Station 2 : Build International Understanding through Personal Stories
There is no better way to build international understanding than through sharing our personal stories. When we learn about each other’s experiences, ideas, beliefs, contexts and cultures we celebrate the rich diversity of our planet and its peoples, and promote meaningful and lasting understanding, empathy and respect. In this way we can offer each other a window into our own world as one that might be unfamiliar to them, but shares some similarities and common concerns all the same.
In Round Square we talk about having a Spirit of Internationalism when you seek to discover the world through connecting with people from different countries and cultures, and develop intercultural understanding by exchanging points of view and ideas across borders. And that all begins with a readiness and willingness to share your own life story, or personal experiences, and an interest in hearing about the lives and experiences of others.
What personal story do you have to share that will inform and inspire audiences around the world?… before you answer that question…
Watch and learn:
Watch the film below and consider the following questions (and make notes/ draw sketches). At the end we will ask you to recreate the film’s storyboard, using sketches and notes to capture the story through its most impactful and critical scenes, frames and shots.
- Where does the story start?
- Who are the main characters?
- What happens?
- What is the message you leave the viewer with at the end?
Click the image below to watch the film ‘The Whale Who Saved Me’ and be ready to enter the password ‘WaterBearOriginals2021’.
Learn by doing
Using the notes you took and sketches you made whilst watching the film, have a go at recreating its storyboard. Think about which scenes were most impactful or pivotal, which you felt changed the course of action in the story, which conveyed the key messages of the film. Those are the moments you should aim to capture in the storyboard, which is also about what you leave out, as well as what you leave in… can you summarise the essence and mood of the film you watched in just a few static illustrations? Practicing this in reverse will help you later when you create a storyboard for your own film idea.
You might want to download the Storyboard Worksheet and use it for this activity.
Watch some more:
If you have access to the WaterBear web site in your part of the world, you might want to take a look at some of these films as a source of inspiration as you develop a storyboard for your own idea.
- ‘Muerta Ed Vida: Death is Life’
- ‘Returning Patrula’
- ‘Fire/ The Scout’
If you cannot access the WaterBear website, there are a selection of WaterBear film trailers on their YouTube channel HERE.
Now think about the personal story you might tell and sketch out a storyboard
Now it’s your turn to draft a storyboard for your own film idea, to capture your vision for how the story might be told. If you are aged 11-13 you use your finished storyboard as part of your Round Square competition entry. If you are over the age of 13 and are planning to enter WaterBear’s ReScript the Future Competition, drawing up a storyboard in sketch form will help you to think about how to describe your film through images, pictures, sounds in your application, and explain “your intended artistic approach that informs the storytelling”.
Here are some tips for getting started:
- Plan your perspective. In the case of personal stories, how will you use the visuals of your film to convey your views on this issue and give the audience a window into your own experiences.
- Think about the style and the mood you want to convey. Does your topic demand urgency, humour, understanding, awe? Will your film be astonishing, challenging, funny, sad? Will rapidly changing sequences of shots help to build excitement and action? Will long sweeping shot draw us deeper into the emotion of a story?
- Make a shot list. Think about how particular camera angles might help to tell your story, or make a moment more impactful.
- Sketch it out. Make a rough plan for your storyboard. Don’t be timid about moving shots around at this stage to get the story sequence how you want it. This is your opportunity to visualise how the story will flow and capture the most important moments.
- Fill in details. Your storyboard has to contain the most important elements of each scene in a static image, which is a hard thing to do. Don’t worry about artistic skill – stick-men are fine at this point and you can add notes below the scene to help to explain what is happening in that scene.
- Add narration. Once you’ve created the images, it might help to add some words to explain the narration at this point and give more context about what’s going on.
- Enjoy the process of capturing and sharing your vision for your story. If you are excited to share your idea, that excitement will come through in your storyboard.