Mobile Storytelling Workshop in Paris October 19-20
We are living in a mobile-first world. With non-stop access to their phones, people are accessing — and engaging with — lifestyle, art, travel and branded content on Instagram and Facebook more than ever. But creating a compelling mobile-first story takes more than being #blessed.
This two-day intensive workshop, led by former New York Times senior editor for digital storytelling, Erin Brown, will give you all the tools and techniques you need to bring your audience into an immersive experience on the platforms where they already spend their time — Instagram and Facebook. We'll learn how to write tight and compelling scripts for mobile-first stories, refine our photography and videography skills with an eye towards what works for social media, and learn how to use platform tools to tell our stories . Erin will share strategies for growing an audience on mobile platforms and how to get that community to connect with your work elsewhere.
October 19th and 20th, in Paris
Tuition for the two-day workshop: $1,000
To sign up, email erinclare [dot] brown [at] gmail.com
DAY ONE —
The Case For Mobile Storytelling
Why should we be telling stories designed specifically for mobile? Why should be we making those stories on mobile phones? In the introduction to the course, we tackle the questions of what mobile storytelling is and why it is important. We’ll look at the trajectory of mobile growth, and talk about user experience.
Then, we’ll dive into what makes a story mobile first. (Mobile first stories: are direct and contained; feel intimate and personal; pull readers in right away and move quickly; and understand that text is the most flexible medium.) We will look at and critique examples from major news outlets as well as from independent journalists and influencers. We’ll dissect them to uncover what works and what doesn’t. We will take note of everything from story pacing and length to the amount of text on a given slide.
Mobile Story Arcs and Breaking the Mold
Once we’ve learned more about what makes for a good mobile-first story, we’ll dive into the structure of our own stories. We’ll look at and critique various examples for how to compose a story arc. We’ll talk about how to shift thinking away from the inverted pyramid or linear narrative to create a captivating story.
Building A Story Through Images
This is the most intensive of the sessions: It dives into the nuts and bolts of telling a story through images, and how to capture them using different techniques. The session focuses on the four major elements of visual storytelling : setting the scene, understanding the characters, building tension and emotion, and following the action. Within each of these themes, we will look at examples drawn from the best photographers photojournalists around the world, then dive into learning a technique (composition, lighting, working with subjects, videography), trying each one out and looking at our own work. We’ll learn techniques to re-adjust our creative vision to a vertical frame, and lightweight workflows for shooting in the field — either with traditional video equipment or on mobile.
We’ll finish the day by heading out into the golden hour in beautiful Montmartre, to capture a story of light and liveliness. We’ll flex our new skills and learn together as we look for new ways to see one of the most iconic and photographed neighborhoods in Europe.
Session four —
Assembly and Production for a great mobile story
We’ll take all our images and footage from day 1 and learn all the hacks, tips, tricks and third-party tools to make an instagram story shine. We’ll work on writing a script, selecting and editing our images and footage, and producing our first story top to bottom.
Now that you’ve seen what works — and what doesn’t — in your first story, we’ll head back out to give it another go. This time, we’ll visit a beautiful ceramics atelier and follow their process and hear their stories.
Session five —
Strategy, Growth and Sustainability
This session will dive into the strategy behind mobile-first stories. We’ll cover topics like: growing your audience; developing a tone that balances authority with accessibility; cultivating and maintaining a consistent visual voice; how to select the ‘native’ platform for a story, and when & how to retrofit it for other platforms; building trust with your audience, sourcing from them, and reflecting their efforts back to them; and planning an editorial calendar for mobile-first production.
We’ll also have time at the end of the day to go through ideas, story pitches, and any other additional bits we wanted more time with along the way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who is this workshop for? I know you usually work with journalists… and I’m not one!
A: This workshop is a bit different than my usual journalism workshops: it is less news-centric and more focused on storytelling, so it is ideal for anyone who wants to know how to tell stories on mobile platforms with more skill and finesse, whether you are an artist, a writer, a journalist or someone who owns a business and wants to be able to tell your own story better. The most important thing is that you have an interest in telling a compelling story and are open to trying new things.
Q: Does the workshop fee cover airfare and hotel? What about food?
A: The fee for the workshop does not cover airfare or a hotel. It does cover a picnic lunch on day one, but otherwise I think you’ll want to indulge in the delights of Parisian dining and I’ll leave it to you to decide what that is.
Q: Where should I stay in Paris?
A: We left hotels up to our guests, so that they can book according to their comfort. There are plenty of incredible hotels and Airbnbs in Paris. Erin is staying in the 10th, and we’ll be shooting in the 18th our first evening. But Paris is easy to navigate — I just wouldn’t suggest staying outside the city.
Q: What if I don’t have an Instagram account?
A: We’ll get you all set up with one! This workshop is designed for all levels and abilities, and we’ll learn together and help one another get to where we need to be.
Q: Do I need any fancy equipment?
A: The short answer is — absolutely not. If you have a smartphone, you can make incredible stories. We will send out a list of optional supplies to bring (things like an extra battery pack and charging cable), but absolutely none of it is required.