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Attention Media Makers! We’re Now Offering Engagement Packages

You’ve got this great creative idea or media project and you’ve been spending late nights and early mornings turning it from dream to reality. You’re used to being a one (or two) person show, so you’re not afraid to go it alone, but there are some parts of releasing the work that just can’t be done (and done well) solo. You need help but your purse strings are a little tight.

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Interactive Documentary Summit

Our founder Felicia Pride spoke at the DC Interactive Documentary Summit last week. The summit was held March 13th-14th at George Washington University. It provided an opportunity for attendees to take a look at how traditional filmmaking is merging with tech in order to create unique new avenues for storytelling distribution and funding.

The summit provided a chance for filmmakers and producers to come together and learn how to build bridges between those who create the stories and those who use those stories for causes and purpose driven content that support missions. It focused on foundations, non-profits, and other groups.

Among panel discussions, presentations, and case studies, Felicia moderated the Emerging Business Models panel and led a discussion on how storytelling has evolved as the digital age and the rise of web based technology has influenced documentary filmmaking. The discussion took a look at the new ground that is being broken by pioneers in interactive storytelling. It explored the “in the trenches” point of view of those who have successfully navigated the waters of new funding strategies, sources, business models, marketing, engagement and distribution options. 

Check out a few of the tweets from the Summit that captured some of its awesome takeaways:



Felicia Pride Talks Transmedia Storytelling & Collaboration

A story fanatic to her core, Felicia Pride relishes any chance to sing its praises. She took a moment, recently, to chop it up with Jonathan Kahn of the Together London Podcast about her work as a creator, convener, and strategist.

In the interview, Felicia gave her take on transmedia storytelling as a fresh way to extend story across multiple platforms. She and Jonathan spent some time riffing on how this new concept works as a framework that can be used in unexpected ways, tipping their hats to visionary works of current wavemakers like Rob Hinchcliffe‘s with TH_NK and Punchdrunk‘s immersive theater.

Felicia offered a few soundbites about her own experiences with transmedia storytelling, as both an educator and founder of pride collaborative and  The Create Daily. The talk rounded out with a brief dialogue on why creatives should embrace collaboration.

Want to hear the full interview? Check it out here.


StoryCode Comes to DC!

We’re bringing in the fall with a bang as we get back to what we love most. And that’s finding new-fangled ways to tell great stories, of course.

That said, we have some exciting news to share. Our founder, Felicia Pride, has linked up with one of her long-time collaborators, Kelli Anderson, to bring an incredible opportunity to the DC metro area.

On Tuesday, September 24th we’ll host an inaugural event, in conjunction with Media Rise Festival, to kick-off the first StoryCode chapter in DC. StoryCode was founded in New York as a transmedia meetup. It has evolved to become an open-source, global community for emerging and established cross-platform and immersive storytellers. Story Code DC will nurture a community of emerging and established storytellers in the DMV area who are exploring ever-growing possibilities of narrative.

In addition to celebrating the launch of StoryCode DC, the first US-based chapter of StoryCode, emerging and established cross-platform storytellers will showcase projects that stand at the intersection of storytelling, technology, and social good.

Check out the skinny about the launch event below:

StoryCode DC

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Dunes

6:30 – 8:30 pm

Register for the launch event and join StoryCodeDC Meetup!

For more information, to inquire about speaking at upcoming events, or explore partnership/sponsorship possibilities, contact StoryCode DC at

StoriesLab Attendees Chime In Too!

Still reveling in the aftermath of StoriesLab success, we’re over the moon about how the storytelling event has resonated with speakers, attendees, and the surrounding creative community. Check out attendee Margaret Looney of IJNet’s piece recounting speaker Jessica Clark’s presentation on the impact of story across multiple platforms below:

To tell a multifaceted story, it makes sense to use multiple platforms. But the more different media and platforms you use, the harder it can be to measure what effect your story had on your intended audience.

Jessica Clark, media strategist with the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR), has learned to measure story impact through her work on interactive projects like Localore, which blends on-air, screen and street media stories.

