At the beginning

I thought this post about beginning a project was very applicable to doing a story project. I like to see how others tackle projects and find ways to get things done amidst their many life demands.

Have a Workflow Plan

One of the important things in planning a story project is the workflow. This in an area that I still need lots of work and disciple. Even though I know that I should get the text done for a book project before I start all the other stuff, I keep finding myself moving forward with the design and layout when the text isn’t done. I’ve made it all work out in the end but I’m sure it would be faster and probably more effective too if I had followed a better workflow instead of jumping ahead.

So my tip for the day is figure out what needs to be done for your story project and the order it needs to be done in. Somethings can happen in parallel because they aren’t dependent upon each other. But other things need to wait until the right time in the project. My goal is to do a better job of planning my workflow and then actually stick to the plan. I’ll report back here to let you know how I do.DOABLE Sidebar A

Here is a post from a year or so ago about Workflow for publishing with Adobe Creative Suite. There is some good information here.

Planning an Oral History Project

I’m finally admitting to myself that my allergies have spawned a cold, but I don’t want to miss another post of doing story projects. So here is a link to some detailed information on doing an oral history project on the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center.

Here is a brief outline of the planning part:

  1. Determine the goals of the project.
  2. Learn about the work that is required for a typical oral history project.
  3. Determine the scope of the project.
  4. Conduct preliminary research.
  5. Determine who will work on the project.
  6. Determine what will happen to the recordings and other documentary materials after the project comes to an end.
  7. Create a release form.
  8. Determine what equipment, supplies and other resources are needed.
  9. Develop a timetable for the project.
  10. Develop a budget.
  11. Identify sources of funds.
  12. Publicity.

How to Make a Video

I have almost no experience with video. Other than a little video I want to put together of short clips I took once a week of Zodiac while he was growing up. On Zodiac’s project I’ve only shot the video and I have some music picked out that I want to use. That is as far as I’ve gotten. I want to have it done by his graduation. So having no personal experience I went to Google and found this tutorial on

How to Make a Video

This page outlines the process of making a video. It is intended for people who are completely new to video making, and who may be wondering where to start or how to tackle a particular video project.

There are two things to understand about making videos:

  1. In theory, making a video is as simple as following the three-step process below. If you complete these steps properly you’ll have a good video.
  2. In reality there are many factors that will influence how well the process works. To make it work properly and consistently, you need to spend a lot of time acquiring a lot of skills (links to tutorials are given below).

The 3-Part Video-Making Process:

Pre-Production – planning the video and gathering any resources you might need.

Planning is the most important step! Unfortunately the ability to plan videos is a skill that takes time to develop, and you really need to gain experience in the next two steps before you will become good at this one. Still, you can get started by planning a few basics such as:

  • The approximate length of the final video, how many shots you will need to achieve this, how much talking you can fit in, etc.
  • What music or other sounds will be added to the video.
  • A script or storyboard.
  • What medium and format the final video will be shown in. Be aware of any special requirements of the medium, and the best way to convert (encode) into the correct format.

ProductionCamera work and sound recording

Camera work involves a range of skills from recognizing the potential for a good shot to knowing how to use the technical-looking controls on your camera. The better your skills are in all areas, the better your videos will be.

  • Vision and sound are equally important in most video, so learn how to capture good sound as well as good pictures.
  • Unless you have some other artistic purpose, camera work should be steady, in focus, well-exposed and well-framed.
  • You can learn the basics in our beginner’s camera tutorial.

Post-Production – Editing and/or encoding the finished video.

Beginner-level editing usually includes:

  • Removing unwanted footage
  • Arranging desired footage in the correct order
  • Adding music, titles, transitions and possibly other effects
  • Converting (encoding) into the correct format(s)

For more information see our video editing tutorials.

So translating this to my DOABLE approach, prDOABLE Sidebar De-production would fit into the decide, organize and analyze steps, while production and post production would be part of the build step. I can see that I have lots to learn and that I didn’t do all the pre-production stuff with my Zodiac project. I’m sure it will be a learning experience. I have no idea how it will turn out but I hoDOABLE Sidebar Ope that it is good despite my being a beginner.

From all of my vast inexperience this seems like some good sound advice. Do you have experience with making videos? I’d love to hear your views.

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step three: analyze with the DOABLE Approach to Telling Your Family’s Tales

Step Three: Analyze

Now that you have gathered all of your resources it is time to take a close look at what you have. Is it enough to complete your project or do you need to gather more information from other sources? Be honest with yourself and your time. If you don’t have what you need and can’t see having the time to get what you need than take a second look at your project and adjust it to work with what you have. I think it is better to complete a story project than to get stuck on the “perfect” project and never get it finished.


Think of planning as the blueprint for your project. You wouldn’t dream of building a house without a blueprint. It would be asking for disaster if you did. Think back on your vision for the project and how you want the finished product to look. I like to start at the end and figure out what I need to get there. There are lots of ways to do project planning so do what works for you. The main thing is to break it down into smaller tasks so you don’t feel overwhelmed and you can measure your progress with the completion of each task. The more detailed you are at this stage the less unexpected hurdles you will find later on. There is no substitute for good planning.

Time Line:

Next step is to give yourself some deadlines. If you have a concrete time when you need the project to get done, I would start with that deadline and work your way back to the present. If all your deadlines are self-imposed you can be more flexible. Look at each task a give an estimate of how long it will take. Add that all up and then give yourself a good buffer, maybe even doubling it to give yourself a deadline. Then I’d look at the first task on your list and give yourself as realistic a due date for that task as you can. Take into account all the other obligations you have. You don’t want your deadlines to make you discouraged. But you also don’t want to procrastinate getting your story project off for over and over so it never gets done.