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Digital Storytelling Workshop Prep Information

Digital Story Production Checklist

Instructions for Photos and Videos

Story Privacy

Ideas for Getting Photos and Videos

Story Prompts


We will meet on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, May 20 to 22.
Each day will run from 9am to 5pm.


Venue TBD - please contact Nikki Calma for updated info.


We are happy you have decided to come to the workshop! It will be facilitated by Andrea Spagat, April Bell and Daniela Sirkin. Andrea has worked at StoryCenter as a workshop facilitator for 13 years. Her focus is on community health and she has been involved in many workshops over the years in which Transgender Women of Color tell their stories, including the workshop in which Nikki Calma made  her digital story.

April Bell has spent her professional life working in the field of public health. A Hoosier by birth and the youngest in a family of avid storytellers, she understood the power of story from at an early age. In addition to facilitating workshops with StoryCenter, April uses digital storytelling in her research to center and prioritize storytellers’ voices and experiences. Her research has taken her from Atlanta, GA to Accra, Ghana, among many other places and spaces.

Daniela Sirkin is an actor, producer, performance coach, and body activist committed to bringing more body diversity to everyday, consumable media. As a StoryCenter facilitator, she's passionate about supporting others in creating and publishing digital stories as a means for healing and transformation. In addition to facilitating with StoryCenter, she works as the Production Manager for Let it Ripple Film Studio and has starred in numerous award-winning Bay Area films. In all of her artistic endeavors, she aims for ease and inspiration throughout the creative process.


We want to make sure you have an enriching and rewarding experience, so … please read this checklist carefully! It will help you understand how to prepare and what to expect.

We will support you every step of the way!  The workshop will have it's hard moments, as we talk about experiences that have been challenging.  But we also want you to be excited about the story you decide to share and we want to give you as many tools as possible to share it in a way that makes you happy.

To Prepare:

  • Watch some stories.  The stories on the Transgender Law Center Positively Trans page are a good place to start. You can also watch these stories about healing.

  • Think about your story. There won’t be time to talk about all your experiences with safety and violence as a transgender and gender non-conforming person, so you will want to pick out a specific story that says something important about your life. You will work on your script together with the StoryCenter facilitators, who will support you in deciding what you feel comfortable sharing/not sharing and in coming up with ways to produce the story you want to make.

  • Brainstorm some ideas in writing. We encourage you to write honestly and simply about what happened, including details that make your story unique and reflective of your experience. Use short uncomplicated sentences.  It should sound like you are writing in a diary and NOT like you are preparing for a speech.

  • Find pictures and video you might want to use in your story, and take additional pictures and videos. You want the images to set the scene for your story.

Instructions for Photos and Videos

Downloading images - do not rely on downloaded images or video!  Since the stories are public we need to make sure there are no copyright issues.  The default copyright on all internet images is restricted use. Only images and video  that we know have a creative commons copyright, or are specifically designated as free for any use, can be used. If we don’t know we can’t use them.  Also, images must have a resolution of at least 1280 x 720 pixels. It’s easy to mistakenly download low res images.

What should you take pictures and video of?  Places that you go to a lot, or that you used to go to a lot, or things that might appear in your story that you never want to see again.  See the list at the end of the page for inspiration. You don't have to take pictures of everything on the list.

And, finally, take any new video or pictures with your phone using landscape orientation!


Story Privacy

These stories will be used publicly. You will have the option to remain anonymous, and we can help you create a video that you really like that is also anonymous. We can talk more about this, and respond to questions at the workshop.

We are looking forward to seeing you at the workshop, and to helping you create stories that you are proud of at the workshop!  Please let Andrea Spagat know if you have questions. Her phone for text or messages is (415) 612-7474.

Ideas for Getting Photos and Videos

City life  - sidewalks, crosswalks, parking lots, streets, doorways, parks, pigeons, planters, public transportation… etc.

  • nature - beaches, rivers, lakes, oceans, birds, plants, trees, rocks, mountains… etc.

  • schools,

  • stores where you buy things that are important to you,

  • local parks,

  • local bars (the kind you drink at and the kind that are on windows),

  • your local skyline,

  • your local sunset,

  • your transportation,

  • the door to your house or apartment,

  • through the window of your bedroom,

  • through your kitchen window,

  • through the windshield of your car,

  • the top of your dresser,

  • the courthouse and/or detention facility,

  • local cop cars,

  • your favorite clothes,

  • whatever represents pride and joy in your life,

  • a place that represents healing and recovery,

  • whatever represents chaos and confusion in your life,

  • the place in which you defended yourself,

  • the place where you decided to take control of your life,

  • the place where you decided it was important to be kind to yourself,

  • the place where you nurture love,

  • the place where you feel like you can be your favorite version of yourself.

Story Prompts

These prompts are meant to provide brainstorming ideas. If you have a story that’s different from the prompts, feel free to move forward with it. 

You could tell a story about:

A moment that you had to make a quick decision to stay safe.

A moment that you made a decision that helped somebody else stay safe.

A moment in which you realized you were in more danger than you imagined.

A moment in which you successfully sought safety.

A moment in which you decided to take action to increase safety for you and your community.