Clark offered advice for measuring impact atStoriesLab, a recent event in Washington dedicated to innovative storytelling organized by Pride Collaborative and the Center for Social Media. IJNet attended and had these takeaways:

  • Find the “beating heart of your project.” What makes people excited about your topic and what inspires people to interact? Ask yourself, “So what?” or “Why does this story matter?”
  • Think about impact and set specific goals from the beginning. Think strategically and in concrete terms about your design. What platforms will you use to carry this out, and who is your audience? “How are you going to engage your audiences early and often?” Clark asked. You can reflect on these goals during the evaluation phase at the end of your project.
  • Impact isn’t always measured in numbers. The type of impact you seek will differ depending on the project. While you may need to draw a certain number of website visitors with certain stories, other projects may have audience engagement as their primary goal. Clark suggests keeping “what constitutes success and how you’re going to tell that story over time” at the forefront.
  • Prototype your project. Prototyping means creating a rough draft of what your project will look like, before you get started. It often only takes a pen and paper. “If you’re not prototyping, you’re not learning,” Clark said. Once you create the project and start evaluating its effectiveness, don’t hesitate to make changes to your original concept based on what works — and what doesn’t.

Check out Pride Collaborative’s Storify rundown of the event. You can also read Clark’s report “Designing for Impact,” available here.

*This story was originally published at:


James Carter Talks StoriesLab Takeaways

We mentioned before how excited we were about the success of our first StoriesLab conference. Well, you don’t have to just take our word for it. Speaker, James Carter, recently penned an article where he sounded off about his major takeaways from the interactive storytelling event . Check out what he had to say below:

“Go where your audience is and fashion a story you believe will engage them.”

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking at the first StoriesLab conference at Center for Social Media at American University in Washington D.C. StoriesLab is a project of StoriesLead and co-presented by Pride Collaborative. The focus of the day was the evolution of storytelling across multiple media platforms. And it was one of the most energetic conferences I’ve attended in a while.

Often, I find myself at conventions or conferences, and I rarely get an opportunity to meet other participants or engage in the work, itself. StoriesLab shattered that paradigm by offering not one, not two, but three interactive working sessions to help its attendees understand this unwieldy notion of multi-platform storytelling.

Dan Sonnett, owner of Sonnett Media Group, LLC, kicked off the day talking about the evolution of story. Starting at the very beginning with cave paintings and ending with his own work, including Half the Sky, the online extension of journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book of the same name Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, Dan chronicled how stories have changed over time. His work was a solid introduction on how to spread a narrative that started in a book into other forms like games and interactive websites.

I spoke next about transmedia and audience engagement. After sharing my project,NY_Hearts, to offer context for how one might create a multi-platform story, I joked that we would be tackling the hundreds of social media networks that exist, starting with the yellow (on the color wheel at left) and working our way all the way around.

Attendees looked at me like the man in the middle of the color wheel, and I reassured them, “No, that’s not what we were going to do.”

Instead, I gave a brief overview of Holistic Storytelling, creating narratives that include only the social platforms their organization uses, and maximizing their potential by using each for its unique voice instead of broadcasting the same message over all their platforms:

“Buy your tix here! Only $25!”
“Buy your tix here! Only $25!”
“Buy your tix here! Only $25!”

It’s repetitive. And boring.

To energize and engage the attendees, we went into a working session where I put four giant white sticky pages up to represent our story, and each platform: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and live events. We chose a company with which we were all familiar, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. After brainstorming story ideas, we picked an obvious but easy-to-work-with theme: Join us on our circus adventure! Twitter became a “Ringmaster” who shared exciting deals and served as an information hub. We imagined a Facebook app that allows people to transform photos of friends and family into circus performers. YouTube became a place for “how-to” videos for making towel animals (led by a clown, no less). The videos would encourage its audience to go Vine, Twitter’s new six second video app, and share their own inventive towel animals. Finally, there was a beach ball scavenger hunt in which beach balls would be placed around Miami for people to find clues to the next, fun location. It all ended with a live circus on the docks in front of a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship.

All that in 20 minutes.

It was fun, invigorating, and it gave attendees an opportunity to see how a mulit-platform story might work for their own projects. After the exercise, attendees asked great questions – the most prevalent was: How do we do this on our own for little or no money? My answer: Do what you can. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the massive mounds of media these days, and first and foremost, we must fish where there are fish. Go where your audience is and fashion a story you believe will engage them. And then break it up into parts that are manageable.

