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!
Download 5 Ways Storytelling Empowers Teen Girls.