Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest

Tuition for Fall Workshop

The Digital Storytelling Fall Workshop is $150 per student. The workshop will be held at Emerald Art Center in Springfield, Oregon. Dates: 9/25/18, 10/2/18, 10/9/18, 10/16/18, 10/23/18, and 10/30/18. Time: 7:00-8:30 pm. The workshop is open to teen girls ages 11-17.


Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest is an arts-based education program that teaches teen girls how to make their own short, personal narratives using creative writing and video. We are located in Eugene, Oregon.

Workshop for Teen Girls

Our teen girls’ workshop empowers young women to find their voices though filmmaking and literary art. During the workshop, each student writes, films, edits and produces several short films.

Why a Workshop Just For Girls? 

We live in a world where media and mass culture constantly bombard teen girls with messages about how they should look, behave, and think. Our workshop is a safe, supportive community for girls to experiment with creative writing and technology. We give students the opportunity to tell their stories and show us what they think and feel.

Our Guiding Principles

  • TEAMWORK: We teach technological and artistic skills in a team-oriented atmosphere that encourages communication and cooperation.
  • SMALL CLASSES: Class sizes are limited to eight students, so teachers can give focused one-on-one instruction.
  • CONVENIENT LOCATION: The Fall workshop meets at the Emerald Art Center, 500 Main Street, Springfield, OR 97477.
  • SKILLS-BASED: Students learn the following skills:
    • Creative writing
    • Storyboarding
    • Video Production:
      • Setting up scenes
      • Set design
      • Directing
      • Filming
    • Videography
    • Editing
    • Special effects
    • Animation

Contact: Send an email to Erica Goss, DS Director, if you have any questions.



Hard to believe, but in just seven days we will welcome our students to Digital Storytelling’s Fall Workshop. We’re ready to get started!

Some of the things I’ve been thinking about as we complete our preparations for next Tuesday:

  • The power of the human voice
  • The importance of excellent sound in recordings (viewers will forgive mediocre visuals, but never bad sound quality)
  • The amazing discovery of the green (or blue) screen, also known as chroma key, which allows filmmakers to create different backgrounds after the scene has been filmed

We’ll cover all of these and much more in the six-week workshop starting September 25 at the Emerald Art Center in Springfield.



Autumn outdoor portrait of a African American young woman

We’re getting ready for the Fall Workshop! We’re finishing the curriculum, upgrading software, making sample videos, and all of the dozens of tasks that still need to be finished. In the meantime, here’s the story of film pioneer Alice Guy-Blaché, whose contributions to film were almost forgotten.


According to a report from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, “Women comprised just 7 percent of all directors working
Screen Shot 2018-09-10 at 1.42.15 PMon the 250 highest-grossing domestic releases in 2016, a decline of two percentage points from the level achieved in 2015 and in 1998.” (Variety, 1/12/17.)

This lack of women film directors wasn’t always the case.

Alice Guy-Blaché (1873-1968) was a French-American filmmaker, director, screenwriter, producer and actress. She was one of the first female film directors, and, at age 23, made her first feature film. She was a pioneer in synching sound to moving film, made the earliest known film starring an all-African American cast, and was the first woman to build and run a film studio.

Alice’s first film was titled La Fée aux Choux (The Fairy of the Cabbages) and was the first, if not one of the first, narrative films. Before Alice, most films weren’t stories; Alice changed that with La Fée. She also insisted that her actors “be natural,” a departure from the style of over-acting common at the time.

Between 1896 and 1920, Alice directed over 1,000 films. In spite of this achievement, she was almost completely forgotten until recently, when director Pamela Green released Be Natural,  a documentary about Alice’s life.

For more information about women pioneers in film, visit the Women Film Pioneers Project.

Sign up here for Digital Storytelling’s Fall Workshop.

Chickens Star in Haiku Video!

The visual haiku is a video art form that follows the rules of haiku poetry: three short scenes, each a few seconds in length, that illuminate a moment in time. Traditional haiku finds its subject in the human experience of nature, but poets have written haiku about many other topics.

At Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest, our students will learn how to create their own visual haiku. It’s an easy, fun and endlessly creative way to make lots of beautiful, short videos.

Using a watercolor I made a few years ago and a couple of scenes of my backyard chickens, I made this haiku video last weekend. I used Adobe Premiere Pro to edit and color-correct.


Girl making a picture with an old camera

Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest is the daughter of Media Poetry Studio, an arts-based educational program for teen girls that started in 2014. Here’s the story of how Media Poetry Studio came to be:

In the Spring of 2014, California Bay Area Poets Laureate Erica Goss, Jennifer Swanton Brown and David Perez had an epiphany while discussing their plans as community poets. We wanted to reach out to young people, to involve them in creative writing, and make opportunities for them in the literary arts. Over several discussions, we developed a two-week summer camp for teen girls, one where they learned how to make short films based on their own poems. We called it Media Poetry Studio, and our students’ work can be viewed here.

In 2017, Erica moved to Eugene, Oregon, and began Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest. We offer a summer camp and workshops throughout the school year. Our first Fall Workshop for Teen Girls begins on Tuesday, September 25, 2018.

Our mission: We empower young women to find their voices though filmmaking and literary art.

Our values and community focus: We value each student’s unique voice, talents, and abilities. Our workshop is a safe, supportive community for girls to experiment with creative writing and technology. We give students the opportunity to tell their stories and show us what they think and feel.

You can sign your daughter up here.

Please contact Erica Goss, Director, if you have any questions.



Hi! In this post, I’ll share the first week’s lesson plan for Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest’s Fall Workshop, and help explain our girls-only focus.

