The good folks at Mozilla came to me with an idea to build an online learning lab for teaching and inspiring youth to create their own “web native stories.” Not only would there be videos and tutorials, but it would be an active program where any youth center in the world could tune in, regardless of their busy schedule, to share ideas, hacks, templates, constructive feedback, and solutions toward creating more effective stories on the web.
They wanted to scale up last summer’s experience with the Bay Area Video Coalition, and flesh out a network of Youth Media centers to participate. These youth centers have built a strong foundation teaching digital video production in the traditional sense, and are eager to upgrade their offerings to include webmaking and interactive design. This is the stuff that makes the web great. The problem is, with a tight staff and scrappy budget, it hasn’t been easy for many of them to experiment, so we’re jumping in with a healthy dose of rocket fuel and cool software, i.e. Mozilla Popcorn to get things cranking.
Six months and 1,675 emails later, we’ve officially launched Popcorn #StoryCamp into the wild, with 28 different youth media centers signed up. It's all free, and we're offering a full video series, teachers guide, story templates, and technical/moral support, PLUS we brought in some amazing speakers who agreed to flip on their webcams and share a bit of their own wisdom. Damian Kulash from OK Go (of treadmill dancing, Rube Goldberg outdoing, Musical obstacle course fame) brought us quality advice on how to manage good ideas, creativity, fear, failure, the secret of going viral, and using the web as your canvas. This week is Cory Doctorow, followed by Jonathan McIntosh, Michelle Levesque, Anita Sarkeesian, Greg Pak, and Tommy Pallotta. [Learning never sounded so gooood!].
Each week of #StoryCamp comes with an creative activity that allows you to make something cool in just one sitting. For the kickoff, we created a Mad Libs template called “Robots Invade Everytown.” The idea is similar to The Acrade Fire’s groundbreaking Wilderness Downtown video, where you take a pre-crafted story and swap out components, that in turn, change the outcome of the story. Like a Mad Lib!
However, Adele and Marissa over in Northampton, MA had their own ideas. So did Karina in the Bay Area, CA. You can see more youth examples here and here.
The tool we’re using to make these stories is called Popcorn Maker. It allows you to take any video and build a webpage around it to enhance and interact with things that happen in the actual video. Here’s a little walkthough of how it works.