Research and production plan for multimedia stories
Imagine you are just finishing a story or blog post and suddenly realize that some crucial piece of information is missing.
Or maybe you only notice now that you forgot to take a picture of one of the people you interviewed.
Something is missing that you should have arranged to get early in the research process that you can no longer get at this late hour.
We’ve probably all experienced such nightmares. Yet they are so easy to avoid with a little bit of careful planning.
Think and plan before starting on your story
A tool that will help you get a grip on any story you’re working on is the research and production plan we’ve developed for you.
Think of each point on this checklist carefully as you research your story.
Only then set up your interviews or video shoots.
The elevator pitch
The thing that may be most difficult is coming up with an ultra-short summary of your story, the “elevator pitch“.
It is called elevator pitch because you should imagine meeting your boss in the elevator and only having a few seconds to “sell” your story before the boss gets off again.
You have to make clear what’s special about your story in one sentence to convince your boss quickly.
Focus, be precise and know where you are going
Maybe it helps to think of the elevator pitch as a Tweet on Twitter, where you only have 140 characters to tell it all. Can you explain why your story is exciting for the audience in 140 characters or less?
Summing up your story in just one sentence, in 140 characters or in the form of an “elevator pitch” will help you focus. It will give you a precise idea of what should be at the center of your story. And once you know what’s most important, you can take it from there.
Force yourself to write down all the answers to the questions on our checklist. You’ll see that making a production plan comes easy now. And if you tick things off as you go along, you definitely will not forget to take a picture of one of your protagonists or record that crucial bit of natural sound while you’re out in the field.
Timelines are an attractive way to present data that relates to dates. They’re great for visualizing a sequence of events over time. Timelines can make history fun – or they can show part of your history in an interesting and structured way.
Instead of just presenting a boring list of dates, we can lay events out on a timeline, and then add pictures, links and video (depending on the timeline site) that correspond with whatever happened on that date.
One website that enables you to easily create your own timeline at no cost is Timetoast.
While it can’t display video (at this writing, at least) it can do just about everything else. With the help of Vodpod, the timelines can even be embedded into WordPress.com blogs.
To create a timeline on Timetoast:
- Set up an account at timetoast.com or sign in if you’ve already got one.
- Under the headline “What would you like to do?” click on “Create a new timeline.”
- Enter your timeline’s title and upload a picture to illustrate it by clicking on “Choose an image” on the left.
- Give it a category if you want and then click “Go!”
- To add events on your timeline, click “Add Event”. A window will open where you can enter the title, date, a description and a link if you want. You can also upload a picture from this window.
- Click on “Create Event” and you’re done. Repeat as you wish.
- Another button allows you to create a “timespan” if you want to indicate an action/activity that happened for a specific period of time.
When you have finished, or just want to see what the final product will look like, click on “View this timeline” on the left side below the timeline.
When you are satisfied, publish the timeline by clicking on the “Draft (change this status)” link. Another screen will open and you can publish your timeline from there. You can also add tags if you like.
Once published, you can share the timeline on Twitter or Facebook, or post it in your blog.
How to embed a Timetoast timeline in WordPress
If you’ve got a WordPress.com blog, embedding a Timetoast timeline takes a little more effort. Timetoast uses flash and unfortunately WordPress.com doesn’t support flash. You can’t simply copy and paste the embed code in a WordPress.com blog. But don’t despair. There’s a way around that.
To publish on WordPress.com
- Sign onto Vodpod
- Back on Timetoast, click on “Embed / Share” under the timeline, and copy the embed code. You can also change the timeline’s dimensions by scrolling down and changing the width and height values, then generating new code, which will appear under the button.
- Back in Vodpod, click on “Add Video.”
- After your timeline appears, click on “Yes, This Is The Video.”
- From the Vodpod main page, click on “Your Videos” and to the right of the timeline, click on “Share.” The drop-down menu should offer a “blog” option. Click that, and if you have connected your WordPress.com blog to the Vodpod account, a new window that opens should have your blog information.
- You can enter a title for your post and some text and then publish directly to your blog, or make it a draft for later publishing.
- Or, you can click on “Wordpress.com Shortcode” and get that code and then paste it into your blog post editor yourself.
- Voilà, the timeline should be on your blog in no time.
By Kyle James and Thorsten Karg