In every workshop:

  • 5-minute freewrite. Students write on daily topic.
  • Discussion regarding writing.
  • Instruction on an aspect of movie-making.
  • Time to experiment and work on projects.

Week 1, 9/25/18

  • Which stories do you want to tell? Some possibilities:
    • How-to: show us how to make something
    • Interview: interview yourself or someone else
    • Poetry: write a poem and use it as the text for a video
    • Story: use a story from your life or one you make up as the basis for a video
  • Video Skills.
    • Intro to filming using the Lumix GH4 and G7 cameras
      • Basic camera skills
      • Lighting, ISO, shutter speed, aperture setting
      • Tripods vs. monopods
      • Downloading video to hard drive

Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest is designed as a girls-only workshop. We want our female students to be center stage, without gender-based competition. Studies show that girls tend to shy away from technology in middle school, just as boys are gaining mastery: “many girls’ interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math wanes as they get older because of socialization and lack of exposure and access.”

We have to teach girls that technology can offer them a lot and it’s not very hard to use—they’re using it all the time. At Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest, we teach them to create art that they can be really proud of.



The split-screen effect is an easy way to add interest to a video. Below, we’ve created three sample videos using this technique.

NOTE: we used iMovie to make these samples.


Sample 1. Basic Split-Screen effect. Screen pushes from left to right.


Sample 2. Split-Screen with right clip reversed, using “vintage” and “blast” filters.


Sample 3. Picture-in-picture effect using “silent era” filter.


Digital Storytelling at the Emerald Art Center


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We’re happy to hold Digital Storytelling’s Fall Workshop at the Emerald Art Center in Springfield. The workshop will occur upstairs in the Mary Meeker Classroom. The Emerald Art Center is located at 500 Main Street in downtown Springfield. The Center includes galleries, workshops and classes for all ages, and a gift shop.

We can’t wait to get started!

Sign up here for our Fall Workshop for Teen Girls.


At Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest’s Fall Workshop, students will learn tips and techniques that will add interest and appeal to their videos. Three of my favorites are the mirror shot, overlays and see-through animated masks. I’ve added samples of these techniques for your review below.

NOTE: I used iMovie and Adobe Premiere Pro to make these samples. During the Fall Workshop, students will learn how to use both programs.

Sample 1. The mirror shot. I added music and a fade at the end.

Sample 2. Overlay. Light leaks give this clip a unique look. I added ocean and seagull sound.

Sample 3. See-through animated mask. I added ocean sounds.







The making of The Fairy House


Telling stories and craft-making are two healthy, creative activities that benefit teen girls, helping them gain confidence in their abilities and encouraging them to try new things. One of the options we offer our students at Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest is instruction in making the how-to or demonstration video.

My video “The Fairy House” is an example of a how-to, story-telling video. The inspiration came from a newspaper story about Theresa Ojibway, a woman from New Jersey who makes fairy houses. She makes tiny beds, chairs, ladders, and doors from natural materials, and leaves them in parks for children to find.

Theresa Ojibway’s story inspired me to create a video about a woman who makes fairy furniture. Over a two-week period in the summer of 2016, I did the following:

  • researched photographs of Ms. Ojibway’s creations,
  • made my own versions with twigs, glue, twine, fabric, and craft-store items,
  • wrote the screenplay,
  • filmed myself in my backyard.

It was an extremely enjoyable project, as it allowed me to fulfill the roles of screenwriter, actor (just my hands!), set designer, prop builder, videographer, editor, and producer. The only task I gave to someone else was that of narrator. A former student of mine allowed me to record her telling the story of the Fairy House. (My son painted the fairy-mobile.)

I filmed the scenes with redwood trees in a park near my house, and since it was summer, I had to deal the hard bright light. I used various settings in Adobe Premiere’s Lumetri Color to get the dreamy, brownish look of an old book or postcard. For the furniture-building scenes, I covered a plastic table with brown postal paper and shot some of the scenes through pots of flowers.

I have lots of “blooper” video, times when the wind scattered my carefully arranged twigs, or the fragile, twiggy furniture kept falling over, or when my dog, who appears at the end, refused to stay on camera. I’ve often thought of making a video of just those scenes!

Enrollment is open.



Erica Goss

Founder and Director

Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest

Guest Post from Kacie Clark, DST Instructor

photographing-a-photographer-1-1171600I’m happy to have a post from our instructor, Kacie Clark! Kacie writes about the need for healthy communities for teen girls, and how to help them feel valued and included.

Now that I’m expecting my own child, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and reflecting on my childhood and adolescence, and how I can help my child navigate through the inevitable rough patches that the teenage years, in particular, may bring.

The word “community” keeps reoccurring to me: community regarding feeling a sense of belonging, of kinship. I think one of the hardest parts of being a teenager is feeling like you’re alone in the universe; that you’re the only person like you and no one else can understand your struggles and your story. Having a place to create and nourish friendships with like-minded people would have been a huge boon for me.

At Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest, creating this sense of community is both integral to and inherent in the classes we teach: we encourage cooperation and trust between our girls to help foster the bonds of friendship and inclusion. We learn together, motivate and assist each other, and work together on our projects to create beautiful and meaningful pieces of art.

As late author Susan Vreeland wrote:

“Where there is no human connection, there is no compassion. Without compassion, then community, commitment, loving-kindness, human understanding, and peace all shrivel. Individuals become isolated, the isolated turn cruel, and the tragic hovers in the forms of domestic and civil violence. Art and literature are antidotes to that.”

In our classes, we ask our girls what they want to say to the world, what they want to share. By working together in a community, by creating ties to one another, one girl’s voice becomes many, becomes determined and strong.

Enrollment is open. 


Kacie Clark, Instructor, Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest