Making Your Story

January 16, 2014
10:00 am - 11:00 am PST
By Educator Innovator

How do you decide the best way to give shape to your story?

Key Questions and Comments:

  • (04:39) Walk us through a specific story that you created. How did you create it? What media did you use, and why?
  • (08:42) Fantasy and fiction has a lot of interesting power in terms of our ability to take current social justice issues and place them in a world that people will find more accessible.
  • (14:14) Instead of writing my journalism or using video, I draw it in comics form. I find that that visual narrative style is especially well-suited for this new, shareable internet age.
  • (17:27) People always tell me how boring their college or high school economics class was…to me, it’s really exciting and I wanted to share that excitement with other people…It’s really important to be educated, but it’s not always fun. Through using catchy music videos, I wanted to share that with people.
  • (20:47) I think media can be this really engaging catalyst for young people to not necessarily talk down to popular culture or rap or hip hop, but to engage with it and put it on its head, at times.
  • (24:09) It’s pretty hard to explain to a freshman: “You’re being segregated.” It was something so complicated, but when they saw it on a [Geographic Information Systems] map and they saw that it was real, they’re like, “Wow! Now I get it.” We basically took stories to maps and that was really empowering.
  • (24:56) What skills did you have to either learn or develop throughout the process of making your stories?
  • (28:10) I’ve also found that the skill of being a filmmaker and refining your storytelling is a continual process.
  • (31:20) Do you feel like the online tools you use level the playing field, in terms of geographic barriers to quality education?
  • (35:55) If video isn’t usually how you do your activism or your organizing, you have to have people in the room who are visual artists to make sure that it’s integrated as early as possible–it makes it more powerful.
  • (38:28) The Hunger Games and Harry Potter are these huge stories and a lot of people follow them. When [the Harry Potter Alliance] thought about using these stories, how did you use that fan base to invoke social change?
  • (40:14) How do specific digital platforms inform the stories you’re telling and the way you’re making those stories?
  • (42:39) Something that we always say is “imMEDIAte Justice means ‘create by any means necessary’.” If you have a camera, use that to tell your story. If you don’t have that, you’ve got a pen and pad: you can write your story. If you don’t have that, you can literally speak your story.
  • (46:27) Is the goal in your project to constantly generate stories, or to create stories that have an ‘evergreen’ value?
  • (50:03) When you’re creating something, you can always guess that it will have a little peak and then it will drop off…but you never really know what people will dig back up of yours. So you should always make sure to make really awesome stuff!
  • (52:10) We do something called “cultural acupuncture” where you find the pressure points in culture and society at a certain time, and you take advantage of those…We use those to open up to a more general idea.
  • (53:56) What advice do you have for people who have a story and want to get it out there but they don’t necessarily know which channels to go through?

From this Series:

View the Conversation
During the broadcast, the conversation also took place on Twitter using the hashtags #connectedlearning and #civicpaths.

Guests for this webinar included:

  • Derek Williams is a 21-year-old Project Associate at the Peabody Award-winning production company, Youth Radio, in Oakland California. At Youth Radio, he co-launched a national Youth Advisory Board focused on innovations to address the country’s youth unemployment crisis. Derek has taught journalism at Youth Radio and produced stories for NPR, KQED, and The Huffington Post.
  • Gabriel Peters-Lazaro is the Media Design Lead and Instructor at the Media Arts + Practice Division of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. There, he researches, designs and produces digital media for innovative learning with special interests in early childhood education and the role of video in networked cultures.
  • Lauren Bird is the Spokesperson and Digital Content Strategist for The Harry Potter Alliance. She has spoken on the subjects of participatory media and fan communities on numerous panels including at TEDx Women, MIT’s Futures of Entertainment, and San Diego Comic-Con.
  • Dorian Electra is a musical artist and video director. Her work includes educational music videos about economics and “PARTY MILK” — a song, music video, and online media campaign about milk-drinking, cookie-eating dance parties. She studies history and philosophy of science at Shimer College in Chicago and is writing her thesis about the science of human consciousness.
  • Andy Warner is a San Francisco-based cartoonist and journalist whose comics have been published by Slate, American Public Media, Symbolia, KQED,, Generation Progress and The Cartoon Picayune.
  • Charlene A. Carruthers is the National Coordinator for the Black Youth Project‘s “BYP 100”. She is a Chicago-based political organizer and writer with over 10 years of experience in racial justice, feminist and youth leadership development movement work.
  • Named one of the “25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” by the Utne Reader, Tani Ikeda is an award-winning director who creates narratives, documentaries, music videos, and commercial films. She co-founded imMEDIAte Justice Productions, which now spans the globe with Summer Camps taught in Beijing, China and Kampala, Uganda.
  • Roxana Ayala is currently a senior at the Math Science & Technology Magnet Academy at Roosevelt High school. She is the the Vice President of Magnet and active member Upward Bound, Moviemento Estudantil Chicano/a de Aztlan, and I.AM. USC Mentorship.
  • Uriel Gonzalez is a senior at the Math Science & Technology Magnet Academy at Roosevelt High school. He is the President of the Magnet Academy and currently involved as President of the RHS Bible Club, an Upward Bound member, and a proud GIS advocate.

Resources for this webinar:

Download iCal File

Add Event to Calendar