My work session served as a launch pad for the next presenters, Aina Abiodun and Mike Knowlton from StoryCode. In their workshop, Mike and Aina created a mini story hackathon. We had just brainstormed and talked about how to engage audience for a big company, like Royal Caribbean. This was an opportunity to create a native story for new platforms that were more unfamiliar, like Social Samba, which allows creators to write a story that plays out over social media over a period of time. Attendees were instructed to tell a love story, and the teams came up with some super ideas – frogs, dogs and senior citizens all have amazing love tales, and StoriesLab attendees pitched them all in two minute presentations. In the end, the dogs prevailed, and the winning team was the first to eat lunch.

After lunch, Jessica Clark, a media strategist at AIR, led a workshop about measuring the impact of cross media projects. Jessica used examples from Localore, an AIR project that birthed an inspiring array of “full spectrum” media formats and talked about measuring impact, from conception through evaluation, for cross-media projects. Things really got going when Jessica brought attendees with nascent projects – everything from concept ideas to projects with business plans – to the front of the room to elevator pitch their ideas and get feedback from the rest of the attendees. It was super helpful, and put the perfect period on a big day of work by redirecting the conversation back to the attendees’ own projects.

Felicia Pride, Pride Collaborative, and the Center for Social Media should be commended for offering a real workshop day that introduced multi-platform storytelling to a new swath of entrepreneurs and creators. The opportunity to play and teach (as well as learning some new tidbits, myself) warmed my heart and brought a smile to my face. I encouraged attendees to fearlessly make the work they want to make. The energy we generated at American University shouldn’t stay there. It should inspire us every day.

I’m tired of talking. Let’s learn while we make fun stories.

James Carter is a dramatist, experience designer and producer. He was a founding member of terraNOVA Collective and its associate artistic director for eight years. He also served as season producer for The Ensemble Studio Theatre. Recent transmedia plays include FEEDER: A Love Story (terraNOVA/HERE, NYC) and NY_Hearts: LES (One Muse Presents & The Brick Game Play Festival) a site-specific audio story that guides participants on a journey through New York neighborhoods. Follow him on Twitter @jdcarter.

*This story was originally published at:



Elements of Great Storytelling

“Great stories share a few key characteristics”

While we know that storytelling isn’t new, using it strategically isn’t necessarily something we consider in our engagement efforts.

Even if we’re not consciously telling a story—one that’s well-crafted and propels our mission forward—we’re still telling a story. And more often than not, because of the busy day-to-day that we encounter in today’s landscape, that story isn’t strategic, but rather, disjointed, confusing, and inconsistent.

But when we do consciously tell a well-crafted story, the benefits are immense: increased engagement with stakeholders, funders, supporters, and community members; increased publicity and visibility; increased exposure and connection with causes, and more.

And whether we’re a filmmaker or communications professional at a large nonprofit, great stories share a few key characteristics:

There is a moral or underlying message.
What message are you trying to convey? Once that’s decided, this message helps to provide a focus for your story.

There are characters and these characters are compelling.
The best stories are powered by characters that we care about. That’s not to say that we like these characters, but we do become invested in what happens to them. Think about the characters in your overall story – the various stakeholders and beyond – that are involved in your work. How can you bring them into your story?

Something happens.
We often like to explain something versus show action. My high school writing teacher, always reminded me, “show, not tell.” You show action through a plot that moves forwards and prompts audiences to continuously wonder, what happens next?

This something involves conflict
What is the problem? Something that your characters have to solve, overcome, change? It’s conflict that drives action.

It evokes emotion.
You can decide the types of emotions you hope to elicit – be it anger, compassion, or empathy. As a result, audiences often tap into their own personal experiences and feel more connected to your story.

Bottom line: great stories keep our attention. The message, compelling characters, forward-moving action, and conflict, work together to craft a story that is memorable and helps to connect audiences, communities, and stakeholders to our mission.

-felicia pride, chief content officer, pride collaborative

(*This post originally appeared at:

diy days NYC: a recap

We’re still reeling from the incredible experience of diy days NYC.

This past Saturday, PC hit the road and trekked up to the Empire State to attend the day-long interactive event at The New School and, we have to say, from start to finish we were completely enthralled. Not only did we get a chance to experience the event first-hand, but we also were thrilled to document in a real-time Storify as editorial producers.

