As I am not finished my digital story, I will analyze and critique the process I am going through with my project. So in the initial stages of identifying the subject I wanted to do my project on I made mind maps of topics that I found interesting. I think this was a good way to approach this assignment as picking something that had of interest and fascination to me meant it had a personal element to it which is important in story telling because it brings more connection and emotion to what you are creating. After mind mapping some thoughts I then tried to think which was going to be the most manageable in my time frame, and what would be interesting to the most people with an element about it that hasn’t been looked at before which I think are three of the most important elements of coming up with a digital story. After the help from my class I decided on doing a project about Dystonia.
Dystonia is a group of rare conditions that are a neurological disorder where the brain and nervous system are somewhat disconnected, resulting in the brain not sending the correct signals to different muscles which can happen specifically in one part of your body or lots of parts of your body. I specifically took the angle of looking people with dystonia and their connection with music, I found out that for some people dystonia can be triggered from playing an instrument or singing “musicians dystonia” or “vocal dystonia”, or for some they have dystonia, but then discover they can sing very well even though they find it extremely difficult to talk. I think in terms of my researching for the project I worked hard to gain an in depth knowledge on the topic. I spent hours and hours for at least a week reading different articles, blog posts, medical websites, watching videos about the subject, making my feel confident about the topic, which I think will shine through when my documentary is finished. I think the contributors I talked to for my documentary couldn’t have got much better, as instead of just answering the questions I asked, they really just told their personal journeys, they created a lot of emotion, and a picture of what it is really like to live with dystonia, the isolation it can cause and the frustration of not being able to do simple things they once could. But then to hear how they have used music to help over come some obstacles of their condition is a positive spin on the situation, they said a lot of very interesting things and their voices are easy for the listener to be engaged with, like Alexa Bilworth says in Reality Radio: Telling true stories in Sound about “some voices have poetry that is unlike just meaning, the way people speak with pauses, stutters, stumbles, abruptions”. The fact I travelled to Essex and Birmingham to do my story shows my commitment to the story. My documentary, educates, but also brings emotion. I transcribed my interviews so I could then choose a way to intertwine my two people’s stories and I think this will create a good flow to the digital story.
I think in terms of production, picking a subject that has a musical element to it has helped in terms of sound other than speech. I have been able to use music played/sung by my interviewees, and I have also been able to have a poem a contributor wrote about her condition mixed into the sound with has a very powerful effect when listened to, it feels a special moment to be a part of. Also again with what I could get hold of I have manage to use a range/variety of different footage, photos, video interviews, old footage of getting treated for the condition, the interviewees playing guitar and singing, which I think all really adds to what is being said but not distracting you from the audio. I would have liked more time for editing as it did have a lot of complications on the way, but they were nobody’s fault. Over all I feel like I have created something that has many good components to make a good digital story, and I feel like I have created a relationship between the interviewees and listener that should be acknowledged.