November 2007

When youtube became popular last year I found it intriguing. Even though I had been making and sharing videos on the web for years without a problem, the youtube mechanism lowered the bar for everyone. Anyone with a computer and enough creative spark to push start on their camera suddenly had an audience, a video management system, and a community to play to.

I bought an Xacti video camera. Small enough to fit in a pocket, and fairly inexpensive, it could give me the option of recording things I might want to share. All my experiences could be sharable. Everyday we live stories, why not tell them?

The problem is, having the instrument doesn’t give you something to play. I think telling stories and sharing human experience is fundamental to how we connect with others, and in general, we’re all terrible at it. I realized I have no idea about how stories are constructed. I like hearing the stories of others, and it’s easy to criticize stories in terms of how they could be better, but when it comes to starting from scratch, I can’t see the shapes in my own building blocks. Stories have patterns, basic elements, that blend together into a yarn. I suppose the best way is not to overthink it, but just start doing it. Learn by trial and error. Bring some kind of structure to it and see what happens. Like anything else, with practice, the patterns will begin to emerge.