The event’s “learn. do. share.” motto truly reverberated throughout the entire day. After a quick registration, the kick-off was a dynamic series of keynote speakers who each spoke to attendees collectively about their awesome projects. Every presentation was uniquely punctuated by a brief open mic intermission where participants got the chance to address to the listening audience of creators what we were working on and what we needed.

Following an hour break for lunch at midday, the afternoon sessions gave attendees the opportunity to get our hands dirty. We were able to meander throughout the building to various workshops where we got to delve into a variety of undertakings that challenged our creativity and encouraged us to think outside the box. Activities were both clever and engaging, from a creative financing exercise centered around the concept of a “gift economy” with the Knowledge Network workshop led by Arin Crumley to a collaborative challenge to create a transmedia storytelling world in just 60 minutes with Ele Jansen’s StorySprint.

We have to say that hands-down one of our favorite workshop experiences that day had to be the remarkable rendering that was My Sky is Falling (MSiF). A project of Reboot Stories, the MSiF experience was a simulation that harnessed technology and story to create empathy for the challenges faced by foster care children. Guided by immersive performances and sensor technologies, participants took part in a dystopian sci-fi tale, but the ending revealed how MSiF was actually rooted in true life experiences of foster care.

The conference wrap-up gave attendees a real-time case study of that day’s MSiF experience. The Harmony Institute’s data researchers took a look at the balance between emotion, empathy, and data from MSiF participants from the day.

Project collaborators including filmmaker Lydia Joyner, upon which whose foster care experiences that day’s simulation was based, the foster care-geared NGO, Orange Duffel Bag and, diy days moderator Lance Weiler, among others, concluded the day posing a takeaway challenge to participants. They issued a call to action beseeching us to take part in a proposed solution that aids young adults in transitioning as they age out of the foster care system.

This final appeal was a truly ruminative way to end the jam-packed day of creative exploration. It surely left attendees in a reflective mode hopefully considering ways in which we could steer some of our own creative ventures toward causes that provide a positive societal impact. We know we’re bursting at the seams with all the creative inspiration that we took away from diy days and can’t wait to put all our thoughts into action!

-Jessica Fenney, content manager, pride collaborative

How (and why!) to Design Strategic Storytelling Campaigns

by: Felicia Pride

I started out in book publishing, pre-Kindle. My life’s dream: change the world one book at a time as an independent book publisher.

That aspiration shifted as things started to change in my beloved industry, including the nature of what a book could be. I realized that my ultimate attraction was story, not merely format. I began teaching around the same time and in recognizing the three dominant learning styles — visual, auditory, and kinesthetic — it became clear why some people wanted to consume stories on a big screen, some on a small screen. Some people wanted to hear their stories and others wanted to directly participate. I became open to the possibilities of story and how it can be used to reach people.

My agency Pride Collaborative focuses exactly on that — using strategic storytelling to help organizationsdeepen their relationships with communities and audiences. By using strategic storytelling as our foundation, we’re able to create campaigns and media projects that focus on genuine relationship building, achieve specific goals and that utilize a range of activities including narrative development, content creation, digital media making, and live experiences.

The image to the right is from the Me @ 30 campaign. In conjunction with NCNW, we co-created Me @ 30, to effectively engage Black college students around HIV/AIDS. Through a content-based, youth-centered hybrid campaign, we encourage college students to think about where they want to be at 30, and how their choices will influence their journey there. For this campaign, as for all of our campaigns, we combined digital media and traditional engagement strategies; we used video, social media, web, event programming, and a street team to engage our target audience.

Storytelling is getting a lot of attention these days and rightfully so. We are all storytellers. It is one of the most effective ways that we communicate with one another. Consider the past week alone: how many stories have you told friends, family, or coworkers?

In my young storytelling days, we didn’t have terms and tools like transmedia or Zeega. Technology has changed the way in which our stories are collected, shared, and measured.

But with great power, comes great responsibility.

The most innovative and effective storytelling adheres to traditional techniques; the core of what makes a good story is not sacrificed for the sake of technology or novelty.

