almost tempted to find another shot.  I am so glad that I embraced the reflections and came up with this otherworldly image.

This one I actually cheated on:  I took it the day before.  I was in the elevator at the school and I loved the look of the joint between the wall and the fluorescent light overhead (here I go with the fluorescents again).  I just thought I would keep it for good measure and it proved to be perfect for the next days challenge.  I really like this image — like a found Mark Rothko.

What do you guys think?  Am I full of myself?  Are there images that you liked more than these?

Course Favorites Thus Far


DS106 has gone in waves for me and I am still not sure what it is.  In the beginning of the class, I remember stressing out over my first story — I was still in the mindset of I needed to do a project as outlined and I need to do it to impress other people in the class.  I think this has been one of the things that has been difficult for me in approaching digital storytelling as a design instructor.  So much of what I do professionally relies upon production value and instilling the importance of it in my student.  DS106, on the other hand, has been about harnessing raw creative energy and I frequently find that I need to tell myself to let go and just let the content be king.

What I am most grateful for is the connections that I’ve made through the class.  There are some coolies out there doing some awesome work and the purpose of this post is really to show off that stuff that I love.  So here we go:

I love this image from image from Stephanie based on Tim Owen’s Big Picture Assignment.  The coloring on the image is striking and I love love love the font.  The font plays so great into the negative space of the photo.  This is really so good.

This image from Tim is great and reflects much of what I want to make art about in the coming months and years.  My wife’s impending birth is going to transform what I do as an artist and I fully expect to be creating monthly videos on the progress of my son.  In fact this image from Tim made me decide that I want to start a new art movement: Dadcore.  Any joiners?

I loved Andrew’s slideshare story “Andy Goes to the Apple Store”.  I have used slideshare before in my classes, but I never realized how it could be used as such a great tool for telling stories, especially stories that are more structured like children’s books.  It would be great to combine this delivery format with Alan Levine’s 5 Card Flickr story to create a more cohesive method of delivery.

Speaking of energy, Aaron’s 4 icon challenge was pretty killer.  I think I spent a lot of time getting caught up in how I would use Illustrator (which I don’t know how to use) to create icons.  Aaron instead uses the original Illustrator (a pencil) and comes up with some rad images from one of my favorite films.

Megan’s Star Wars Facebook project might be one of the masterpieces of ds106.  The project is so darn clever.  The writing style shows that brevity can sometime be the best component of good storytelling.  She says just enough (and doesn’t rely on Jar Jar Binks for the laughts).  Good work Megan!

More interaction with the human, still missing the focus

While we are on the subject of masterpieces, I was thoroughly impressed with Tom Woodward’s Stranger Portrait Series.  They are compelling photograph’s and all really good examples of the way in which ds106 has pushed students to leave their comfort zones and move into some uncharted territory.  The above photo is so strong in terms of focus, color, and lighting.

I could keep going on and on, but I need to cut this off.  For the last part of my post I will highlight a few of my favorite ds106 dailyshoots:


The Daily Shoot #ds444 – Newsworthy

Concrete Sky

Elementary Hallway

The Daily Shoot #ds446 – Sense of depth or dimension

The Daily Shoot #ds448 – Creative photo of ubiquitous power point (plug)


The Daily Shoot #ds450 – Illustrate preparedness

Following the line...

claim them as yours

I am so grateful to be in the presence of everyone in this class.  I’ve made a lot of important connections that I hope to maintain throughout the years and I know that the work that I have seen will continue to push me to challenge my own abilities as a designer and storyteller.