On May 4 in Washington, DC, we’re hosting StoriesLab, a half-day exploration into the possibilities of story that’s co-presented with the Center for Social Media at American University. Our aim is to nurture community, and provide ideas, inspiration, resources and training, because when we consider the potential of storytelling to engage publics, it’s important to be strategic. (NOTE: NAMAC Members receive a 10% registration discount to StoriesLab with discount code NAMAC1)

So, before developing that digital story or transmedia campaign, ask the following:

What is your goal? 
Too often, storytelling and media projects are developed without a clear goal in mind beyond, “we have something to share.” Go deeper. Consider, what change do you want to make? This is also the why question. Why are we doing this? Don’t be afraid to change course if the answer isn’t sufficient.

What is the story?
What are the elements – message, plot, conflict, characters – of this story?

Who is your audience and what do you want them to do?
Specifically define your audience and consider what you want them to do after they engage with your story. Also define the role you want them to play in your story. Think: call to actions and participation.

How will you tell the story? Which tools/platforms will you use?
There are so many ways to tell a story and platforms to use, including many emerging storytelling tools that are both creative and low cost. These considerations also impact the length of your story.

How will you share this story?
Often this question is considered too late in the process or is simply answered by, “we’ll upload it on YouTube.” Or, “We’ll tweet about it.” Not good enough. Instead, think through a distribution plan.

How will you measure impact?
Measuring impact is something that should be thought about at conception. And this is a concept that Jessica ClarkAIR media strategist and StoriesLab speaker focuses on in her work. Often, we think about impact too late or we use metrics and data that don’t align with our goals.

How will you continue the story?
If this is a discreet story project, how does it fit within your organization’s overall narrative? Connect the dots and look at the dots as ways to build, nurture and deepen relationships with stakeholders so that they are motivated to take the actions that will help your organization advance its goals.

From StoriesLab: Speaker James Carter talks Transmedia Storytelling for Engagement

From StoriesLab is a series that highlights the wonderful work of the speakers featured at StoriesLab. Registration is open for this half-day interactive exploration into the possibilities of story.

Ever had a slight panic attack trying to figure out the best way to tell your organization’s story across multiple media platforms?

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From StoriesLab: Speaker Jessica Clark Discusses Measuring Impact of Cross Media Projects

From StoriesLab is a series that highlights the wonderful work of the speakers featured at StoriesLabRegistration is open for this half-day interactive exploration into the possibilities of story.

You know that phrase, “all politics is local”? Well, while the sentiment can carry multiple interpretations, the overarching theme is that the most impact happens on the ground level.

AIR recently announced the results of a highly anticipated new initiative called Localore which echoes this very concept, applying it to public media innovation, and aligning with an overarching goal to reinvigorate local news. Jessica Clark, media strategist at AIR, and StoriesLab speaker helped to make the initiative a reality.

The recently launched showcases the inventive projects that AIR producers have led at 10 stations across the country.

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diy days NYC, Here We Come!

In a few weeks we’re hitting the road and heading to The Big Apple for diy days NYC.

Presented by Reboot Stories and the New School, diy days is best described as “a roving gathering for those who create.” In a series of talks and workshops, creative minds from all over will collide.

The goal? To spark dialogue, experimentation, and  hopefully collaboration, surrounding the latest ideas about funding, creating, distribution, and sustainability of creative efforts.

The best part? You get to access this gold mine of creativity for free. The event is  organized completely by volunteers and is cost-free to participants. Think of it as a kind of open-source platform for creative innovation.

We are particularly excited this year because we’ll be  helping to tell the story of the event through social media. Storytelling, participation, and media? In heaven.

Last year, our own Felicia P presented on extending a project’s reach through education and was a member of an international team that created an ebook to chronicle the narrative of diy days NYC. The book, which you can download here for free, is part of LEARN DO SHARE, a documentation and learning resource about narrative experiments and social innovation efforts ventured at diy days.

One last thing. Maybe you have some creative prowess of your own that you just can’t keep to yourself. If you’re eager to share your expertise with others, then you should know that the event’’s Creative Sparks Presentation has slots to be filled. Selected speakers will be given 10 minutes and 10 slides to present something inspiring and innovative with the chance to win micro grants, mentorship, and 30 days of free office space.

In a nutshell, diy days is a lab, playground, and learning center for the creative.

Hope to see you there.